I know this is a tad bit off my normal blog subject matter, but I’ve felt the little nudge to share what’s been on my heart when I see my fellow mamas online. It’s something that feels like it has been pressed and branded into me through the trials of this year and I wanted to share just in case there's another mama out there that has come to the end of herself and needs to know you aren't alone, there's hope, and if you're all poured out, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong... in fact, sweet mama, it may just mean you’re doing it right.
Just a little disclaimer to start: I don't for a second claim to be a theologian... I merely want to give you some truth and some hope in the midst of the trenches we are in... and girl, we are IN IT! Knee deep in the muck and mud, wading through this motherhood thing with a sideline full of people who are seemingly doing it better. I see you, I'm with you, and keep pressing on mama - because, with HIM, you can do hard things.
This past year was a tough one. We went through what seemed like storm after storm, battle after battle and through it, God brought me to the end of myself and taught me so much about who He is and His love, mercy and goodness. I think sometimes we see our exhaustion as failing, but I've now learned to see it as something entirely different. I'll try my best to break it down and hopefully encourage you where you're at today.
1. We WILL Grow Weary
Ya'll, this is pretty much as good as a promise. One of the verses God used to teach me this year was Isaiah 40:28-31.
"Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even the youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. BUT those who trust in The Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
I'm a big fan of looking at the passages before and after verses, because if not, I can be tempted to take something completely out of context. The passage before this was describing how great and mighty and BIG our God truly is. In contrast, these verses point out how weak we are in comparison. When we press in with our kids and our husbands and love and serve them well, we are going to be tired and worn down... BUT, and this is a HUGE but ya'll, those who TRUST in The Lord, they gain a renewed strength to keep going, keep enduring, and keep running the race set before them. I first had to admit that I was at the end of myself and I cannot do what I have been called to without HELP. I need extra energy and renewal of strength... and not the kind that comes from an extra shot of espresso laced with an afternoon crash. But that true and lasting strength that comes from a God who never grows weak or weary. Then I had to ask myself "do I TRUST him?” Do I trust that He says He is? And have faith that He'll do what He says He will do? When I fully grasped that, I found I can do far more than I thought I was capable of. He says his yoke is easy and his burden is light. When I let go of mine, I found peace in the midst of what seemed like absolute chaos. I could take care of my then-sick husband and work extra middle of the night shifts and press in and engage with my kids... with LOTS of prayer and continuous reliance on HIS perfect and everlasting strength.
When I grasped this, I was able to go all in, knowing He'd give me exactly what I need. This doesn't mean I never stop to rest or say yes to everything everyone asks (that's a whole other lesson). But I stopped conserving. I'd compare it to a workout. When I go in for what I know is going to be a doozy, I'm tempted to go at 80% in the beginning and kind of conserve some energy for later because I don't think I'll be able to make it all the way through otherwise, but when I do that, I don’t end up getting the most out of my workout; I did maximize my potential. In a way, I was doing this with life. Engage, but not all the way and save some for later. But I found this way of thinking wasn't TRUSTING that God would provide. There were times I was running and other times I'm pretty sure He was carrying me, but either way, it felt good to try to give my all and maximize the opportunities God gave me for this minute, this hour, this day. Please, if you get anything from this.... God is good and He does what He says He will. TRUST Him... He is our ever present help.
2. He KNOWS, He's been there.
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:14-16
One of the things that I feel like I've had to continually learn is that God truly does understand where we are at... He's been there! Jesus was fully God and fully man (not going to go into the whole trinity theology here, but if you want some good resources that explain it well, let me know). He lived a fully human life being tempted in every way, so He gets it! He had crowds show up expecting a sermon and a miracle on the spot. He had disciples who needed Him to teach them the same lessons over and over (sound familiar mama - I have a 2 and 4 year.... I can relate). Satan threw out every temptation he could come up with trying to break him. He endured. He endured in life and He endured in death on the cross. He gets poured out. He gets human weariness. He gets the need to withdraw into a quiet place and go to The Father for strength, so much so that He made a way for us to do the same through His death and resurrection. So now we can follow His example and freely go to God in prayer and ask for help. Momming is hard ya'll. Wife-ing is hard. Life is hard. Praise The Lord that we can go and ask Him for help and that we can TRUST him to give it freely.
3. Press on - The Harvest is Coming!
"Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary of doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" - Galatians 6:8-9
When I feel poured out and exhausted (typically every week juggling work, kids, starting a business and hubby’s coaching schedule), I have a choice to make. I can shut down and focus on what I feel like I need, which typically leads to a pity party or entitled thinking that doesn't tend to do great things for my marriage.. OR I can go straight to The Lord and get in His word, read His truths, and allow him to give me strength to endure, engage with my kids, serve my husband and be grateful for my blessings. See, I've found that exhaustion either gives Satan a foothold and pulls me into my naturally selfish way of thinking/acting or it allows God to come in, take the reigns and do what I cannot do myself. I wish I could sit here and say I always choose the latter.. or even the majority of the time - my kids and husband would certainly benefit from that choice.. but I'm a work in progress and old habits die hard. He has given us great opportunity and purpose, but in order to keep going, we've got to rely on His never-ending strength and endurance. When I rely on me, it's not long before I have "I can't even" on repeat in my head and I feel like I'm failing on every level. When I rely on him, I end up surprised with all He is able to accomplish in and through me. That doesn't mean I don't still fail... but the more I rely on him, the more harvest/fruit I see in my kids, in my husband, in my job, and in my own personal growth. His word says it will all be worth it ya'll... and I believe it.
So mama... I see you.. I am you. Being a mom, wife, friend, employee, etc etc is exhausting.. and then making it look good on fb and instagram... yeah let's not even go there. Keep pressing in, giving it all you've got, and loving those babies hard. Rely on Him for strength. We only get one shot at life and there’s no guarantees of how long we have - give it all you've got - do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!
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