Monday, April 11, 2016

Fight or Flight // A Devotional

There are so many days that I feel like I’m drowning. Whether the laundry is overflowing, my work is begging for some attention, my house is dirty or my kids are fighting, I so often feel like I have nothing to offer anyone and I let bitterness take over. It's embarrassing, y'all, but the struggle is real... certain days more than others.

A few months after Brady was born, I found myself in Florida on a family vacation with my parents {and my husband}. Jeff was still in law school so he had to fly there and I was able to drive with the rest of my family. I vividly remember my mom took Brady back to the condo for his nap one afternoon, letting me sit on the beach by myself for an hour or so. Silent tears started gently falling down my cheek, followed by the not so silent tears. I finally realized what was happening in my heart : I was mourning the life I once had. Mourning time on the beach with a good book and a fancy umbrella drink. I wasn’t able to be fully present with my son because I was longing for something else.

I am so glad that God gave me that realization that day, and the strength to move forward despite all of the tough parts of being a new mom, but the truth is that I still struggle with longing for something else. Despite my deep love of motherhood, some days - if we're keeping it real - I actually don't love it.

I have noticed that when it comes to the hard days in motherhood, I often have a Fight or Flight mentality, and most of the time my response is flight. So what I want to ask you today is this: Do you ever feel like you want out, too? Do you ever feel lonely in your stage of life or wonder if you’ll ever get a breather? Do you find yourself wondering if anyone sees you, because there certainly doesn’t seem to be any tangible fruit coming from your labor?

When I find myself asking these questions, I try to intentionally stop and take a deep breath.  When I do, I tend to feel a deep sense of peace and am reminded that even if no one else does, He sees me. He sees you. He sees it all.

God has a plan, even in this season of crazy. Even in the midst of the laundry, the carpool, the refereeing, the making lunches and getting up at the crack of dawn to get a bit of peace + quiet. He sees you. Even in the trenches of changing diapers, middle of the night feedings, wiping noses and giving baths, He sees you. It might feel - well, it does feel - redunant and less than meaningful, but praise the Lord that He can take all of these things and work them for His good, right?

I don't know about you, but I can't stand it when women who are a season or two out of my current stage of life stop me in the store and say “this will go by so fast, cherish it” or something along those lines. It always seems to happen when one (or two) of my kids are throwing a temper tantrum of some kind. I am often tempted to turn around and say, “YOU cherish it!”

But the sad fact is that it does go by so fast. That old saying is true, the days are long and the years are short. I’ve seen that already, as B turned eight last week! And as difficult as some days are, when I dig down deep, I honestly don't want to miss a thing! But even more than that, I don't want to be miserable for any of it either.

Do you find yourself wanting to flee on the hard days too? Do you find yourself making an escape plan even before the day starts out some times? I type that with a smile on my face, because I know the answer. YES! We've all been there!

As I dig really deep - besides the postpartum stuff I dealt with after my first child was born - the root of my desire to flee almost every time is selfishness.

Ugh. I hate selfishness, don't you?

God has graciously given me these quick years with my children, yet here I am dwelling on the fact that I work so hard and I deserve a break.

The reality is I don’t deserve anything. Especially grace. And the hole that motherhood has created in my heart is really the hole that sin nature created in us from the beginning. The fact that I see a reflection of my ugly self in my kids every single day is just a reminder that I need Jesus, Jesus and more Jesus. On the hard days when I see their selfishness, instead of taking time to pray for wisdom, I’d rather turn a blind eye - tell them they’re wrong, of course - and not really deal with the same sin in my own life. 

Being a mother is what He has chosen for you to do right now, today. That is your purpose, sweet sister. It is the ugliest, most devaluing, most humbling, and hardest purpose that you could have here on this earth, and it’s yours. He’s given it to you. There’s no ‘where are you taking me’ question here.

Trust God’s love to fill you, my sweet friend. Trust that He will guide you and direct your path today. Trust that the feeling of wanting to pull your hair out will subside and He will continue to give us the grace needed for today. He has you in this role at this time for His purpose. We are only here for a short while - not only in this season but on this earth and in this life. It’s so short.

We will not do it perfectly. We will mess up and fail miserably. We will holler and say things we shouldn’t and want to run away over and over again. But instead of running away, we can choose today to fall on our knees and ask Him to enter into that desire to flee. Ask Him to fill that hole that is buried so deep in our hearts when we can feel like there’s no way out. Beg Him for grace today and I have a feeling that He just might give it to us - but you must to remain here, in the moment, to find it.

"Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9

“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept; I awoke for the Lord sustains me.” Psalm 3:3-5

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to then throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15,16

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