We took the kids to the Earth Day celebration at Hays Nature Preserve over the weekend and I ran into a momma friend I hadn't seen in awhile. I asked her how she was doing with her two little girls, and she kind of got this overwhelmed look on her face and said, "It's good. But you seem to just have it all together. Motherhood just seems to come so natural and easy to you." I was actually pretty surprised to hear her say that, and my Brian quickly assured her that motherhood was just as hard for me as it was for every other woman out there. He told her the truth- that oftentimes I am pulling my hair out, crying out in desperation and tiredness and stress- just like every other mother on the planet. :)
I don't mean to give the impression that I am never stressed or that I have it all figured out. Of course there are moments when I stress. When I feel overwhelmed. When I question and doubt and second guess everything I'm doing. When I wonder if my kids are going to be awesome grownups or if they will be spending a fortune in counseling and self-help. :)
But I will say that I have been granted an abundance of peace. God has been the Lifter up of my head when I was cast down. He has proven time and time again that when I don't have peace, He, the Prince of Peace, will be peace for me. When I don't have joy, He will be my joy. All I have to do is ask and then depend completely on Him for it. He is faithful. Of His fullness I have received grace upon grace each day (John 1:16).
"In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." -Psalm 94:19
"Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river. . . "-Isaiah 66:12
Here's the thing. I could stress over lots of things right now. Let me give you an actual moment from my day on Tuesday. This is for real, no exaggeration: I was sitting on the porch nursing Bethany and going over math facts with Maggie. (Allie was at SATs). Penelope, Rosemary and Samuel were playing happily on the porch. I heard a goose and looked up to see that some of them were getting close to the house and they were so beautiful to behold! So I said, "Look kids! The geese are so beautiful aren't they?" then I went back to nursing and math facts. Looked up a moment later to see that Rosemary had chased those geese almost all the way to the pond and was dangerously close to the edge. Samuel had followed her and had apparently decided to take his socks and shoes off. He was screaming at the top of his lungs, "Ants! Ants!" Yes, he was standing barefoot in a bed of fire ants. To which he is severely allergic. In an instant, I had Bethany unlatched, Rosemary rescued from the edge of the pond, and Samuel up and out of his pants so I could survey the damage. He had approximately 30 ant bites from the tips of his toes to his diaper area. Amazing how quickly those ants can crawl. He was already swelling up. Bethany was red faced from crying that she wanted Momma again. I walked in to tend to Samuel, only to see Penelope throw up all over the floor. Again, I am not exaggerating. True moment at the Rodgers house. Similar to ones I have experienced before and surely will experience again. Although I was tempted to think, "Help! I am only one person! How can I do all of this???" there was a voice deep inside me reminding me, "I see. I know. I have already given you all that you need for this moment. I am in this moment. Cling to Me and I will give you peace. Rest, my child. Take one step at a time." I know that I know that I know, that God keeps His promises, and His Word says, "As your days, so shall your strength be." (Deuteronomy 33:25) He knows, for instance, that I can't "sleep when the baby sleeps", as people advise mothers of newborns, because I have FIVE OTHER CHILDREN IN THE HOUSE WHO NEED THEIR MOMMA. He knows. He knows how much sleep I am getting and He will supply what I need when I need it. I don't have to try to manipulate it to happen or worry about whether I will have enough. I absolutely will. HE. KNOWS.
I'm reading in the book of Judges right now, and two stories have been constantly on my mind. First, the story of Gideon. The angel of God comes to him and says, "God is with you, mighty warrior!" Gideon felt. . . not at all like a mighty warrior. But God knew that He was going to give Gideon the strength to do what needed to be done. God said in Judges 6:14, "GO in the strength that you have." Gideon's tiny amount of strength was enough. God would fill in the gaps. Second, the story of Deborah. Oh, to be like Deborah. She called Barak and said, "Didn't the Lord command you. . . ?" and later, "Has not the Lord gone out before you?" She fortified the warriors to go out and take the enemy out. I have a couple of versions for Judges 5:2. "Village life ceased until I, Deborah, arose as a MOTHER in Israel!" and "Warriors became fat and sloppy, no fight left in them. Then you, Deborah, got up as a MOTHER in Israel!"
God has called us to arise as mothers, to get up, "Awake, and sing a song!" (5:12) for our husbands, for our children, for our friends, for our neighbors. We have a tremendous task. And the only thing we can do is bring to it the strength that we have (God knows how much or how little that strength is), and ask Him to fill in the gaps. Then believe that He will. We cannot use the excuse that life is just too crazy right now, or this stage in our children's lives is too overwhelming. Is anything too difficult for the Lord? We must say with Nehemiah, "I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down. . . the joy of the Lord is my strength. . . Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses." We CAN be warrior mommas with the help of the Lord. We can get up and do what needs to be done, knowing that HE will give us the strength when we need strength, the joy when we need joy, the peace when we need peace, the grace when we need grace.