Let me describe for you a day that was a turning point for me... it was back 6 1/2 years ago, when I had 3 boys, ages 4, almost 2 and a few months. When I had 2 kids I really felt like I had this figured out, or it was at least manageable. I didn't feel overwhelmed, transition from 1-2 had been smooth... then came surprise number 3! I wouldn't trade him for the world now, but getting used to caring for 3 was a bumpy ride. The day had been unraveling before it even had a chance to begin. I was woken up to a fight between brothers, and then a fussy little one. The house was turned upside down and shaken hard. Dishes were piled. Laundry was a mountain. my nerves were fried. I felt like I was failing, no, that's not quite how I felt, I actually felt like I WAS a failure. There's a big difference between the two, we can fail at a task, or a job... but it is still just a task or a job. When we start to take on the persona of Failure... Like we're identifying with that as a term to describe ourselves, that's a whole world of difference. My strength was gone. I was overwhelmed, spent, stressed to the max. I wasn't functioning well at all. I would have complete anxiety take over at the mere thought of going anywhere with three kiddos in tote, so typically I just stayed home. Isolation was at least comforting. No one had to KNOW how much I was in desperation mode. I could just be in these 4 walls... and survive. When I would muster up enough courage or energy to venture out, it wouldn't match my expectations, and it was completely exhausting anyways, so it only pushed me further into the feeling of being completely trapped. I felt like a prisoner in my own home and it was so claustrophobic. I really was trying to manage it all. I really was putting in my best effort, but it wasn't cutting it! I wasn't able to keep up with chores. I wasn't able to multitask on the small blips of sleep I was fitting in. I wasn't juggling the daily stuff well at all. As this day wore on, I remember just feeling so exhausted: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I was running literally on empty. I couldn't get the baby to take a nap, my 4 year old was tantruming it up and fighting me on every turn. My almost 2 year old was getting into trouble any time by back was turned. I wanted to escape. I wanted to hide from it all. I wanted to run away. I put the baby in his crib hoping he would give into the sleep he was so fiercely fighting and I quietly snuck behind our couch and hid. I hid from the mess. I hid from my kids. I hid from the pressures of the day and my life that honestly felt like it had fallen apart all around me. I sobbed. like soul wrenching cries. Then my sobs of overwhelmeness, exhaustion, frustration and failure turned into a plea for help. As I sobbed my heart out, my heart made a shift. Not one of defeat, although at the time that's how I would have described it. But one of surrender. I had been trying and trying and trying to get through each day (and night) on my own strength... and a quick inventory would reveal that it wasn't enough. My strength had depleted about 2 months prior when the sleep deprivation really took root. In that cry of defeat and surrender a few things happened that will be a bit of a challenge to put into words, but I'm gonna give it a shot because maybe, someone needs to hear this chapter of my life, this chapter of my testimony to get a dose of some encouragement, a friend coming shoulder to shoulder along side of you and saying "girl, I get it. I was sooo there a handful of years too" Maybe someone needs to hear this washing of grace that filled my spirit with renewed hope. As I cried and cried and cried, hidden from life's pressures, life's blessings, life's responsibilities and challenges, my Savior met me right there in the disaster. And wrapped His love around me, in a way I can't really describe, and poured His strength into me. See, my strength wasn't enough, that's why I was feeling the way I was. I wasn't created to do this on my own, in fact I couldn't. I needed Him to fuel me.
This was the first time in my life where the saying we all quickly say "rely on God to get you through" Really became authentic to me. Like I learned how to flesh out this relying on God thing. I NEEDED Him. Desperately. and man, was I at a desperate place. He met me there behind my couch, with all the cheerios, dust, toys and probably a lost remote... and He didn't disappoint. He hadn't abandoned me before that, but I had turned blindly from Him. As the days started to compile into a longer amount of time, I started reading the Word while my coffee was brewing first thing in the morning. I'd get at least a verse into my soul... and I started giving Him my challenges, my areas that seriously felt suffocating to me, and He breathed in me new life. New breath. The breath of Life. Real-life didn't go away. It's not like I got to come back out from behind that couch and my house was magically clean, and my boys were suddenly angelic well mannered little cherubs. Nah, that's not how it works. But my soul was less weary, and I KNEW... like not in my brain knew, but in my heart KNEW, I wasn't in this alone. I didn't have to try to juggle this all on my own and on my own strength. His grace sunk deep into my spirit, and that identity of failure was no longer one I claimed. I am in no way what so ever a perfect mom. and in no way what so ever do I feel like I've got this figured out... but my prayer is that I won't forget the lesson learned through hidden tears that day that I'm not in this alone. I don't have to do this on my own strength... because His strength is infinitely greater. His wisdom is infinitely deeper. His patience, His love, His joy exists right there in sleepless nights, and brother fights, and sass. In the raw, ugly, realness of life, He can add so much hope, and perspective and courage. He can replace our anxiety with trust. He can give us courage to invest in friendships that bring life! He can fuel our days and calm our souls at night to rest. He wants to do real-life with us.. and until that day, hiding from my real-life, I didn't really get what that meant. He offers us Salvation for eternity and Salvation and grace for Today! We have the privilege to walk through life (real-life) with Him! So if you are on your face, in the dust and cheerios today... trying to hide from it all. Girl, I get it. You are NOT alone, and you aren't meant to do this alone. That defeat you are feeling can actually be a moment of great strength.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.
Happy Mother's Day to all the real-life moms!