“Amen, sister!” I thought.
But when I re-read it today, I got angry. No one would take a nap. The baby had been screaming all morning. The preschooler’s antics were simply enervating. I’m tired. My husband had been working all weekend, and I felt like I hadn’t had a moment to exhale.
Every ounce of my being was screaming,
“But I need a break! I deserve some peace and quiet! My family is driving me crazy! When do I get some me time?!”
And I’m throwing a big ol’ pity party all by my lonesome.
But Brenneman is right.
In those moments when my sanity is hanging by a thread, running from my family anywhere else is simply not the answer. Instead, what I need to do is deny my self and run straight to the cross.
Wise women have told me that parenting is part of the sanctification process. Our children refine us by their actions (or inaction), words, and behavior. We discover our weaknesses while mothering our children. Honestly, despite my red hair, I never knew I had a temper until a toddler tested me.
When we’re walking through the refining fires, it’s tempting to want to escape. It’s too hot. We hurt. We’re exhausted. The weight of it all is too much for us. And it is if we try to do it on our own.
We can’t be the best mothers unless we seek God’s help in the process. Our children refine us to His glory when we choose to run to God for help rather than escape the flames.
Escape is not always the best answer.
That’s not to say we don’t all need some quiet time alone for introspection and reflection. I need it desperately. What I mean is that it’s easy to throw in the towel, hand the baby to hubby, and announce your departure: “Good luck! I’m outta here!“
When I’m tired and overwhelmed by the weight of all that’s heaped on my plate, that’s when I need to run to Jesus for comfort.
Our families should be our joy.
Our homes should be the only place we want to be.
Our lives should be spent honoring Christ as our first priority.
We should be sad inside when we‘re separated from our children or our husbands, not jumping up and down in glee that we have some time to ourselves.
Those are hard words to hear, I know, because they’re hard for me to type. The world tells us children are a burden, that we “deserve” our time because it will make us happy, and we deserve happiness. Yet, my heart has always felt guilty for wanting time alone. Now I see why. God didn’t want it this way.
I haven’t arrived as a Mom. I never will. Even today, I desperately wanted to cop out, but I didn’t.
Because I feel a beautiful change in my heart that I can only explain as the Holy Spirit working in me. He is growing my love for my family and shrinking my love of me. It’s a gradual, one-step-forward two-steps-back kind of dance, but as I cling to Him in the midst of rough days like today, I see the moments where He was moving: pulling me to Him when I wanted to run, making me smile when my kids acted silly, stirring up laughter just when we all were crumbling.
Instead of checking out when life becomes challenging, instead of complaining about the sparse time I have for myself, instead of demanding that I be happy, I’m learning— day to day, with God’s help– to deny myself, cling to the cross, and look for moments of peace here in this place.
In my home.
Among my family.
Surrounded by those I love most.
With Christ in our midst.
This is where I’m supposed to be.
What about you? Specifically for those of you who have found peace and joy being at home among your family rather than out in the world, how have you done it? What advice do you have for a young mom of little ones who craves a quiet space but also desperately wants to continue growing in love for her family?
May God continue to richly bless you!
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