Today felt like sandpaper. It was rough and seemed to rub at me with constancy. Every small thing was scraping at my nerves; having to take the car back to the shop, spending 45 minutes at T- Mobil to replace Clay’s phone and leaving empty handed, Ezra refusing to fall asleep for his nap until we start driving in the car, my failed attempt at a DIY blog post, a night alone, and an incessant funk that refused to lift. Each challenge met with my complete failure and gave way to an even more dangerous emotion. I kept asking myself Why am I so angry today? Why am I letting every small thing bother me so largely? Why can’t I be a happy wife and mother? I faced an internal battle and felt as though I was losing. Tiny whispers in my mind kept saying that I was a failure, I suck, I can’t do this today, how can I be an adequate mother if I let myself be bothered by every small thing? With those thoughts planted in my head I finally asked myself, Am I an adequate mother?
I always grew up wanting to be a stay at home mom, have a large family and be awesome. That was my plan, yet here I was almost a year after becoming a mother and questioning my adequacy. The self-examination had me worried that I may not be as capable of motherhood as I thought I would be, that maybe the pressure would be too great. Clay and I want more kids eventually and if I got this way with just one how could I handle 2 more? Double the work, double the stress and half as much time to myself. Caring for a husband and son is a lot of responsibility and I felt like I could just barely handle it, but caring for a husband and 3 kids? How could I do it? I’d always wanted a big family and started worrying that I wouldn’t be enough for them. If we had more kids how would I cope with moments when I wanted an escape? One by one the questions kept piling like a sack of rocks, becoming heavier and heavier to carry with weightier concern.
The day continued as I battled in my head. One minute I was tearing at myself, beating my back with my bag of questions, while the next I attempted to repair myself with words of consolation. But the comfort I tried to give myself just wasn’t enough. The fight was exhausting and mentally I was spent when finally I broke down while putting the baby to bed. Holding Ezra in my arms he thrashed, eyes closed and fought his sleep when I started to cry. I cried in frustration; I was there to comfort him, he was safe, he was secure, why was he fighting so hard against my help? I called out to God ‘Help me, please, help me. I cannot do this”. Through my pleas for help I suddenly realized that I was just like Ezra. All day long I fought a silent battle in my head, trying to carry my heavy load alone. But I neglected to see that even in my moments of anguish God was holding me, whispering in my ear the truths of my worth, comforting me with the security of a Father’s care. He was there to help me all along, yet I continually neglected him and chose instead to do it myself. And like a child I continually failed.
In my humility I realized the error of my attitude. I was not acting like an adequate mother; not because I second guessed my ability, not because I succumbed to weakness, not because I listened to the voice of my enemy telling me I’m not good enough. I was inadequate for the simple reason that I tried to rely entirely on my own strength to conquer my overwhelming weakness. My vulnerability was too great for me to handle and I collapsed under the weight of it all; the weight of trying to be a great wife, a great mother and the best version of myself. “I can do all thing through him who gives me strength”, a verse easily forgotten yet permanently etched into my skin. I cannot do anything apart from Christ, he alone is my strength and if I refuse to rely on him I WILL fail. In moments when I feel my strength waning, it’s because it is, and I recognize the need to call on God to get me through. I don’t need to carry my burdens, he has already promised to carry them for me.
Today was like sandpaper, but days like sandpaper are necessary. They reshape, smooth and expose. Today God reshaped my faith, and exposed my childlike attitude. Though it was a difficult day I am grateful to be humbled and know that my strength is not enough, but God’s strength will never fail, he is my refuge and strength. I am not perfect, but I don’t need to be because I can rely on the One who is.