My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was 14-months-old. If you are considering having kids, don’t let this anecdote deter you. We eventually got back to the place where we all slept all night long, but those first months, that first year really was ROUGH! My body and mind were completely exhausted but, more than that, my spirit was exhausted. I was so worn out, not just from sleep deprivation but also from the pressure I was putting on myself.
You see, I thought that I had messed something up, that I had gone down some irreversible path as a mother and that already, I had screwed up my perfect boy because I couldn’t sleep train him properly. I thought that if I admitted that I was struggling with that area, I would be seen as a failure, as lacking in motherhood. I put so much pressure on myself to figure it out, to read and ask around, to cry it out right along with him, to rock him to sleep, to nurse him to sleep, to sleep with him on my chest, whatever it took. All so that we could find rest for our bodies, and for our spirits, too, because mine was wracked with a sense of failure.
Why do we do this as moms?
Why do we think we have to figure it all out?
Why do we have to have all of the answers?
Because here’s the thing — we never do. Yes, our intuition is strong and our hearts lead steadily onward, but a moment comes for all of us (usually when we’re holding a newborn in our arms) where we realize that we actually don’t know what we’re doing. We realize that the answers we’re looking for don’t come as easily as we anticipated, that we aren’t as humble or as strong as we thought we were and then we feel like failures.
I have felt like this so many times. I’ve had these moments where time stands still while my kids are crying about something and I want to cry right along with them, where my heart almost floats out of my body, but instead of going upward, it sinks to the floor like a deflated balloon and I say to myself, “you do not have this under control — not your hair, not your house, certainly not your kids.”
We’ve all been there. Probably this morning…
Those moments where I don’t know what to do, where I’m at the end of my rope, where I feel like just giving in to whatever bad idea the kids have or deciding to choose anger over patience, I am weak. The impulse is to hide that, but it shouldn’t be.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I’ve often wondered why motherhood is so hard. Why it pulls you in every possible way. Why it makes you take a long hard look at the life that you thought you had put together, the heart and the mind. Why does it humble you and ask so much of you? Why does it highlight the best in you and the worst in you all at once?
I think the answer lies in 2 Corinthians 12:9.
This task that we have of raising our children to be the people that God wants them to be, people full of His love and joy and power, allows little room for our false bravado. There’s no time for us to pretend that we know, to pretend that our own strength can cut it, to pretend that our hearts alone are enough for them. We can’t mince words here. We know better than anyone that we are not strong enough by ourselves and that’s exactly where we need to be.
Motherhood is the rapid, spit fire, bullet train ride to absolute humility. But not to make us feel like we can’t do it. No, it’s to make us realize that we can’t do it without Him. That place of weakness and humility and yes, even failure, is a powerful place. That’s our sweet spot, our charging station, our soul’s cup of coffee, because that’s the place where we put our hands in the air and let Jesus take it.
And oh, will He take it!
That’s where our feeble attempts stop and His unstoppable, unchangeable, unsurpassed power takes over. In that moment where we realize that we are weak, we turn to Him. In that desperate place that holds our wounded pride and our hopes for our children’s futures, we seek solace and wisdom in His words and His presence and there, His power fills our every deficit. He pours into our spirit like water and refreshes and renews and empowers us to mother.
So to all of the mother’s reading this today — to the sleep trainers, the potty trainers, the mind, body, and soul trainers — do not despise the weak moments. Don’t pine for the days when you thought you had it all together and don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you because you know that you don’t. You have been brought to this humble place for a divine and powerful purpose; the purpose of relying on the power and strength of our great and good Father to parent your treasures right along with you. He’s been doing it for a lot longer than we have after all.
It’s ok to be weak, Mama. It’s ok to feel humbled because that’s only the beginning of the perfect power that’s coming. This week, mother in His strength and not your own, let Him take over.
Today, let’s choose to be weak so that we can mother with power.