When I first read the description of Desperate, by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, it was heart wrenching. It was like someone had a window in to my soul and had put all of my untold feelings and struggles and fears and everything in between into a book. All I've ever wanted to be is a Mom. And Mom's aren't supposed to feel THIS overwhelmed, and THIS frustrated, and this and this and this. I believed in all of my feelings, because feelings are very real. But, as my pastor says, feelings are real but aren't always reliable, and that is truth that applies to every single Mama. Every one of us who is struggling with the balance of having kids in school, and kids at home gets it. Having to be at different places at the same time. Having a hot meal on the table at night when Dad gets home from work. Having even a somewhat presentable home in case a friend decides to "drop by" unexpectedly. And in the midst of all that, being purposeful to teach and train our kids to love God and love others. It's a lot! And no one can ever truly prepare you for it!
Tonight, our sweet little Nest at Night Book Club Group met for the first time. We spent time introducing ourselves, talking about our kids, their ages, and what we did before we because mamas. And honestly, it's easy to lose sight of who we were before becoming a mom. We know that person is still in there somewhere, but we take on an additional identity, that can quickly push out all other identities if we aren't careful. And that's what is so overwhelming, when I (unknowingly) allow my identity as "mom" to be put first. And once I've realized what has happened, sometimes it's really hard to recover and pull back into my first role, a daughter of the King. And even my second role as a wife. As Sarah writes, "Down to the bone, to the deepest part of my soul, is the love I have for my children. Every day of my life is imperfectly offered to them. But the little years, they're hard and oftentimes lonely. It's like a secret we fear sharing, just how life-altering motherhood is, especially when you don't have training or support." I think we can all relate to that feeling when all the littles are at home with us full time! And it's in these moments that I often find myself wanting to curl up and cry, and sometimes I do just that. And thank the Lord that I have Him to cry to, and cry out to, in the most overwhelming of moments. Motherhood is a privilege. It's an honor, and a role I doubt many of us take lightly. But it's draining, and exhausting, and frustrating, and overwhelming, and painful, and emotional, and the list goes on and on. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who can completely relate to Ann, in the forward, where she says, "I've been the mama who punished when I needed to pray. Who hollered at kids when I needed to help them. Who lunged onward when I needed to lean on Jesus. I've lain in bed too scared to get up and ruin another day -- ruin my kids." That is often the story of my day, and I often find myself questioning what things happened today that my boys will remember twenty years from now, and will it be a positive or a negative memory? And when I think of all that has gone wrong with my day, I remember, that Christ has gone before me, that I am human and will sin and make mistakes, and the best thing I can do is ask for grace upon grace and forgiveness. Not just from Christ, but also from my boys.
Such truth in what Ann writes here, "My kids don't need to see a super-mama. They need to see a mama who needs a Super God. That maybe being the mama I wanted to be wasn't so much about being more but believing more; believing and trusting more in the God of Hagar and Ruth and Hannah, the God who sees me, who nourishes me, who hears me and answers. That godly parenting isn't ultimately a function of rules but having a relationship with an ultimate God. That godly parenting is fueled by God's grace, not my efforts. That maybe it all comes down to this: if I make God first and am most satisfied in His love, I'm released to love my children fully and more satisfactorily." YES! THIS!! This is what I long for, what I pray for, what I so desire for my boys to remember about me. That even though I struggled daily, I chose to cling to Christ rather than attempt to sustain with my own words and actions. That when (not if) I messed up, I was quick to apologize and ask for forgiveness from them, and then to forgive myself, and walk ahead in the freedom of that forgiveness.
If you are a struggling mama, who needs to breathe, you are not alone. Join me (and a bunch of other mamas) on this journey through Desperate. I think it will refresh your soul, lead you to specific scripture that will revive your spirit, and ultimately draw you closer to the Lord and to your precious babies!
How have you changed as a person from before kids, to being a mom?
Do you feel like you've lost your identity along the way?
What can you do this week to gain back your most important identity, your role as a daughter of the King?