Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rest for the Weary

One of the terrific byproducts of being at the pool so often this Summer has been the opportunity to talk with other Moms of similarly aged children as we stand guard in the shallow end. It is amazing how many important, heartfelt conversations I have had recently without eye contact, since we are all watching our little ones like hawks.

It has been interesting to me to note how alike we are despite the multitude of differences in our backgrounds, personalities, preferences, beliefs etc. We are all in the trenches. None of us have all the answers. We are tired. We are deeply concerned with doing the right things in our parenting. We seek information and encouragement to help us do a better job with our children. We feel remorse when we blow it. We are in the thick of an exhausting, challenging time in our lives. It is nice to be reminded that we are not alone.

The last couple of weeks have drained me. The children now maintain an energy level that I simply cannot match. They are curious, joyful, mischievous, full of wonder, active little people...and there are three of them and only one of me. They are wearing me out. (Even as I was typing this, I just had to get up and go investigate unusually noisy carrying on during nap time. I walked upstairs to find K curiously hanging over the baby gate across her bedroom door yelling, "Boy-eez! What's goin' on in dere?" As I walked into the boys room I found a lamp in one of the beds, a lamp on the floor and R on TOP of a set of low bookshelves.)

I am in a season that feels like everything has hit me at once. The children's home I am involved with is interviewing finalists for our executive director tonight and tomorrow, our pastor search committee is hitting a critical period that is requiring more time, our new Young Life area director has arrived and there is much work to be done, my husband is on call this weekend which leaves me on my own, one of my children is having a minor outpatient surgical procedure this week and my cardiologist has asked me to go off all caffeine for 30 days while I wear a continuous heart monitor. I mean, to take away my coffee & Diet Coke at a time like this is almost tortuous!

I am not intending to sound whiny--just to explain that there is a lot going on around here. And you know what? God has been faithful this weekend. In anticipation of the big week approaching, I have been really calling out to God to fill me up with Himself. Just as He promises in Scripture, He has answered my cry. As I have sought Him, I have found Him in the things I have read and even our lesson in Sunday School today. Rather than wanting to quit and run away, I am more convinced than ever I am right where He wants me.

Why don't I do this all the time? Why does it take "stress" to remind me of my need? Can you imagine how life would look if we were always looking for Him in our lives even when the "felt" need was not there? Who am I kidding, why isn't the felt need there all the time? How on Earth have we managed to convince ourselves He is not necessary in our everyday life?

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

I finally finished Your God is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan. I absolutely loved the fresh perspective he offered to Isaiah 40. Buchanan writes of how stylistically you would expect the passage to start with walking, move to running and culminate with the drama of soaring. Yet, perhaps there was purpose in the reverse order. Perhaps it is because soaring, while dramatic, is not nearly as difficult as the endurance necessary to run without weariness or trudging long distance without growing faint. This resonated with me. The truest stories of heroism and grace of God are found in the walking (sometimes trudging) through the day-to-day, unpredictable challenges of life.

We are called to live with an eternal perspective, with our eyes fixed on "things above," yet the reality is that Moms of little ones spend a lot of our day wiping poopy bottoms, cleaning toilets and dirty floors, trying to shape and mold character of people who still fall apart over spilled milk and the wrong kind of cookies.

What would it look like if we could pray for the ability to REALLY view this all as work for the glory of God? I am going to try. Care to join me?

39 comments:

BooMama said...

Beautiful. You articulated exactly what I've been feeling the last couple of days. Thanks for the encouragement!

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

So true. It's so easy to get caught up in the everday tasks, that we forget to ask God to help us! He longs to fill us up, we just have to ask! What would happen if we cleaned those toilets, changed the diapers, cooked dinner..... for GOD!

Thanks for sharing your heart.

Deidre said...

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately and then the ever-defeating 'mommy guilt' trails along with that.
Thanks for the encouragement. You're in my prayers!

Jenna said...

I am not a mama yet, but I have been babysitting 2 little boys (4 and 1) all day long for the last week. It goes without saying that I found a whole new level of respect for a job I already had the utmost regard for---Mamahood.

I realized through those long hours how challenging and draining little ones can really be and the constant battle of dying to self and everyone's fave--patience. And I only had to keep them entertained and safe--not be in charge of the little people they will become, etc.

I know it is apples to oranges--babysitting as opposed to being a mommy--but I just wanted you to know (as I am sure the other real mamas will attest) that you are doing a great job, and your example of calling on God's promises to get you through is why all you are doing is ALREADY for the glory of God.

Truly a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your heart.

With love, Jenna :)

Amy said...

Great post. I'm a fellow exhausted mommy who came here after BooMama mentioned your post. I'll be back!

CrownLaidDown said...

Mmmm...so true. Praying for your challenges this day and this month, Sister. Funny, I've been thinking on Isaiah 40, too, even quoted the same verses on my blog last night...must be a theme going on. Keep walking this out in His strength, that's what I heard God say to me.
Blessings,
Holly Smith

Overwhelmed! said...

BooMama sent me and I'm so glad that she did! :)

There are days when I feel so physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted that I struggle to get out of bed...and I'm only looking after a 2 1/2 year old, with the help of my husband!

By the way, stop on over at my blog tomorrow and enter to win my free book giveaway that I'm hosting. At least 5 other bloggers are also hosting their own book giveaways and I'll have them linked in my post...so you really have 6 changes to win 6 different books!

As the others say, thanks for the encouragement. I think all of us moms out there can use it from time to time!

girlymama said...

that was so encouraging! such a great reminder that even folding laundry and wiping bottoms can be done with a joyful heart for the glory of god.

thanks!!

A Place For Ministry Wives said...

We often look outside our homes for "greater" ministry opportunities, when the reality is...they are right in front of our eyes in our own families. Love the post.

Janelle said...

Thank you for sharing this today. I feel like I am on the same journey with the Father and reading your words today encouraged me. You are so right...we are in the trenches. We have a lot to shoulder and God wants to carry our burden. He wants to watch us walk in victory every moment. Thank you for sharing your heart.

MB said...

Thanks so much for this post. I will join with you in prayerfully turning my little trench work here over to the glory of God!!
-MaryBeth

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

Yes, Amen!, ditto, all that and more. Thanks for the encouraging words to press on.

Anna said...

I can so relate to the scene in the kids room :) Praying for you - for extra grace to get through a tough week ahead. I'd like to read more of your blog...

And I'd really like to read Your God is Too Safe.
-Anna
http://sincerelyanna.wordpress.com

Shelly said...

I'm not anywhere close to being a a Mama, but I can still take such a word from this post!

Great word sister. I hopped over here off of BooMama's I think.

Jenny said...

Great post! I have 3 older kids, 14,11 and 9. While some things are better, no more bathroom helped needed :), other areas are as stressful! Thanks for the reminder of where to get more strength.
Jen

GeorgiaMom said...

I just found your blog and despite the fact I have a very busy day I couldn't help but read your entire life's story!! What a great story!! From how you met your husband, to the break up, the birth of the triples, to the scary encounter after the births, to your latest entry about being tired.

It was also interesting because I know all the places you mentioned. I know Columbus, I know Northside Hospital (I had 2 babies there), I know Emory (my Mom had a double lung transplant back in March- we lived at Emory those 10 days), my hometown is Albany and as I'm not sure where you're located now (you don't have to tell me), I think it's neat that your love story happened in places that I know :o) Cool! Your kids are just beautiful and it sounds like you have a busy full life! I'm sure I'll be coming back!
PS. I had to sign in under my Blogger account, I have a new website georgiamom.wordpress.com

Blessings,
Georgia Mom

Bethany said...

Thanks for your post today--I'm right there too. Trying to figure out why I don't lean on God more before I hit the "crisis mode". It always feels good to know that I'm not the only one struggling and to have encouragement to press on. You are in my prayers this week.
~Bethany

Everyday Mommy said...

One of the most exquisite posts I've ever read. Beautiful.

Tina said...

I'm a fairly new reader and have been so inspired by your beautiful and heart-felt writing! So much so that I went and got this book, just at your previous mentioning. I linked back to this writing from my blog because I know many mommy's need to hear just what you are saying.

Thank you!

http://narrowminded.us/tina/wordpress

Peach said...

Wonderful post, JMom.

Would love to join you. God's been using those same verses in Isaiah to re-focus my gaze as well. I spent time in the book of Isaiah early this morning before heading over here.

God used your words to affirm some things He's already beginning in my heart. Thanks!

Praying for you as you leave caffeine behind for awhile. I did that back in June and suffered from some rough days of headaches. I can vouch for it getting better in good time though : ) May your symptoms be minor and God's grace be huge!

Sending a hug your way today.

Trish D said...

I just posted that same passage today :) Our worship leader read it yesterday, and I think those few verses went right to my soul.

Laurie said...

Hello! I traveled over here from Everyday Mommy. I hear you, loud and clear. Wonder how many of us are tired and weary and in need of rest????

Thank you for your inspiring words today that came at the perfect time.

-Laurie

Xpress Assistant said...

I've just come across your blog by way of Everyday Mommy and I'm happy the Lord has led me here. I've just renewed my walk with God and was just a bit let down this morning - yesterday's service was so spirit-filled and I was missing that feeling. I have to remember that God is in the everyday and the everything. Thank you and God Bless you!

Marc and Charity said...

Thank you for this! I'm a tired momma to a 2.5 yr. old and a 14 month old. And serving overseas. TIRED.

Thanks for the reminder.

Lisa writes... said...

Here from Everyday Mommy.

I too have read Buchanan's book and his perspective on soaring and running and walking has stuck with me as well. Walking is tedious but God promises strength. May you know His strength here in your current walking season.

Kathleen Marie said...

This is my first visit. I enjoyed visiting your blog... God is good!

The Jones Family said...

Thank you for the gentle reminder of what this life is all about. Your spirit is an encouragement to us all.

Aunt Murry said...

Came over from Everyday Mommy. Powerful words.

Karen said...

Visiting you from Everyday Mommy. What an exquisite post...somehow you managed to write in words what I've been feeling and thinking for the last two weeks. Thanks for the encouragement!

Angela said...

I think you've expressed the heart of mommies everywhere. Beautifully said.

Courtney said...

Thanks so much. I needed that more than you know and God used that to convict me gently of my attitude and my priorities. I desperately need to change my view on my phase of life as a mommy of two little ones. It is exciting to think of what the Lord can do when we change our perspective and heart--to look something like His! I appreciate you and your thoughts and your ministry you have to all of us who are a lot more alike than we realize.

Julia said...

Yes mame, I DO care to join you! Thanks for the encouragment!! Just another thing to keep me accountable for!

KatieBug said...

I linked to your blog from Boomama's and have been lurking today. Love your marriage story. I went to U of A also. Were you a Phi Mu? You look like one of my sorority sisters.

Dolly said...

As mothers, we need to know that God is glorified in the so called mundane aspects of life. Poopy diapers, cleaning the crumbled crackers off the floor, wiping a nose.... We are serving Him by serving our families. He called us to be moms, and as long as you are living out your calling to His glory, there is no greater joy or feeling of purpose in life.

Diptivilasa said...

. Telling comment on plight of all mamas. you may also like to see my 'Letter to Yashasvi' in mindblog-diptivilasa.blogspot.com

Mama-rama said...

Thanks for your insightful words. Tehy tied right in with my devotional from David this morning. We need to lean on God in all our work and in every decision. Our lives are so much more peaceful when we realize whatever we're doing, we're doing for God.

Leslie said...

I am a new mother of twins and posts like these encourage me constantly and remind me how great God is. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me today!

Charlotte said...

Wow! Great words of encouragment. Here's something I've been doing, ok... just started and want to continue...a journal for both my babies (2 and 5mo.) speaking to them of the blessings they are, the way God has used and is using their precious lives to teach me new things, etc. It really gives me a new perspective. I don't mind the laundry piled up so much, the dishes, etc. And, when I do it, like Stephanie said, I am doing it... For GOD!

Kimm said...

Thanks for the encouragement!