I came across a new book recently and the title jumped out at me. Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. I picked it up and took it up, but it sat on my shelf for some time. Sunday night, after an extremely busy weekend and a few nights in a row of very little sleep, I was feeling weary, overwhelmed and rundown as I put the girls to bed. I walked in the kitchen to begin my normal night time cleaning routine, despite the fact that all I wanted to do was sleep, and I saw the book on the shelf. Desperate….that’s exactly how I was feeling at the moment, desperate for more time, more rest, more motivation, more everything. So I grabbed it and sat in the middle of my messy living room and thought perhaps I could just take a 15 minute break to read.
What happened next was amazing. I began reading and immediately felt comforted by the introduction the author gave and so I dove into chapter one and consumed it all. I had no idea that at the end of the chapter there would be questions and work to do on myself. To be honest, I usually skip those “your turn” parts of these helpful books. I’m resting, reading and don’t want to be bothered to go and grab a pen and look within myself at what I am dealing with.
But this time was different, because the questions were so very relevant to how I was feeling at that exact moment. Do I, as a mom, every feel alone, isolated and like a target for Satan? Absolutely. If I know that God created me to be a mother and is ALWAYS with me, shouldn’t that change the way I view my day to day role as a mom? Of course! Does it? Not usually, because I allow the all consuming responsibility of the day to overwhelm me and I don’t always choose to lean on God and rest. And then came the question I couldn’t even answer, “How do you find rest amidst this exhausting journey of motherhood?”, “What is your source of strength?”
When we went away for a couple of days I came home realizing that part of my problem is that I don’t know how to rest. I don’t know how to relax, how to slow down and just stop. I have created an environment for myself where I so often get caught up in what I need to do that I base my own self worth on what I accomplish or don’t accomplish within a day. Waking up to things left undone reminds that the day before I failed and pushes me harder to try to accomplish all that needs to be done that day, the cleaning, the housekeeping, the cooking, the teaching, the disciplining, the entertaining and caring, the mediating, the comforting, the playing, the planning….
Perhaps I just found the root of my anxiety, and it isn’t caused by WHAT I have going on, but WHO I see myself as.
An overwhelmed, under rested, controlling, idealistic, guilt ridden failure of a mom.
Do I think of myself this way all day long?? No! Absolutely not. But, I place way too much weight on the times when I do see myself that way, than when I don’t.
And I put too much value in how I see myself, when I should be placing all of the value in how God sees me. Because HE chose this path for me, HE believes in my ability to be a mom, and HE wants me to not only enjoy this season of raising so many littles, but to rest in Him even when there are a million things to be done.
So I move on to the exercise at the very, very end. It says to list all of the things that cause me to be anxious, fearful, and weary. Not just as a mom, but as Meaghan.
My list was long. Really long. PPA has brought out the worst in my capability to worry and if I sit and think long enough, I can figure out a way that just about everything makes me anxious.
But then the authors prompted me to do something I had never done before.
They told me to write a letter to God, telling Him all of these things that cause me to fear, to fail, to be anxious. And then to let Him know that I was leaving them all to Him. I was to tell Him that I was leaving all of these things that were burdening me in His hands.
So I did. I told Him all of the things that I was upset about that I had to journey through during this storm. I listed and explained all of the things that cause me so much anxiety and fear and that leave me feeling less than confident in my ability to raise my girls into the wonderful, beautiful Godly women that they deserve to be. And then, I asked Him to take it, to take all of it and in its place to fill me with strength, guidance, wisdom, and rest. I have never felt so free. Do my problems still exist? Yes. But, my trust in the Lord has increased to a point where I am not worried about them. I still have to do the work, but the burden is gone. The anxiety is leaving, and I am so hopeful that the rest is coming.
So today, no matter what stage of mamahood you are in, I encourage you to do the same. We serve a God who knows us inside and out, who wants us to share with Him all of our fears and doubts and anxieties. He longs for us to be confident in motherhood because we can be confident in Him. He wants to take your burdens, and He wants you to rest.
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”