I can remember standing at my bathroom sink, very pregnant with my third child, sobbing. It was early in the morning, and I could hear my 1 year old and 2 year old both crying from their rooms. My husband wasn’t home, as he had been working a long shift overnight.
I was exhausted and the day hadn’t even started yet. The thought of going to get my little ones from their cribs was too much to bear. I cried out to God, desperate for strength to start the day.
Thinking back on this particular morning, it sounds super dramatic. But, in that moment, in my own strength, I wasn’t able to pull myself together. I don’t recall the exact details after that, but what I do know is that God did give me the strength. My mind was renewed as I cried out to Him in prayer.
Motherhood isn’t meant to be easy. It is full of beauty and blessings, but it is not easy. Sure, there are some seasons that seem to be simpler, or by God’s grace, more restful, but more often than not, I’ve found motherhood challenging me in my faith.
So what do we do when we experience difficult seasons in motherhood?
In my own difficulties and times of suffering, there are two ways I have responded:
- With a “woe is me” attitude, often trying any means of escaping the problem (scrolling social media, venting to my husband, hiding in the bathroom…) or
- Relying on God for strength and having faith to see the blessings in the midst of my suffering.
When comparing those two reactions, it’s easy to see which is preferable. The first is completely self-focused, and the second is God-focused.
But when we are experiencing something hard, it’s not so black and white. It’s hard to separate our feelings from what we know to be true. Satan likes to capitalize on our suffering, by telling us lies, making it so easy for us to host a pity party.
Something that has helped me to stay focused on what is true – that God is in the midst of all suffering and is sovereign over all things – is to sanctify my mind in truth. I can do this by: being in the word, getting good teaching, and surrounding myself with godly influences.
I also have to remember that I always have a choice. It’s just like I often tell my toddlers. “You have a choice right now – you can choose to whine and cry and feel bad for yourself, or you can choose to put a smile on your face and have joy in your heart.“ I would much rather be a toddler with joy in my heart!
Rest in the Lord
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Suffering is fresh for me right now, as I just emerged from the throws of morning sickness. This pregnancy has been unique, as I was in my most miserable state during the “stay at home order” because of COVID-19. I was completely isolated in my suffering, not able to leave my home or be with other people.
At first, I thought that this was ideal timing. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, or talking to anyone, because I was sick 24/7, so I was glad to stay home. But as the months went on, I realized that being isolated was not helping my mental state, and therefore, possibly made me feel sicker than I was.
If you are going through a trial in motherhood, whether it’s physical suffering, circumstantial, or emotional, please don’t believe the lie that it’s better to be isolated. We need to be around other people, so that we can be encouraged by other mothers that have gone through similar challenges.
2 Corinthians 1:4 says that God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
This verse reminds me of two important truths. First, I need to rest in God and allow him to comfort me in my affliction. Second, I need to take it upon myself to encourage other women who are also going through difficult seasons.
In Hebrews 10:24-25, it tells us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
So, as we are all still navigating a world that is physically isolated due to COVID-19, let us not allow our mothers to be emotionally isolated. Reach out to your mama friends, and make an effort to be together, whatever that looks like. And let us remind each other of this very important truth:
There are blessings from God in suffering, if we have the faith to see it.