Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mama weak, mama loved.

My children have a distorted view of me. For one thing, they don't mind when I sing. This is because they don't really know how bad I am, though I am pretty sure one son already has suspicions.

For the little ones at home with me every day, I am the biggest and best thing in their world. I am the Fixer of All Things Broken, the Filler of All Stomachs Empty, the Cleaner of All Things Dirty, the Finder of All Things Lost. I can extinguish conflicts with one hand, tickle away tears, and revive favorite toys with a mere battery, all while making yummy cupcakes. I am mom, and so, I am the Meeter of All Needs.

To be honest, I like thinking of myself this way too. I like to pretend I am strong, that I am one who is always giving and never has to receive anything from anyone. I might say that's not true, but I still try to live like it is.

For example, how often do I actually ask for help? I mean really ask, not hint, not attempt to project loud thoughts, not angrily imagine my husband can read my mind but chooses to ignore me, but ask with real words and humility? Can I admit, out loud, that I am not the Meeter of All Needs, but am myself poor and needy? Do I have to be at the end of my rope before I can say out loud what everyone else around me already knows-- that I cannot do it all?

If my kids (and I) were right about my superpowers, I would never find myself floored by a stomach bug or depression. I would never be out of patience or simply burned out. And yet, when these things happen, I am always surprised. I fight against weakness, and try to deny it, as if I really am supposed to be the Superhero that my kids think I am.

I remember her weakness, and mine:

Five to seven times each day my heart sank as I watched her suffer a seizure. Yet, so many other times, she would seem absolutely fine, life and health bursting out of her as if shed never been sick at all. See, she’s fine. No, she’s not. She’s really sick. Oh, come on, she’s really not that bad. Yes, she is. No, she isn’t. Back and forth I went in my head, my heart desperate and hopeful and grieving all at once.
            I tried to be strong, to put a wall around those thoughts and feelings, at least during the day when I was surrounded by my family. Yet the mere frequency of her seizures made that impossible. Somehow I had to find a way to function even with all these thoughts and feelings going on inside me. I had no idea how to do that.
            That weekend I got an email from my Aunt Julie. Like many other friends and family, she wrote to encourage us and promise prayers for the family. She gave me some heartfelt advice she had gained while raising her daughter with Down’s Syndrome. After sharing words of sympathy and encouragement, she ended her email saying, “People tell you to be strong—I say be weak and be loved.”
            I sat at my computer and cried, finally giving myself permission to feel those awful feelings I had been trying to keep at bay. My heart poured out complaints and prayers to God, as I admitted I most certainly was not strong, as I wanted to be. Lord, I am weak, much too weak for this trial. If there is going to be any strength, it is going to have to come from You.
            Part of me wishes I could describe how I became superwoman from that point on, valiantly facing every obstacle and soldiering on with courage and strength until I found help for my dear daughter. No, I was still weak. My head and my heart still hurt. My problems did not disappear. But I was weak and loved. My aunts words reminded me of that important truth, and I sat at my computer, drenched in tears, and just rested in that word. Loved.

I am not, as my children imagine, all-sufficient, all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful. There is One who is, and I need Him just as badly as they do. How good it is to be loved by a God who cares for needy children.

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.
Psalm 40:17

Do you find yourself surprised by weakness, too?
How does God's love help you through?


New series coming soon:

If you've got it, flaunt it!
Our weakness, His strength.

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1 comment:

  1. What an encouragement. We do need to know the we can find strength in God and support from loved ones to have the chance to be weak and loved!


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