It has been 1529 days since I became a stay at home mom. Full transparency: I feel like a prisoner many days. I wanted nothing more than to be home with my fat little 5 month old, who was so sweet and so precious. I had no clue how taxing my new role was going to be. I recall vividly standing in the shower (a rare treat in those days) and realizing that I had nearly every bodily fluid on me at that moment and being too exhausted to be grossed out.
A little over a year later we added baby #2 and things actually got hard. I stopped sleeping almost entirely. My oldest hated me for birthing her sister, and wouldn’t come near me for weeks. My little cried INCESSANTLY. I was frazzled, exhausted, and depressed. I hadn’t created anything in months, and my artist’s heart felt like it was shriveling into a forgotten raisin between the couch cushions. I was a hot mess, and well, any mom knows what I’m talking about.
It’s been nearly 5 years since I started my motherhood journey. I’ve been at the summit of joy and fulfillment watching my girls grow and thrive. I’ve never been more satisfied in my calling to parent. However, I’ve been in the dankest, deepest pits of exhaustion and frustration, reduced to tears by a 4 year old in a matter of seconds. I’ve dealt with anxiety and sensory issues most of my life, but after the birth of my second and a bout with PPD, it ballooned into a huge, chronic issue I have to navigate every day. Noise, smell, touch, and visual stimuli are all things that can send me tail-spinning into an angry, cornered badger in mere minutes. Add that to two very strong willed and highly intelligent toddlers and you have a perfect storm for a short-fused, frustrated mom.
Dear reader, I want you to know that I fully understand the depravity of guilt and shame. I’m so flawed in my ability to parent the way my girls deserve to be parented, but I am not disqualified. I’m exactly where God would have me be. I struggled for years with infertility and believing that all that heartache would make me such a joy-filled mother when I finally got to keep a baby. What a shock to find that my experiences didn’t make motherhood any easier. I used the busyness of rearing little people to excuse my need to go to Christ daily to sustain me and my fragile sanity. I let exhaustion get in the way of the only strength I had to cling to, and it has wreaked havoc on my faith and my motherhood. I became shallow and cynical and vapid.
In the last few months, I have resolved to stop making excuses. My girls need the mama that Jesus can help me be, not the mama I’ve been on my own strength. Bible study is HARD with little people. The only way I make it work is to give my kids breakfast and cartoons and hide in my room, and yes, I get interrupted… a LOT. Yes, I usually emerge from my haven of blessed silence to some small disaster in the rest of the house. But you know what? It’s OK. I just spent half an hour with the God who can swallow the very stars, and he is the gracious God of the humble things. He didn’t invite the world powers to his son’s birthday party, he invited to lowliest (and smelliest) members of society. He invites me to be with him. ME with my hair standing on end, morning breath, sleep-crusted eyes, before-coffee, kinda grouchy self. He has met me there every morning. It gets a little easier every day to meet with God, and every day I find myself longing for more time with him. So, I invite him to fold the laundry with me. I stand in the laundry room folding the same little socks for the 6000th time, and listen to a podcast or just pray.
Please, hear that I am not special, not more holy, and by no means have my life together. I want to encourage you that you CAN spend time with Jesus even in the midst of raising little people, or whatever hard thing you are called to right now. He sees the mess of your life and desperately loves you despite your mess. He DESIRES to spend time with you. Here are a few of my favorite resources.
The IF: app is the best Bible Study app! It offers theologically sound studies that are based in scripture and simple to understand but filled with really hearty truths that will challenge seasoned believers. I’m currently going through the “Enjoying Jesus” study. The app is free, but they offer beautifully printed books of their studies if you prefer having something tangible to work from. Men, IF:gathering was designed for women, but the studies are rock solid truths for men as well, I’ve never felt the devotional material was designed for women. Check it out!
The Journey Women Podcast is a new discovery, and I am IN LOVE! 1 hour podcasts for women talking about many different interests/issues and how they relate to our faith and the gospel. I’ve only listened to 2 and already love them. Hunter Beless is the host, and I must say she is pioneering a valuable ministry for women. You can catch her on Instagram: @journeywomenpodcast
YouVersion Bible App is my go to for the really fast paced days when all I can manage to squeeze in is reading the verse of the day (which pops up on my lock screen) before I look at my phone.
*I’m not affiliated with any of the resources mentioned above.