09 Apr Encouragement for the Mom’s Heart
Today I want to speak to the mom who is discouraged. I want you to know that you’re not alone…
When Motherhood is Hard
At the time that my boys were toddlers, our family business was expanding. My husband’s hours became longer and longer and I was left to do a large majority of the parenting alone.
This became a lonely time for me.
My husband was a wonderful help when he was home and he didn’t want to be gone so much, but, during that season of our lives, long work hours were the norm.
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I did the best I could and, for a while, our home seemed to chug along uneventfully.
But after about six months of my husband working eleven to fourteen hour days, usually six days a week, I began to crumble.
My heart started to hurt. I started to get weary. I started to feel unappreciated. I started to get lonely, wishing for someone else to talk to besides two toddlers.
Mom: Spirit, Soul, and Body
My health started to deteriorate as well. It was at this point that I began to fully understand why the Bible mentions over and over that God created us: spirit, soul, and body.
It seemed that the stress of my life, the loneliness, and the pain was now manifesting in physical ailments. Headaches, fatigue, stomachaches, back pain, numbness, nerve pain, you name it, I had it.
I want to make a disclaimer here that I *LOVE* being a mother.
I believe with all my heart that being a wife and mom the #1 mission God had planned for me to do with my life since the beginning of time. But not every moment is easy…or fun…or fulfilling. Motherhood includes a lot of sleepless nights, lonely nights, and exhausted nights. It also includes a lot of nights of feeling unappreciated.
I remember an evening after a long day during this time. It was getting late and because of the busyness of the day. My sons’ naps were pushed back to later in the day than they were used to napping.
I walked through a messy house to lay them down in their cribs, wishing that I could use the nap time to sit with a hot cup of tea and a good book, but all the while knowing I would use it to pick up the house and start dinner.
My oldest son cried and cried in his crib
It was too distracting to get anything done, so I finally went and let him out and because of missing his daily nap, he was exhausted, and it showed in his behavior. An hour later, I sat him down at the table to eat dinner. My younger son was still napping and my husband hadn’t come home yet, so it was just the two of us.
My son spent the next half hour fighting me for every bite he took.
I remember thinking, “I’m doing this because I love you. I wish you would just understand that.”
And I even took my thoughts a step further and thought, “Why can’t you just appreciate all I do for you?”
I didn’t say those things.
What I did instead was snapped at my son for throwing his juice cup on the floor.
The End of My Rope
I’m not proud of it and I regretted it instantly. I fought back tears because I didn’t want to cry in front of him.
And my younger son choose that moment to wake early from his nap.
I felt like I was dangling at the end of my rope, can you relate?
You’re more exhausted that you have ever been. Maybe your health is at a state it has never been. And your heart and mind are such a mess that you don’t even want to address them.
At that point, I would have called someone to help me but my dad was hunting, my mom was at a retreat, and my in-laws were out of town. It was just me. . .and a defiant two-year-old. . .and a sleep deprived sixteen-month old.
And you may not have the blessing of family nearby. You may be a single mom in a town far from family. You may have just moved and don’t know anyone.
It’s in those moments, that you have to dig deep because the evening isn’t over, you can’t punch out on a time clock or call in sick.
- There was still bath time
- Cleaning up toys
- Putting the kids to bed, and then…
- Cleaning the house
- Doing the dishes
- Washing a load of laundry
- Deciding what everyone is going to wear the next day
- Packing the diaper bag
And to top it all off, it’s up to you to decide what’s for dinner the next day.
Somehow, I made it through the next two hours. But I have to admit, I didn’t find joy and fulfillment in motherhood that night.
After my boys were in bed, I went through the house picking up toys they had missed and I cried out to God.
What’s the Point?
God spoke silently to my heart and said, “Use this pain to help other mothers.”
I shared this story because I want you to know that motherhood is not a competition.
It’s not about dressing our kids in cute matching outfits. It’s not a race to see which mother can get their pre-baby body back first. It’s not about acting like every moment is perfect and enjoyable.
It’s about raising the next generation of godly men and godly women.
And it’s hard. It’s hard for every mom.
Sometimes God allows suffering in our lives because He knows He can trust us to use that suffering to help others.
If you’re going through a hard time in your motherhood, don’t automatically assume God is angry with you. It could be that He trusts you to use your pain to reach others who are also hurting.
Once I discovered that truth that night, I felt so relieved.
Instead of doing the dishes and running a load of laundry, I sat on the couch, turned on some worship music and just sat in the presence of God.
It didn’t fix all my problems, but it made me see all the reasons that I do what I do.
I do it for Him.
Why We Do What We Do
Mama, start to see your motherhood as a way you’re being obedient to the Lord. You do all things things for Him.
And He appreciates you.
He sees you every time you pick up the same little toy truck and put it away.
He sees you every time you courageously go down the grocery store aisle with two toddlers in tow trying to pick out healthy foods.
He sees you when you wake up early to make sure that you have time in the Word. And He appreciates you.
It can be easy to feel unappreciated or hurt as a mom.
When you ask your child for a hug and he runs the other way, it hurts your heart.
When you want your children to just be still and give you a moment of peace and they choose to do the opposite, it hurts.
It can be easy to feel that moms are the ones care the most, or give the most, or love the most, and they end up hurting the most.
But think about it…Who is it that has the best heart? Who helps the most? Who trusts the most? Who gives the most? Who loves the most? I’ll give you a hint: The answer is not a mother. It’s a Father.
How many times have I hurt God? Or been unappreciative of Him? How many times have I so easily forgotten about Him? How many times have I desired His gifts over His presence?
Too many to count. And I’m ashamed of that.
You see, I said before that on that night it was only me and my two sons. But that’s not true. God was there.
He’s the One who gives me the strength to get them fed, bathed, and put to bed, when I didn’t even think I had the physical strength to lift them out of their high chairs.
And while I was feeling unfulfilled, I was also forgetting He was even there.
While I was feeling unappreciated, I wasn’t appreciating the One who gave me the strength to take care of the little boys He entrusted in my care.
Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Motherhood is hard.
Yes, there are times when it’s fun and fulfilling and amazing and it’s easy to remember why you do all the small things.
But there are also times that make it easy to forget the fun times.
I’m not trying to say that I’m not eternally blessed by my children. I appreciate the opportunity I have to be a mom. I really do.
But I’m just trying to be transparent.
Being a mom is the toughest job.
There is no pay, no sick leave, no vacation time, no bonus checks, and overtime budget. You have to be a cook, a maid, a hairdresser, an alarm clock, a teacher, a doctor, a chauffeur, a monster chaser, and a theological scholar.
And it’s hard.
And even though it goes against every fiber in your being, in those moments make the choice to look beyond yourself and appreciate the One who gives you strength for every step. The One who dries all your tears.
The One who understands your pain.
And remember that you’re doing it for Him.
Mama, will you let me pray for you?
Thank You, Lord. For helping us, even when we don’t notice Your hand at work. Thank You for loving us, even when it hurt. For trusting us with these little souls, even when You knew we would fail sometimes. For giving Your Son, even when You knew we wouldn’t always appreciate what He did for us on Calvary. Thank You for the opportunity we each have to be a mom, and thank You for the privilege we have to be Your daughters. Amen.