We were sitting in a restaurant enjoying some family time, when a young couple with two small children made their way to a booth in the corner. The young mom wore baggy jeans and a big sweatshirt, the outfit of one who has carried two children and hasn’t had time to lose the extra weight that comes with nine long months of pregnancy. Holding the hand of her adorable little girl who was learning to walk, while trying to steer her 3 year old little boy towards their seat, the young mom looked exhausted. The 3 year old wasn’t cooperating, and the tired mom was getting frustrated. Sauntering slowly behind them, the husband didn’t notice that his wife was in need of some help.
A similar scenario continued throughout the entire meal. The young husband cluelessly enjoyed his meal, while his wife tried to eat her meal while taking care of two children. Often throughout the meal, the entire restaurant would hear her yell, “SIT DOWN” at the 3-year-old who was squirming around in his seat.
As I watched the scene continue to unfold, I felt compassion for this young woman. I was reminded of how very challenging the years of having small children can be. I remember the frustration of not fitting into my clothes, the fog that settled permanently over me until my kids finally slept through the night, trying to care for two little ones while accomplishing normal every day tasks, and at times fighting the temptation to feel resentment towards my husband as I watched him live his life as he always had, when my life had been so drastically altered in every way.
During the years of living life with two young children, I had very little help. We didn’t live near either set of parents, and at the time we went to a church where there was very little fellowship. With few exceptions, I was alone much of the time. They were lonely but precious years, as God used them for my good and His glory.
Most of the time, I did enjoy being home with my children. I was confident of my calling and was happy that I was the one putting them down for their naps, making them lunch, and getting to experience all the daily milestones of their growing up. But there were days that I became weary and would lose my focus. These were years that God allowed me to come to the end of myself and learn how to press into Him on a deeper level. They were the years that I saw how very self centered I really am.
Becoming a mom did not suddenly cause me to become a needy person. Becoming a mom exposed how very needy I already was.
There is no other time in our lives when we will face having to give of ourselves like we do when we become a mom. It is a life of constant self sacrifice. When we are put to the test in this life changing way, we are able to see our hearts to the core of what they truly are. Desperate for God. If we don’t embrace this truth and allow it to change us, we will fall into despair.
Thankfully I did have a few older women, most of them who lived too far for me to see on a regular basis, who would regularly whisper in my ear and remind me of my calling and encourage me to cling to God and draw from His strength. Looking back, I am convinced that these friends were not close by on purpose. God wanted me to focus on and depend on Him, not on them. If they had been closer, there is a possibility that my first response would have been to pick up the phone, rather than drop to my knees and beg God to provide the strength and wisdom that I needed to be a mom.
Yes. Those years were hard, yet God did an incredible work!
5 Things God Did During the Difficult Seasons of Motherhood
- Those were the years God used to begin creating within me a heart to encourage and serve young moms.
- Those days when I longed for fellowship were the days that prompted me to get into the Word and find out what my job as a member of the body of Christ is. I needed fellowship and it wasn’t happening. Something was missing.
- They were the years God helped me see what is missing in many churches, and caused me to resolve to do all I can to live out my calling as an older woman in the local church.
- Those days spent alone with my children were used by God to help me get to know my precious children, and help develop the close relationship we have now that they are young adults.
- And on those mornings that I didn’t think I could get out of bed, yet somehow I did, those were the mornings that God’s strength took over. I was able to live out the calling I had been given, and then I was able to fall into bed in the evening, with the knowledge that God was the one who had carried me through the day. He had come to my rescue!
God uses the difficulties and challenges, of each season of life, to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we will cling to Him. In the season of having young children, if we allow Him to do His work, we will not see ourselves (or allow anyone else to see us) as one who has it all together. We will only become more aware of the One we need so desperately, in order to accomplish the callings that God has placed on our lives.