Yesterday I had a tough day with the kids. Looking back on it, I see that I was actually having a tough time with myself, which made it hard to deal with the kids. My mind swirled with doubts about being a mother, insecurities crept in, comparisons were made… Not my finest hour, as you can tell. In the midst of these frustrations, I wondered what I would write about next. And that is when I started to feel like a hypocrite.
So I’m just gonna go ahead and throw it out there that I don’t have it all figured out. I won’t be giving you a list of five things to make your life easier or three steps to obedient children. Because, if I’m being honest, I’m reading those types of blogs and advice columns myself, saying, “Yes, please! Tell me how to make them listen!”
And if you’re looking for that type of website, I found one with a plethora of helpful parenting tips called The Military Wife and Mom. It’s worth checking out. I am happy to refer you on to someone who has more wisdom and experience than me.
I’ve been thinking about King Solomon lately. He asked the Lord for wisdom and received it, yet at the end of his life he questioned everything. It was all vanity, he decided. Even such a great king had doubts. Even Solomon in all his splendor felt unsettled in his place in life.
That’s kind of the way I feel right now. Unsettled. I’m struggling with being a stay at home mom, with being content where I am. I’m having trouble seeing the big picture through the fog of toddlerdom.
I just saw a college friend post on Facebook about this. She was talking about feeling dissatisfied on a playground with her kids, which was exactly where I was yesterday having my doubts. Parallel stories.
Madison said: “It’s really hard for me to settle in this place of mainly Mama. I find myself restless – but why? Often because my heart thinks it can’t be content here. That I’m missing something (or something is missing me). But I can be content — with Jesus I can be satisfied anywhere.” Madison recently moved with her family to Ukraine to focus on missions, so she is literally learning to be content anywhere. She shares her heart in such a fun and humble way, so I always love reading what she writes. You can follow theperekotiys journey on Instagram.
At the moment I’m reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. She tells readers to write down their dreams, and then a few chapters later, to write down everything they have accomplished in life so far. I gladly obliged and enjoyed the task. For moms who feel like they’re not being a good mom, (hello, me!) she tells us to look at the evidence. Yes, I have sweet, healthy children who love me and socialize well with others, so I must be doing a good job, for the most part!
But I want more confirmation than that. I want something deeper. Because I’m feeling like quite the complex and conflicted lady these days.
(And if you want a book review, although I haven’t finished it, I will say that despite coming off as pretty condescending, particularly at the beginning, and having weak, wishy-washy faith themes thrown in here and there, it has some helpful tips and encouragement as well as a fun writing style that make it an easy read.)
But, like I said, I’m a complex and perhaps insecure lady who wants more reassurance than a self-help encouragement book can give. I’m going to have to bring out the big guns. Too aggressive an analogy? Sorry, I’ve been around little Lukey too much, who bit my shoulder when I laid him down for his nap today.
And when I said big guns, I meant the Bible. I’ve been convicted these last few days that while self-help books and even devotional books are great, I really need to immerse myself in the word of God for insight, encouragement, and wisdom.
I decided that I needed a good reminder of how God views love. What better set of verses than I Corinthians 13?
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I want to keep this framework for Biblical, unselfish love in the back of my mind tomorrow as I take on another day with my kids. I don’t want my actions or words in this trying season to be a stumbling block for them in the future. Lyla already absorbs everything I say, as well as the way I say it. Lord, help me to model YOUR definition of love for my kids, not the world’s.
Do you struggle with doubts about yourself, your abilities, or your place in life?
What encourages you? I would love to hear from my readers.