Navigating The Dark Days of Motherhood

By Sabrina Schlesinger

Navigating the Dark Days of Motherhood.jpg

Our social media feeds may look like strawberry lemonade flows from our faucets and Ghirardelli chocolate (the caramel filled ones) rains from the skies, but we ALL know that when you are a mom…or simply a woman…there a bad days, weeks, months…and sometimes years.

I call these the dark days of motherhood. (Cue the lightening and thunder!)

Dark days might look like a colicky baby, a death in the family, a lost job, or a dying dream. It may look like a broken friendship, a location move where you know no one and family is far away, a sick child, or deployment. It might be postpartum depression, divorce, or an empty nest. Dark days can come unexpectedly and some we can see coming from a mile away. Sometimes dark days have no explanation; we are just in the thick of it with no rhyme or reason.

If you are a mom, or a woman, or a human…here are three things you can do to help you navigate the dark days and get the most out of them.

1.    Don’t move.

You heard me…stay still. Our gut reaction will be to jet out of there, to turn on the lights, open the shades and let the sunshine in! We do this by avoiding the darkness. This can look like so many things,  so it’s hard to pin point what it might be for you. But for me, this can look like turning on the TV and getting lost in a Netflix series, or playing a game on my phone. For others it could look like taking that pill or drinking that drink to numb the season you are in. For some it can be filling up your schedule with activities and business so you never have to sit still and face the darkness.

Psalm 46:1-3, 10 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

What do you do? What is your default reaction when darkness is closing in on you? Rather than escape the hard seasons, learn how to remain still within them and quiet your soul so you can hear the secrets that God wants to speak to you.

I promise, as difficult as it is to remain, the whispers from Heaven will be worth it.

2.    Wait for further instructions.

Imagine you are in a store filled with fine china and all of the lights go out. You could panic and run, all the while breaking everything in your path…or you can stop where you are at and wait for further instructions.

Now imagine someone is there with you who has on night vision goggles. They tell you that if you will trust them and follow their instructions, they can get you out of there. If I were you, the smart thing to do is to trust the voice of the one who can see and do exactly what they tell you.

That is exactly what happens to you and I when difficult seasons come upon us. The lights go out and we either panic, causing destruction to all of those who are around us, or we hunker down and refuse to move, too scared to takes steps of faith because we cannot see the outcome.

Isaiah 30:21 says, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ’This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct[a] your paths.”

What do you do when you cannot see? How do you respond when there seems to be no answers or no hope?

In the midst of the storm, the best decisions we can make is to remain still, listen for instructions, and obey.

Obedience isn’t always easy, but obedience is always blessed.

3.    Dig for treasure.

Embrace the season you are in. Hug it tight and squeeze every last drop out of it.

I have now made it a habit to say to God, “Don’t let me leave this season until I have learned all I am supposed to learn.” In the cold, dark, lonely seasons, this is hard to pray, because my flesh wants to wiggle itself out of it as quickly as possible. Then I remember this scripture that has brought calm and stillness to me.

Isaiah 45:3 says, “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”

I have come to discover there are priceless treasures, jewels and gifts that I can ONLY receive in the darkness. They are not available on the mountain top experiences of life. So if I beeline out of the dark seasons because it is awkward, lonely or difficult, what precious gems did I miss out on?

I can honestly say these dark moments of life have defined who I am today. When I think about the biggest lessons I have learned, the greatest character building times, and the sweetest moments I have had with Jesus, all of these point back to the difficult seasons. Had I maneuvered my way out of it (which we all can do), I would not be who I am today.

God loves us so much that even when we squirm our way out of that storm and miss out on the treasures He so deeply wants to give us, He will allow us to get into another pickle so we have another opportunity to uncover His hidden treasures.

I don’t know about you, but for me, I want to learn my lesson THE FIRST TIME so I can move on to bigger and better things. I don’t want to spend my life circling the same mountain while never moving upward. I don’t want to keep repeating the same paragraph, I want to finish the chapter and move on to new adventures.

So if the scenery of your life looks the same year in and year out, you may want to ask yourself some tough questions and start searching for the riches you keep missing out on.

Love + Blessings,
Sabrina


MomMentorProfilePic.png

Sabrina is a mother to three girls and one boy. She is a also a pastors wife, freelance graphic designer and mom coach! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-&-cheese over vegetables and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!


1 Comment

Sabrina Schlesinger

I am officially middle-aged! I have gone up the hill and am now SLOWLY going down the other side.

I am married to my best friend! No really! Our first 10 months of dating were spent entirely in group settings, either working along side each other in ministry or at our families homes. We never had alone time. We never held hands. We never kissed. So we had a great amount of time to talk and really get to know each other. We read books, received counsel from our pastors, discussed our strengths and weaknesses in front of our parents, and built a foundation of friendship that I am forever grateful for. And let me tell you...when we did have our first kiss 10 months in....there were fireworks baby!!!! We are approaching our 17th anniversary and co-pastor Grace Church in Oceanside, CA. We are living out or dream and calling side by side.

I am a mom of 4. We have three girls and a boy.

When we gave birth to my first girl, Sophie (now 16), we thought we were amazing parents. She slept through the night, hardly every fussed, was beautiful and easy. First child syndrome...I know.

When I gave birth to Mattie (now 14) nearly two years later everything changed. She was colicky from the start, she had red raspberries on her face that turned BRIGHT RED when she screamed...so that was all the time, and as she grew, it didn't get any better. I seriously thought at one point she was demon possessed because her outrageous fits where over the top. I could often be found in a fetal position crying when Matthew, my husband came home. Little did I know then that Mattie and her over-the-top fits would be the catalyst for so many future ministry moments with other moms in desperate need of help and advice on raising toddlers...who too were crazy!

We thought we were done. After Mattie I was like, "No way, I can't risk having another kid like that! The only way I will get pregnant again is if God speaks to me directly, and I don't think He is planning that." Welp....I was wrong. I heard God speak to me one night as I was at a conference that we were to have a third child and He spoke some very special promises to me about this child. So out popped Lillian (aka Lily - now 11).

Lily wass one of those babies that everyone gravitated too. She had and still does have a spirit about her that is so welcoming, loving, and kind. People just love her and she loves people. I am so glad I obeyed the Lord on this one. After Lily we felt done. This time Matthew said, "If we are supposed to have any more children, God is going to have to speak to me directly." Fast forward 9 years!

In August of 2016 we were on a much needed family vacation, the five of us. It was at this time that God whispered in the ear of my husband that we were to adopt a child from our county. Matthew told me what God said and of course, I said, "Let's do it!" I will write another post about our adoption story later, but November 1st, 2017, at age 4 1/2, Shawn (now 6) came into our home and became our son.

I am a freelance graphic designer by trade and a pastor by calling, but I felt like there was something more I should be doing. Recently I asked myself a question..."What brings me life?" It was easy for me to answer. I LOVE helping young moms navigate through motherhood. I love giving advice to help moms get through tough and trying seasons of life. There is a generation of moms out there who have broken relationships with their own mothers and feel like they have no one to turn to. That breaks my heart. No mom should have to go through life alone with nobody to lean on. And this is where Mom Mentor was birthed.

So that is me in a nutshell. I am pretty simple, not high maintenance, a lover of mac-and-cheese and chai lattes, and slightly obsessed with all things dystopian. I am glad to have met you and I look forward to our journey together!

Love & Blessings,

Sabrina