Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ridiculously Weak

Parenting is the most sanctifying thing I have ever been involved in. It is difficult. I am not good at it. I think I get a few sympathy points for having 3 kids so young, but regardless, I have not yet learned to constantly look to Jesus.

I can't remember what prompted it, probably just the normal things, but this week I yelled at Noa so badly and I knew my intent was to break her spirit and make her understand what a difficult day I was having. My sin was palpable in that moment and I did break her spirit. And then I cried. What kind of a mother does that to their beautiful, tender-hearted, 3 year old daughter? If I were listening to someone else tell the story, I might say, "what a terrible mom. Get a grip." Hmmm. That would be me. I have only started to see the depravity of my heart.

Ruthie is 2 years old. I have to remind myself of that when I expect her to think like an adult. She is not only 2 but has been waking herself up incredibly early and is just not getting enough sleep. It not only makes for very longs days, but super frustrating days. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "if I just didn't have to take care of Ruthie today, life would be so much easier," or "Lord, why did you give me this child? I don't know what to do with her or how to make her behave." And my sweet Ruthie is unloved and uncared for in those moments as my thoughts take me captive and I long for comfort over responsibility. My sin is ever before me.

Lydia is still pretty sweet, for the most part, but as she gets older and especially now as she is mobile, she's requiring more and more supervision. I try and try to manage it on my own, confident in self rather than God. And I think all my plates are spinning and spinning perfectly until one falls and I am reminded of my sin of looking to myself for all the answers. Why do I still think I can do this on my own?

And then there's this new life inside me. Most days I don't feel good. I'm frustrated. I'm tired. I'm hormonal. And I think of all the doctors appointments and all the diabetes stuff that goes along with pregnancy and I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I kind of explain away this child, saying things like, "Yeah. We're so crazy. What were we thinking?" because that would be the culturally acceptable thing to say when you find out you're having a 4th kid in 4 years. People think it is crazy and I collapse under that pressure. Not all the time, but sometimes I look for people's approval rather than thanking God for giving life. Truth is, I can no more make a child grow in my belly than I can stare at the ground and make a plant grow. God gives life. I want to live in that place where I am excited about all that God is bringing to our family and our lives. But sometimes I question Him. I question His plans. Sometimes I don't want to be a part of them. And I am painfully aware of my sin.

So, this week I am feeling ridiculously weak. And today He reminded me that from that place I am miraculously strong. Rather than serving a God who requires me to do everything perfectly to gain acceptance, instead the Word says that His power is perfected in my weakness. If I did not have these kids, I wouldn't need to look to Him so constantly throughout the day. If I wasn't being sanctified and stretched, He wouldn't be a good Father. If I knew how to do it all, I would totally miss Him (and others) in the process. Perhaps then, my glory is my weakness. When I am weak, there He is strong. Miraculously strong. I am ransomed. I am forgiven. I have been set free. I have been redeemed. It is from this place that I will live.

It bothers me when people think the crux of the Christian message is to behave perfectly and think Christians are hypocrites when they don't. And sure, I guess we do fall into that trap from time to time, I mean, who doesn't want to do things better? I do. I'm sure a lot of other people do too. But really, the center of the gospel is that we totally suck. And then, in his love, Jesus came to save us. I don't fault those people for not knowing the "correct" message. Maybe it hasn't been told to them or displayed for them. But, I'm here to tell everyone that I am terrible! I am a frazzled parent, a preoccupied wife, an unavailable friend, and really just a selfish person in general. And Christ still saved me and actually thought I was worth saving! That is the gospel. Only through Him can I hope to change any of these things about me.

Thank you, Lord for making me aware of my sin this week. When I am weak, you are strong and from that place I remember what you did for me on the cross.


Irene Weeks said...

You wrote a painfully honest blog that every mom needs to read. You don't know how much I would have loved, as a young mom, to see in writing that another mom felt the same way that I did. I cried many tears over my failures as a mother and couldn't figure out why it was soooo easy (or seemed to be...) for everyone else yet I was a miserable mess most of the time. Despite, or maybe because of, my failures, my kids have become amazing young kids. I stand in awe sometimes because it is not because of anything I did.
Even with mine getting older, I still see that I will never measure up to those amazing super moms who seem to work, have their kids in every sport and music lesson available and still take cupcakes to school as well as a beautifully wrapped gift for the teacher! I have to pray for God's strength and reminder that they are not who I need to please. I am to please God first and then my first amount of energy needs to be given to my husband and children, even if I never contribute anything except store bought cookies to school events!

The Hardwick Family said...

Jackie, I wish I could hug you through the computer right now! None of us have it all together as wives or mothers. The older I get, the more I know that and see young moms trying to look like they have it all together. Makes me sad. I love an honest wife and mommy. God will use you when you look to Him alone and not yourself. I still have plates spinning everyday but I know God loves this crazy mom even in my mess. I am so thankful he is changing my heart more and more by showing me what it looks like to love. If you LOVE your husband and children and most importantly Him, everything else seems so small. I am so excited for you and am praying for you and this new little one! Please let me know if you ever would like for Peyton to come over and help you for a day. She would absolutely love to bless you and play with the girls. Thanks for sharing your heart, it was convicting.

G-Metal, Coco, Angel Face and Bunny said...

I love transparency, that's one of my favorite things about you!
My favorite mama "mantra" is: motherhood is in the moments.... Which I tell myself all day, to not get so frustrated by the pressures of two very wild boys and all the correction and constant guidance it takes to raise them and now a newborn added to the mix, to not let all of the frustrating parts take away from all of the moments. I think God gave me that thought because I was missing so many moments with them. I know the Lord has you in this ministry, to raise small children so close in age at this season in your life for a purpose to glorify Him and to bless you and your family, and I know He will give you the strength for each day. What you are doing, raising three small children and being pregnant is a very hard thing and by looking at your blog and knowing the type of people you are, the girls couldn't have better parents than you. Also, when the one of the boys really makes me crazy, I find peace and strength to carry on knowing that God gave me this child because He knew Gmo and I could raise that specific personality the best, warts and all, and I find the strength to correct and guide even if it's the tenth time that day. I'll be praying for you, spevifically my prayer for you, is that God helps you find those moments every day that help you get thru all the hard and trying moments. Hugs!!

Kevin & Jacki Smith said...

Jackie- You INSPIRE ME! I just cried reading that blog post. While my babies arent as close as yours I still find myself feeling most of the feelings you have been feeling. Thank you for sharing your heart and please know that reading your blog continues to inspire me to be a better wife, mother and friend. Thank you. Congratulations on your new blessing! Jacki Smith

Rebekah said...

Wow, it was so encouraging to read about your struggles...that sounds weird. I mean your honesty made me feel at home because I can definitely camp out on days like that and it does feel horrible at the end of the day. It's so amazing how God uses our children to bring us to our knees and humble us. I have days where all I can say is thank God there is grace and other days I wonder if he has any left for me. It's precious how our children always have enough grace for us. Anyways thanks for your heart and your wisdom.

Four Little Munchkins said...


I haven't visited your blog for quite some time. But tonight my three year old is crying (again) and wants me to lay with her. Reading this, for whatever odd reason, just gave me the strength to do that without getting mad at her. Thank you. And oh, how much I relate to this post.