Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
I am not new to the mommy train. My third daughter will be one month old tomorrow. So, this time around I don’t feel quite as overwhelmed with it all as I probably did in the past, but there is no denying the lack of consistent and good sleep, feeding every 3 or 4 hours, hormones and attempting to meet the everyday needs of my family has tossed me around emotionally a bit! No doubt my house needs some serious attention and the meals I have made lately have been pretty basic. A few times I have even dropped Rivers off in carpool lane in my pajamas. Really. I mean who does that? I keep seeing Sandra Bullock’s character in the movie Hope Floats taking her daughter’s lunch up to the school in her pajamas…she keeps calling “Bernice! Bernice!” to get her attention and the poor girl is mortified. Smile…at least I don’t get out of the car.
The truth is lately with a new daughter and the aforementioned hormones and fatigue I find my mind running like a ticker tape…a constant review of the regrets and mistakes I have made in parenting so far. A vague but relentless accusation about the emotional damage I have done or will do somehow to my children. Even in the fog I know deep inside the voice of accusation is the enemy. I know that for me, there are no stakes higher in my life than this. I am so thankful for my husband and my marriage, but even the growth and healing we have experienced was born out of our desperate love for our children. Knowing we would shortchange them for life if we didn’t get our act together.
Being real…I struggle at times with a fear of being an “in spite of” mother rather than a “because of” mother. As in my girls grow into strong, kind, Jesus-loving women in spite of me rather than because of me. See, I know that regardless of what we face as children Jesus is a healer. I know this. I know that we can overcome any obstacle when we let God’s love in…when we take that initial risk in trusting Jesus and believing the Bible. And I know that my children are healthy and happy. They know God loves them. They thrive. I realize that in reality my fear and guilt is grossly out of proportion with the mother I am. See, I am a good mother. Just not a perfect one. And there, I guess, is the rub…
The verse above touched me a bit this morning as I read it in an email I received today…he will quiet you with his love. I need my mind and heart to grow still and quiet in His love. I need to be reminded He takes delight in me…in all the seasons of life He is with me. He is mighty to save from fears and fatigue…from past pain and future failures…from all I wish to be and my futile efforts at reaching perfection.
My family is the greatest gift God has given me outside of Jesus. My marriage not only survived…it thrives. I have three amazing girls. I have a home overflowing with people and clutter and memories. And my heart overflows, as well. This is what I hoped for…longed for. And sometimes in the midst of our greatest loves and dreams, we find ourselves struggling with a restricting force on our minds and hearts. It’s loud and persistent. It chants of loss and failure. Of how inept and incapable we are of making things turn out well. And you know what? The truth is I can’t make everything turn out perfectly just as my parents were not able to give me a perfect life, either. But at the end of the day I want to lay my head down in peace that regardless of my imperfections I am learning to let Him quiet me with His love…believe He takes great delight in me…trusting that He is mighty to save and more than willing to heal and transform and overwhelm my weakness with His strength.
Oh how I long to rest in the song He sings over me. How I need my Father to quiet my heart so I can hear the tune and understand the lyrics.
Jesus, even now as I send Leah for a nap and Leighton drifts off to sleep…as the dryer buzzes and baskets of clothes wait beside me to be folded and put away…as I feel the weighty fog of needing a short nap myself…I am grateful. And I am sorry. Please forgive me for letting the fear and doubts settle in lately. Thank you for always reminding me, when I give you the time and a chance, that you love me and we are far from where we used to be. One of my greatest challenges seems to be my personal efforts at striving at times rather than resting in your Grace. I know what happens when I rest in your grace…peace, stability, ability. Thank you for loving me and saving me and making me strong. Thank you for these gifts of tiny toes and fingers and learning letter sounds and second grade math. Thank you that when life is loud and like sweet chaos you find ways to quiet my heart…