When our one year old woke up, cooing and ready to go at 4:30 a few mornings ago, I thought I was going to lose it. Our boys wake up early, but 4:30 was a new record and despair and exhaustion bore down on me as I scooped Ben up and tried to persuade him to go back to sleep. I tried to look on the bright side. I knew he would have a great nap later on, but I still wrestled with my old foe, self-pity.
When I was single, I often struggled with self-pity as I looked around at my married friends and envied their state. I assumed their lives were full of love and laughter, more rich than mine, less lonely, more stable and secure. I feared spinsterhood and failed to appreciate just how rich my life really was. I often doubted God’s love and wondered why He allowed me to suffer so.
And that morning, happily married with two gorgeous boys, I had the same kinds of dark thoughts and feelings. Once again, my soul was caste down, my flesh whining, “Why can’t you just let me SLEEP??!” I felt desperate, afraid I wouldn’t make it through the day and mad.
Reflecting on all this later on, I realized that there are times in life, whether we are married or single, with or without children, that our souls are stretched, our flesh winces in pain and we must put our hope in God.
That morning, I chose to trust God: trust that His grace would be made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor 12:8), that he would help me to be a good mom to my sons, and even experience joy in the midst of it all. And He came through, just as He did when I yielded to Him in my single days; we had a great day.
Nothing could have prepared me for the realities of motherhood: both the rich and the hard. I never imagined the desperate feelings of overwhelming love you could feel for a little person, the pride and joy of seeing them grow and reach new milestone. How profound is the fierce, protective, consuming love of a mother! Nor was I prepared for the painfully incessant sacrifice and self-denial the office of Mother brings.
And these days, I feel just as desperate for God and his grace as I did when I was single. I need His companionship, reassurance, strength, vision and sense of purpose in the same degree. Everything has changed in my physical circumstances, but nothing has changed in my need for God. It is still in Him that I live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28). I still look in the mirror and see frailty, and lean on His everlasting arms (Deut 33:27).
We are all in this together, my sisters. Running this race, keeping our eyes on the prize, holding onto Jesus and determined to finish well.