Over the past few months, the Holy Spirit really convicted me about my spirit of defense. I frequently felt the need to deflect, deny, or defend, instead of trying to listen with an open heart or empathize with someone’s pain. So many times, I rolled my eyes at something on social media, only to feel a tug in my spirit: Your experiences do not negate someone else’s. So I finally sat down and spent some time in prayer.
This morning was chaotic. We were late for church, and I was trying to get my daughter’s messy hair into a quick braid. As I combed through one of her tangles, she tensed up and yelled, “Ow, ow, ow!” I quickly kissed her head and said, “You’re fine,” as I rushed out the door to finish getting ready. She followed me out and tugged on my dress. As I turned around, my 3-year-old looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “No, I’m not fine. It hurts.”
I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and came across a post talking about abortion. It encouraged people who consider themselves pro-life to show grace to mothers who did choose life, but didn’t do it in a conventional way: the teenage girl who dropped out of high school to have her baby, the married woman who gave her baby up for adoption, the unmarried woman who had a baby with her boyfriend, or the woman using food stamps at the grocery store to support her five children. The writer shared that all of them chose life, yet still get judged by the people who claim to be pro-life because they have a non-traditional lifestyle.
I watch you glance at the clock. Because for now, life runs on time. And your days just don’t seem to have enough. It’s time for a bath and bed, and it’s okay when you feel guilty that you’re glad. I give you just enough energy to make it through the splashes and tantrums. And I hear every word you softly sing over her. I am already answering those prayers for her. Mama, you just wait to see what I do in her life.
Your to-do list is almost complete. And even after all of that, you still come meet me on the couch. I understand that you can barely hold your eyes open, but Mama, my Truth is just the refreshment you need. My Word is the energy you need to love hard tomorrow. And all I need you to do it open it. I’ll do the rest. And I’ll give you rest.
You did more Kingdom work today than you will ever know, sweet Mama.
And you will never know how proud I am of you.
—“Dear Working Mama” by Jessica Satterfield (excerpt)
Three years ago, as a brand new mom in the throes of postpartum depression, I gulped these words down like they were water for my parched soul. Over and over again, I would go back and forth between these words and His Word. My whole life I had been an over-achiever, and it was devastating to not live up to my own expectations.
I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Mexico with Operation Christmas Child. I had the opportunity to visit with several local pastors and lead a team of staff members as we all got to experience the joy of thousands of children hearing the Gospel for the very first time.
One of my favorite things about being a mom is how God uses parenting moments to give me better insight into His relationship with me.
This past week, my husband and I celebrated our daughter’s third birthday. After he picked her up from preschool, she came barreling in the door asking for a “birthday lollipop.” I told her no because we had plans to surprise her with a trip to an ice cream shop that had 20 flavors and 50 toppings to choose from. She immediately burst into tears, devastated that we wouldn’t let her have a lollipop. As she melted into the floor, accusing us of hurting her feelings, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “If you only knew what we have planned for you!”
“Jesus may have said man shall not live by bread alone, but He said nothing about moms living by caffeine alone,” I joked to my husband while sucking down my second cup of coffee after a hectic morning. Icy roads, school delays, and blow-out diapers had not set us off on the right foot. I was frustrated because I was going to be late to work (again), but in the midst of the craziness, I felt a gentle prompting in my spirit to meditate on Nehemiah 8:10:
For the joy of the Lord is your strength.