Sunday I sat next to my husband in church and tears rolled down my face pretty much the entire service. From the second the music cued up until after we were filing out of the doors to go round up our boys from their rooms my eyes were dripping and my cheeks were wet.
I was overcome with emotions which only made me feel more guilty.
You see I held my husband’s hand and knew from the night he had at the fire station that he was feeling the emotional aftermath of his night coupled with not getting any sleep. When he texts me at 1:20 in the morning I know it is because he has just left a call that affected him more than normal. Those call often involve children the same age as one of our own as this one had. A mother would be planning the funeral for her one year old, and my husband was hurting because he had not been able to help the baby. I knew he would need emotional support from me, but I felt overwhelmed with my own struggles and not very useful to him.
My issues were the mundane of life, the arguing between my boys, hearing myself nagging at them, the frustration of having to repeat myself over and over, and the guilt of knowing all of this was in large part my own fault.
I have read the books on how to stop these cycles. I have at times worked to implement their suggestions. But that was thing. As we got ready for church Sunday morning it felt like TOO MUCH WORK. I didn’t want to have to work.
Every now and then I have one of these days were the weight of raising four precious boys to be godly men seems like more than I can bear. I feel like a complete failure and my weakness comes screaming in like a freight train.
We were getting ready to worship The Maker of the universe, which just the night before I had text my husband how excited I was to do so, but Sunday morning my heart no longer felt ready. I was getting onto the boys and beginning to lose my cool. As we drove to church I looked back at the youngest and was wracked with guilt. I have to do better was all I kept telling myself.
After dropping the boys in their rooms, as we found our seats in the sanctuary, God met me. His grace overtook me. I fell in His arms, and as the music played I silently poured my soul out to Him.
“God there is just so much I have to do. I have to educate them, disciple their hearts, spend individual time with each one of them, teach them how to be responsible individuals, guard them from the world, and the list goes on and on. I am TOO TIRED to do all of these things to the standard I think they should be done. I am failing. It is too heavy for me to carry all of this, and I am sinking.”
Then more guilt overtook me as I felt my husband put his arm around me knowing he was hurting too yet he was in tune with my struggles and offering what comfort he could at that moment. He needed my support today, and I was falling short yet again. On top of that I knew the mother he had to tell that her precious baby was no longer alive would give anything to work through my struggles rather than the ones she was facing that morning.
The tears poured and poured and poured some more, but my Gracious God met me right were I was. He offered encouragement through the high school seniors that shared their messages that morning.
The first senior shared how Moses felt inadequate to lead the Israelites but God knew he was the one for the job and gave him what he needed along the way. Like Moses at times I feel inadequate for the job of mothering, but when I search my heart I know that God has given these precious boys to me because He knows I am the one to do it and He gives me what I need at each moment.
The second senior shared the story of Peter walking on the water but then looking at the storm around him and beginning to sink. I knew I was looking at all the challenges around me and not at my Lord and Savior. I needed to refocus.
The third senior shared how when Samuel went to the home of Jesse to anoint the future king, David, it was the smallest and most unlikely one who was chosen. He was chosen because of his heart and not what the world would deem correct qualifications. Though I don’t always do things with my boys the way the others would say to do them, I try to do them the way I feel God would have me do them. Sometimes I get trapped in the comparison game and it never does me any good.
The final senior shared how Jonah tried to do things his own way, but when he turned and did things God’s way, everything worked out. I know I sometimes want things my way and I have to let go of my selfishness and serve my family with the heart of Christ. I don’t always feel like playing dinosaurs, but sometimes that is exactly what God has called me to do.
God reminded me that He is always with me and He will give me the strength to be the mommy my babies need. He will help me carry it all. I came face to face with my own selfishness and let it go. I let go and let Him be my strength, and His grace wrapped me up like a warm blanket. He pressed upon my heart that each of us have our own journey to walk and we shouldn’t compare it to someone else’s journey. He gives us each what we need at the moment. He is a big enough God to take care of all of His children, and He wants to take care of me and the hurting mama who lost her baby.
As God held me close that morning and restored my sole I transitioned from being overcome with guilt to being overcome with the love of Christ.
The rest of the afternoon was much different than the morning had been. We had a great and relaxing afternoon.
When my oldest asked me to jump on the trampoline, I did. I put everything else aside and just spent time with my babies. I didn’t let the worry of am I doing it right in order to grow them into godly men steal my attention. I just loved on them and was completely present in the moment.
Instead of fighting with one another or talking back to us when we made requests of them, the boys were encouraging one another and had amazing attitudes. They even put together a musical production for my husband and me, and tucking them in was what you dream it will be like. It was perfection with sweet prayers and amazing cuddles!
This morning as I awoke to start another day and give it another go at this mothering thing I reflected back on Sunday morning. I thanked God for being with me and holding my hand and heart as I walk this journey, and I made it my priority to be present with the boys. I let go of perfectionism and just lived each moment. It was a great day!
I am not sure why I am sharing all of this except for maybe the fact that I understand mothering can be difficult at times, and I hope it offers encouragement to someone who reads it. I think it is also a little therapeutic for me as I process it all.
I am grateful for God’s love for me and I know He loves you too, mama. I know sometimes you feel like you are doing it wrong and maybe some of it you are, but even so God has and is what you need. He will never leave you or forsake you. He does not expect perfection, and His grace is sufficient to right any of your wrongs. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing better than you think!