I remember thinking as I trudged through the last few days of what felt like an endless season of chaos, if I can just get through these next few days, it will all be over.
I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I scheduled two surgeries (for myself and my toddler), 6 doctor appointments and 2 major church events (which also included several days of prep work) all within a two and a half week period. Seriously. Talk about Mom brain.
I guess I didn’t foresee I would also be including four days booked solid with movie nights, dinners, lunches and play dates with my sister (and son) who flew in last minute that same week. Nor did I foresee a 3-4 day round of miserable vertigo while she was here and beyond.
And when my 2 1/2 weeks of surgeries, appointments, events, sickness and fun was finally over, and I was about to breathe a giant sigh of relief walking away from the very last doctor appointment with my daughter, I got an unexpected phone call. My other sister was unexpectedly getting induced 5 weeks early and my mom was out of town and she needed me to go stay with her toddler. So after the movie I had scheduled to go to with my dad that afternoon, I went right to her house and hopped between there and the hospital for 3 days, unshowered I might add, with a willing heart, but very tired body. Because on top of all the crazy, my family of 6 didn’t go away. Our normal routine didn’t stop. And I was so very tired.
Even as my semi-chaotic calendar came to a halt, I felt powerless to stop the clutter it seemed my life was. Because though my ‘schedule’ might slow down eventually, I still had a family of 6 to care for and life wouldn’t really and truly slow down for a very long time. My ‘free time’ won’t ever really go beyond the occasional hour or two after everyone went to bed. I would always have to wake up the next morning and be the someone everyone needs me to be and do the something that 5 other people need me to do.
How do I do that and still feel joy and peace and strength in the midst of it all?
Several years ago, I remember reading several posts by a friend who was going through a difficult season. The posts included memes and quotes with a consistent theme. “I can do this. I have inner-strength. I got this. You can’t hurt me. I am strong.” And as I was scrolling through my feed each day seeing these posts, God was speaking to me. Because as good as it may feel to be determined to get through something and still be standing, that isn’t really what God intended.
We were never meant to stumble through the hard times, forcing an inner strength to try to prove to the world or prove to ourselves even that we can handle it. We were never meant to cop an attitude with the world in order to get us through the junk. We were never meant to muster up all the determination we could just to make it through a difficult season.
What we were meant to do is to rely on God’s grace and strength. We all know the verse. When Paul was going through ‘one of those seasons, he told the Lord he wanted out. God told him, you can do this. Not because of your own strength. But because ‘MY grace is sufficient for you, MY strength is made perfect in your weakness.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9) So then Paul went on to say, not that he rallied up all his own inner strength and persistence, but instead that He gloried in his weakness. Why? Because when Paul recognized he couldn’t do this by himself, he was able to rely on God’s power already resting on him and working through him.
Mamas, when you hit that season of chaos or when life feels overwhelming, remember who lives in you. The Greater One. You weren’t meant to win, accomplish, or beat any circumstance with all your own willpower and grit.
Let God be who He is and let God do what he does and be strong through you. It’s when we try so hard to get all the things done by ourselves that we shut him out. And it’s really a lose, lose. Because not only can we not really do it without Him, but we overwhelm ourselves trying.
We need rather to give all the glory to Him for what He is doing in us and through us and less glory to ourselves for ‘making it through.’