Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Weakness His Strength #3: The Heaviness of Motherhood

“I'm the Mom. I can't afford to be weak. 
I have so many responsibilities on my shoulders that if I am weak, 
well then...
everything collapses.”
-- Jenny, commenting on the first post in this series

How many of you relate to this pressure, this terrible pressure?

I know that pressure. I’m the mom, I can’t break down or everything will fall apart.
I have to be strong for their sakes. I have keep going, to hold this all together because if I don’t, then what? Sure, the stress is leaking out of the corner of my eyes and I’m counting the minutes until bedtime.
Sure I was just praying and crying in my room, but now I will wash my face and put on a smile while I make them lunch.

Oh, I know that pressure.

And I can’t tell you to shrug it off, either. I really wish I could. I wish I could tell  all of us that we can just take a break from being mom today, just ignore and neglect them, and it won’t really matter in the long run. I wish I could tell you that they are tough and they don’t really need mom as much as they think they do. I wish I could tell you to lighten up.

the weight of it!
But it’s true. Being a mother is a heavy job.
We can’t just set it down and run away for a little while, until we feel healthy enough to pick it up again.
We have to do it sick, depressed, grieving, doubting. We have to do it with wounds and questions and unmet needs of our own.
Children are just so NEEDY.


What happens in your house when mom is needy, too?
In my house, it goes one of two ways:

1. I hide it, or at least I attempt to hide it.
I pretend I am fine, and get things done in a goat-like manner, barreling on through till bedtime, and letting my words and my attitude injure my family left and right along the way. I hope that I will just sleep it off, and if I do, I just excuse the whole thing as if it were acceptable under the heading “mama just had a bad day.” And I hope that their injuries are minor enough that they will forget them just as quickly.

2. I talk about it.
I can tell my family what is going on in my body or in my heart (if I know!) and I can ask for help. I can apologize for the little injuries, the unkind words spoken out of pain or exhaustion. I can ask for their help and their prayers. Yes, even the little people.

Brutal honesty here: #2 is a new concept to me, and I won’t pretend I chose it over #1 every time.
It sounds so nice on paper, so humble and honorable and easy… until it is time to actually DO it. When I’m the weak one, the one with the need (that my pride still tells me I shouldn't have in the first place,) fessing up to those around me seems impossible. It seems like something that takes entirely more courage than I actually have.

But Jesus says, “Let the little children come,” and you are one of those children. He says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest,” and He knows how to give rest to weary mothers. We may not receive that vacation on the beach that we think we need, but He will give us rest, through His Word, and through other people. (Accepting that second one- that’s the challenge, isn't it? Wait, the first one is not so easy either.)

Grace frees us to ask Him for help, and then to accept that help, even when it comes through other people. He has not given us one single thing to bear that we must bear alone.

Are you weary today?
  • Remember first, who you are in Christ. By grace you have been saved, and now, you are fully known and fully loved, even with the heaviness that you carry. Does the heaviness seem to inflame the sin and selfishness in your own heart? Bring that heart to Him, again, and hear Him welcome you.
  • Second, remember who THEY are in Christ: those children you are loving and serving. Remember that God Himself has also committed to finish the work that He has begun in them. Yes, you are an important part of it, but the weight of it is on Him. He can use other hands and other means. His faithfulness is their hope, just as it is yours.
  • Ask for help. Confess your sins and your need to God, and receive His grace through His Word and through the people around you. Let them see your need, so that they may help you with the gifts that God has given them.


Do you dare to admit it?





What do you think?
Do you feel this heavy pressure in your vocation?
What happens in your house when mommy is needy?
Do you need to let someone see your need today?



Coming up next:
What do children learn when they see mom’s weakness?


Don't miss a thing! Follow Weak and Loved by Email, Facebook, RSS, or Twitter 

Join the conversation, and tell your friends!


(Linking up with Kate  and Debi)


30 comments:

  1. Emily, You're addressing such an important point - one I wasn't even fully aware of until I read this. We all have those days, or those seasons, as moms! I love your exhortation to bring our brokenness to Christ, as well as to allow our kids to see that we often struggle as well. They see it anyway! There is much forgiveness in our Savior, and for that I am always grateful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ann! As much as I hate those seasons, I think they are unavoidable! I have tried hiding my need to cope with those days... and it just doesn't seem to help most of the time! So glad God is gracious and helps me through other people... (though sometimes I still wish he'd give me his help in secret all the time!)

      Delete
  2. This is a MAJOR reason why we need the body of Christ and why older women in our lives are vital to our spiritual strength and support! To have an older gal come alongside of you and say, "Honey, let me take your kids to the park for a bit while you spend some time in the Word" is a God-send!!

    I knew of a gal who would put a wilted flower in her front window as a sign to her husband that, "I'm REALLY having a hard day and I need you to come in with a heart to minister to me." It was wonderful for their marriage. My husband and I came up with a similar *signal* between us. It helps so much when my husband comes into the house KNOWING I'm struggling and looking to meet the needs of a very needy Mom!

    Thanks for linking this great post up with me today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kate, you are so right- this is exactly the kind of need the body of Christ was meant to meet. I have been on the receiving end of that kind of help so many times in the past few years... I am now much more eager to offer that kind of help, because I know what a blessing it is!!!

      The wilted flower idea is GREAT! I'm going to make sure people see that one and share it on facebook!
      Blessings to you Kate!
      Emily

      Delete
    2. Sorry I can't seem to "tag" you today- so please comment on my facebook post if you want people to know who you are! :)

      https://www.facebook.com/weakandloved

      Delete
  3. When this Mom is needy: 1) I sulk and cry and lay on my bed and complain of a headache....best case scenario I 2) snuggle with the kids on the couch. I try to teach my kids to ask for help when they are needy and to talk about their feelings, but it is often hard to practice what I preach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I use the "headache" as a blanket statement sometimes too :) And really, some times there is no other way to put it. I just ... hurt.
      Prayers for you today Laura.

      Delete
  4. Emily, you were spot on here. I needed this! Wonderful writings from your heart!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ashley! So glad to have you here- weak and loved- with us! May God bless and uphold you today!

      Delete
  5. I think my biggest struggle is telling my husband or anyone that I need help. I usually chalk it up to a bad day. But the truth is that I'm always having bad days. He knows I need help and offers to do what he can when he can, so I feel guilty for even asking him to help when he works all day too. It's hard to let people help you because then you have to admit that you can't do it all, but I'm finding that when I do, that time away refreshes and recharges me so that I can be the mom and wife I need to be.

    Great post! I'm a new follower from Teaching What Is Good.

    Keri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I want to appear strong to my husband at all times too. and then I struggle with "How can you ask him for help? He's had a hard day too, most likely much harder, so just get it together already!"

      Sometimes this kind of "coping" turns into a good heart to heart after the kids have gone to bed where we both just commiserate about how we are spread too thin. Nothing gets fixed, but it feels good to be understood, and it encourages us to pray for each other more even when we can't physically do each other's jobs!

      Welcome Keri! thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  6. I am SO SO SO not good at holding it together when I am needy because of the pressure to keep it all together! I found myself very sick early this spring, throwing up and coughing my lungs out. It was the first time I had been truly sick since becoming a mother, and I literally laid down and cried my eyes out like the world would end because I was sick and my husband would have to help with "my work." I think I actually sobbed the words, "I just wish my mom was here, she would know what to do!" My husband was my hero that day, and I definitely learned that I am not the glue that holds our house together. I am allowed to be needy and our household needs will be taken care of one way or another! Thanks for the writing! (I'm visiting through the time-warp wife link-up).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Tyanne, that is so sad! "I just wish my mom was here, she would know what to do!" I so know that feeling!! I am so glad that you were helped by your husband that day! It's so painful to receive help sometime... but such a good lesson for us! I am not the glue!

      Thanks for visiting! I hope to see you again!
      Emily

      Delete
  7. Oh so true. This was a great post. Thanks for sharing your heart.
    Have a Blessed Evening,
    Sherry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sherry, and thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  8. I think good preaching that tells me, "You will never have in your self what it takes to handle what life will bring." is the best thing I could hear. Because then I will stop hoping in my own strength to get me through, but trust in Christ alone. Like the name of your blog,I'm weak and loved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy, YES. You get it. None of this "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" malarky. I am not strong but He is :)
      Thanks for coming by, and for getting it!

      Delete
  9. I can admit it, I had to wait to comment until the tears of acknowledgment cleared from my eyes. I do both #1 and #2. I simply love your words of encouragement of bringing this to Christ, It dilutes myself condemnation a little. I do try to put the weight on Him, I just can't seem to shake the feeling in my broken heart that my girls deserve better. I still believe God picked me for the job and I know no one else could do it better than me with God's help!
    Thank you once again. Blessings and Prayers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, what a kind comment! I've been told I have a gift for making people cry- sorry!

      So what do you think about this- your girls DO deserve more than you can give them, more love than you have- and they can only get that from God. And even though you are sinful and flawed, He is using you to fill their hearts anyways, to meet SOME of their needs, and to be His hands of care for him.

      Blogging on this tomorrow- hope to see you back!

      Delete
    2. I tried to comment on this yesterday but the reply section refused to load. Anyway I wanted to thank you Emily, This did help me greatly. I knew this already and I do direct my girls to God when they try to load me up with more requests than I can handle. I bought them each a prayer journal a few weeks ago and I encourage them to write to God as often as they can. This helps them a lot and takes some of the pressure off me. I had a talk to my 8 yr old after reading your reply and she was very gracious in her understanding. She already knew some of my condition but I just felt I needed to reinforce my Love is not always clear and I am not always strong, and that God never gets too weak to show His love. I have just got the notice of your new post so I am heading over there now. Thank you again. You are a true blessing. :)

      Delete
    3. I am so glad to hear from you again. I worried a little bit after posting that comment that you might take it wrong; You are an inadequate mother not because you are any less of a mother than me or anyone else, but just because you are a human and sinful and not God! The prayer journal for the girls is a great idea. I have kept one myself for years- why have I not encouraged my little people to do this!? You are right; it takes the pressure off- it really does, to have them talk to the one who can actually MEET their needs!!!

      Yet what grace it is that He does use us to meet some of those needs (when they are little, MANY of those needs!) despite the fact that He is working with such flawed material- He uses it, and those children of ours are blessed! I'm sure yours have been recently, by your honesty and pointing to him. :)

      Delete
    4. I have been writing in my prayer journal for over 6 years now, I wonder why it took me so long to think of it for my girls too...Humanity strikes again! ;o)

      Delete
  10. Great insight. My kids are in college now, but one of the best lessons (IMO) was to tell them when I was tired and apologize for being grumpy and/or snapping at them. Hopefully that modeled humility on my part and grace on theirs.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, so hard but so good to apologize to the little ones. Sounds like you were a great example.

      I wrote about how awkward this can be here:
      http://www.weakandloved.com/search?q=awkward+honesty

      Delete
  11. I can imagine it would be super hard to admit to my children what's going on inside on a hard day, but I also know it would be beneficial in so many ways. Great post!

    Mary Beth

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for saying this. I recently wrote about an experience I had about needing and expecting to get fellowship/adult time with some of my husband's relatives which turned out very disastrously for me. I didn't speak up for myself and treated people terribly. They were not considerate of my needs as a mom. One of my sils isn't talking to me now, though I was able to talk things through with the other sister-in-law. It has been a very humbling experience when I thought I had gotten much better at expressing my needs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is SO hard isn't it? Part of me really wishes people could read my mind. And then I struggle with "Oh, get over it, you don't need ____ that bad..." and I put off expressing it until I'm too emotional to do it in a rational way! AH!

      Well, love covers a multitude of sins; may God help our loved ones put up with us and us put up with them! :)

      Delete
  13. Emily,
    This is such a timely message for me today. "Remember that God Himself has also committed to finish the work that He has begun in them. Yes, you are an important part of it, but the weight of it is on Him. " Those words especially have given me a much needed peace after a very trying day with my children. I am incredibly thankful for your insights.
    Love and God Bless,
    Christy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christy. If He weren't committed to this project, it would be so easy to despair!
      Prayers for you today- this job is so hard! Sometimes I wonder, what was He thinking in trusting these little people to US!?

      Delete

Web Analytics