In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, I’m writing a little something to all the mothers out there. Though I’ve only been a “practicing mom” for three months come Sunday, there are a few things I have learned already that nothing a book or fellow mother could have taught me. Some things just have to be learned through experience.
And during my short time (almost three months) of experience, I have learned mainly one thing: that this mothering thing is by no means an easy job. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but beyond the shadow of a doubt the most rewarding. (I mean, what other job can keep you up most hours of the night some nights and you wake up the next morning utterly exhausted, but then you see that sweet face flash a gummy smile just for you, and then all the sleeplessness is forgotten? That right there is priceless.)
Some days are harder than others, and sometimes those hard days turn into a hard week. Last week was one of those weeks for me…
This past Sunday I was feeling like a bonafied failure as a mom and wife and all-around person. The whole week before had been a mess; the baby wasn’t feeling well, I wasn’t feeling well, and the whole family wasn’t getting much sleep as a result. That makes for a cranky baby and a cranky momma and a tired (and probably very confused) daddy.
So when Sunday rolled around and I’d had maybe 4 hours of sleep (not in a row, of course; you don’t do that once you become a mom!) on top of little sleep the week prior, you could say I was pretty worn out.
We made it to Sunday school that morning–a little late, but we made it. I could hardly keep my eyes open, and the baby was already getting fussy, so I eventually went with her to the nursery to calm her down. At least three times during services we wound up in the nursery. So at one point I walked in there just on the brink of tears. I wished I could pause life for a few hours and cry myself to sleep, forgetting all my responsibilities.
But as I walked through the door feeling guilty for feeling that way, a little voice in my head whispered, “This is my joy.” I’m standing there holding a crying baby, about to cry myself, and no one can feed her or soothe her or rock her at this moment but me, there is so much responsibility is on me right now, and I think “this is my JOY”?
But for some reason, I repeated that phrase to myself and it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders immediately. My baby was still crying, but because I changed my attitude to the situation, I was able to see a purpose for the hard moments and do it with a better heart.
This job mothers have to do is by no means easy, nor is it ever supposed to be. But it is a job given to us by the Lord, and whatever our hands finds to do we are to do it heartily for Him. And whatever we do for Him, we are to do with great joy.
Does that mean even when the baby won’t sleep, won’t let you put her down, won’t get happy … just WON’T … that you’ve gotta be HAPPY about it?!
Having joy doesn’t mean you’re happy 24/7. No, there will be days the babies will cry, you will cry, and nothing productive seems to get done. But being joyful means having a sort of peaceful hope– a peaceful hope in God that no matter how tough things get, He’s there with you, holding your hand, and you can do this. And if you have that joyful mindset, you’ll remember that this job was given to you by God to do, and He never gives anyone anything they can’t handle. That right there means you can handle it, and He’s got you. And if this is your job, then aim high and do it as well as you are able, and thankfully He never expects perfectionist mothering.
A friend of mine gave me a little card recently that had a quote written on it. It was such an encouragement to me that I taped it above my kitchen sink and now read it every time I stand there doing dishes. It says, “Motherhood may be messy, but it is not mundane. You are raising kingdom warriors, and you do it beautifully.” I’ve quickly learned that there is nothing “mundane” about motherhood, and it definitely is very “messy.” But because we as mothers are “raising kingdom warriors,” little future help meets and soldiers for God, then it is our responsibility, but even more so our privilege, to take joy in this honorable job He has given to each of us.
So next time you’re in tears or nearly in tears from all the overwhelming-ness motherhood throws at you–and I’ll remember this too–just stop, take a breath, and whisper to yourself, “This is my joy.” And then thank God for His believing that you can do this, and hold that little babe a bit closer, because these days won’t last forever.
“‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, …in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Have a joyful Mother’s Day, mommas.