So it was refreshing to read this post a couple days ago... "When Motherhood feels like Misery". I could completely relate to the young mother who wrote it. Yes, I am admitting that there are days that I don't want to be a mom. There are days that I sit and try and figure out how I can run away...seriously I do. There are days I yell way too much, days that the house is turned upside down and I have no desire to turn it right way up, days that I am so overwhelmed that I can't think straight.
Have you been there?
Praise God we don't have to stay there... God gives us these tough times so we can learn to trust him.
There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1: 6-7 NLTHow is God teaching me to get through tough times?
I need to remember to stay in the race... This is the mission God has give me... he has blessed me with these kids and given me the role of mom and the task of raising them. The Christian life is not a sprint, it is a marathon... a long distance race. When I am feeling down in the dumps, the one thing my husband always asks is "have you had your quiet time?" and strongly encourages me to do so if I haven't (Husbands... did you get that? Lead and encourage your wives... I truly appreciate Joe's spiritual leadership). I don't know about you but for me it is very easy to slack off bible reading and prayer time when I am feeling bad or having a rough time. I have learned though, that this is the worst thing to do. Just like marathon running, if you stop moving, it is hard to get going again. Even when it feels like you are just going through the motions, go through the motions!
It was during one of these"going-through-the-motions-times" recently that God spoke to me through His word. I was having a bad week.. one of those "how-can-I-escape" weeks. I felt depleted... I knew that I was doing what God wanted me to but I was not really enjoying where he had me.
I was studying Psalm 51 and I came across verse 12.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.Sometimes I try to fix how I am feeling but this verse was reminding me to ask God to restore and sustain. He provides a willing spirit to sustain me. I was meditating on this for a while and then I read on to the next verse. King David, the psalmist wasn't asking for the restoration of joy and to be sustained by God only for his own personal satisfaction... read it...
THEN I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
As I meditated on this I changed verse 13 to say this:
Then I will teach my kids your ways so that my kids will turn to you. (they are transgressors and sinners that need to be turned to God right?!)
This was such a reminder to me of why I am doing what I am doing.. to teach my kids they ways of God so that they will turn to him. If I keep that as my focus instead of how hard it is, I can keep going.
In addition to staying in God's word, trusting him and focusing on why I am doing what I am doing, I have learned some other ways to get through those tough motherhood days and weeks:
Know when to take a break. Some days when things are not going well, I call it quits, I put on a dvd for the kids and give myself a time out.
Examine your schedule. If you are feeling frazzled, chances are you are doing too much. I tend to have overly high expectations of what can get done in a day. We have to learn how to manage our expectations. Someone once told me "There are a lot of things that are good to do but not everything is BEST for you and your family." Get in the habit of weeding out the things that are only good and ask God to help you determine what is best.
Don't compare yourself to anyone. God has made you who you are and has a specific will for you. We all have a different calling, different gifts, different strengths and weaknesses...and that is okay!
Have a support system and know when to ask for and accept help. We want to see ourselves as superwomen and try and do it all ourselves. Society and culture have taught us that strength is in independence... I can do it by myself, I don't need anyone. We see it as a flaw to ask for help or accept it when offered. It is not strength, it is pride. Whether it is calling a prayer partner to pray for you or asking someone to watch the kids for an hour or two so you can get away or saying yes when someone comes to visit and offers to wash your dishes... learn how to ask for and accept help.
Motherhood is the toughest job I have ever had, it is a high calling and thankfully one I don't have to do alone and neither do you. If you are frazzled, stressed out, not enjoying the journey call on God to restore and sustain your joy. He is faithful to answer.