Having three little boys in less than four years just about did me in. Life was hard when they were small. All the whining, crying and complaining … and then there were the children …
In my devotion today I told about a phase in my parenting when I reached out for help. But that wasn’t how I handled motherhood at first. Before I explain, I’d like to welcome any readers who are here for the first time after reading my Encouragement for Today devotion. I’m so glad you’re here. Please keep reading for some great giveaways that will encourage moms. But first, let me take you back to the early years of being a mom.
Back then, I refused to admit that having children changed my life. Crazy, I know. But I wanted to keep doing all the things I used to do before children. In fact, I secretly took pride in being able to do a lot no matter what it cost all of us. So I dragged those little boys here and there, usually leaving early with a pasted-on smile and held-back sobs until I could get into the safety of my car and collapse.
My entire life at that time was filled with trying to regain my old life … and the old me. But it wasn’t happening. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t match my circumstances with my personal expectations. And I was one big disappointment after another – to myself.
There was this quiet sense of desperation that life was passing me by. All I saw were my limitations. And I was miserable. But I never told anyone. I kept it inside and just tried harder.
Oh how I wish I could go back to my younger self and give her some advice. There was so much I missed back then. Thankfully, God intervened in a BIG way and I learned some lessons that saved me from years of regrets. But if I could, here’s what I would say to my overwhelmed self 16 years ago.
1) Renegotiate your expectations of yourself. Don’t expect that you can do the same things you used to do. That not fair to you or your family. You might be able to maintain the same lifestyle for awhile, but the costs will not be worth it in the long-run.
2) Your worth and value aren’t found in what you can do. They aren’t found in how well you can run a committee, organize a retreat or handle a job. They aren’t found in how well you can sing or direct VBS. Your value isn’t found in your accomplishments because things never stay accomplished. Your worth is found in who you are in Christ. You don’t have to do anything. Just be.
3) There is no unproductive time in God’s economy. What seems like wasted years, aren’t. God is always doing something, teaching you something, preparing you for something. If you miss what God has put in front of you right now, you won’t be ready for the next thing when the time is right.
4) Pay attention to your heart more than your appearance. And I don’t mean physical appearance. You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool God. And He cares about what’s going on inside. Guard your heart against complaining, critical thoughts, envy, judgment and anything that isn’t of God. Take your wrong thoughts captive and submit them to the Lord for His help in changing them.
5) Tell someone how hard this is for you. Find a MOPS group, start a moms group in your neighborhood, or invite someone over for coffee. Don’t do this alone. And if the first person or group isn’t a good fit, then try another one. You need support from moms who understand how tough this motherhood thing really is and who won’t judge you or make you feel less spiritual because you admit you sometimes think about running away (even though you’d never do it in a million years).
If you are feeling overwhelmed and desperate today, I know just how you feel. And so does our Heavenly Father. He knows when you wonder if you will ever wear anything besides your pajamas again. He sees every tear you cry after you take your baby to a caregiver on the way to work. He knows howhorrible you feel after you’ve exploded over something minor. He sees, He knows and He cares. And He longs to have you turn to Him before you do anything else.
Being a mom is the best and hardest job I’ve ever had. This week as we get ready to celebrate Mother’s Day, I hope you’ll take the time let a mother know how much you care about her and appreciate all she does. In honor of Mother’s Day, my friend Renee Swope and I have gotten together to bless a few of you with some gifts. Renee is featured in a new book by Revell Publishing called “Always There.” It’s a compilation of reflections for moms on God’s presence. We’ve got two copies to give away to someone who posts a comment on my blog today or tomorrow.
Renee is also giving away a copy of her Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child chart and one of her CD messages for moms. I hope you’ll visit Renee’s blog today and get to know her. She’s an incredible mother and her writing encourages me personally.
I’m so glad you stopped by today. If you are reading this in an email, please make sure you click here to enter the drawing by leaving a comment on today’s topic. To leave a comment go to www.GlynnisWhitwer.com, scroll to the bottom of the post below my name and click on the comments link.
Thanks again for joining me, and may the Lord be your peace today.
In His love,