By Jaclyn Weidner
Motherhood is a really big deal. And I didn’t like it very much.
I think a lot of us have ended up here. This place where life seems to happen to you. Where somehow along the way you lost who you are or who you wanted to be. We wanted these kids right? Are we supposed to do something with them now that they’re here or just keep them alive until they graduate? I wasn’t sure I even had the capacity or desire to find the answers to these questions. Some days I lived my life in a fog, gathering up enough energy to survive from one activity to the next.
I had wanted these kids but most days they drove me bonkers and I counted down the hours (sometimes minutes) until bedtime. On my worst days it was the minutes until my husband was home and I could tag out, hide behind a locked door in my bedroom, and spend a few minutes escaping the chaos, noise, and responsibility.
Looking back it is obvious I had bouts of depression and anxiety. I was plagued by fear and overwhelm. But I didn’t know it at the time. I just thought this was called “Motherhood”. I didn’t know there was another way.
Like so many other things in life, I was trying to do this on my own. “If I could just get a little ‘me’ time,” “as soon as I lose that baby weight,” “if I can just get a bit more sleep”. I tried all of those things. Diet, exercise, vacation, girls nights, sleep. Even medication. I could not find the cure for my un-happy motherhood.
The cure instead found me - as He does.
He lifted me up out of my miry pit. He set me on a solid rock. He brought me out into a spacious place. He restored my soul. He traded my garment of heaviness for one of praise. He poured over me the oil of joy.
Only the one who created your soul can fully restore it.
Looking for answers everywhere else is like placing a child’s Disney-themed bandaid over a gaping wound. It may hold for a second but it doesn’t cover everything, and quickly the injury is exposed again. I felt exposed again and again. Raw. My hurt, my bitterness, my anger. Motherhood does that. It exposes you in a way you didn’t even know existed. It brings out the absolute worst in you. Not because you are an awful person but because it is a refining process.
I actually think that is part of God’s design in drawing us to be more like Him. Left to ourselves we can easily become increasingly selfish and inwardly focused. Motherhood forces you to look beyond yourself and care for others even while your own needs are not being met. How often has your dinner gone cold while you fed someone else? Then perhaps another child comes along and eats your remaining portion? I’m not promoting the martyrdom of motherhood or elevating it. I’m also not saying it’s holier to act in such a way. Simply that this is part of the process of motherhood. It is part of the exposure. The rawness. The breaking down.
The beautiful thing about being in a relationship with our creator is that He understands our limitations. He knows our “issues”. He also wants to build us up again, not to be super moms, but to become more like Him. Motherhood strips us bare and breaks us down right to our core. And Jesus is right there to pick up the pieces and make us more like Him.
If. We. Let. Him.
I am not against asking for help when I am desperate. But often I want to be capable. I want to be able to manage things on my own. The same can be true in my relationship with God. Shouldn’t I have this figured out by now? Shouldn’t I be better? Do better? Act better? Should’t I be able to “be” the mother/woman/wife I want to be?
At least not apart from Him.
Whenever I fall into the trap of “striving” I end up in the same place again and again. On my face. I have tried to go at it alone, make some changes, “thrive and not just survive” and I can’t do it. I am often saddened and maybe even embarrassed. But God is not. And He is not shocked when I am back asking Him for His forgiveness and help. He gently asks “what took you so long? I’ve been waiting”. He so badly wants to be our help, our comfort, our provider. How often do we look to every other avenue first.
It is a re-learning. An undoing of itself. Learning to go to Him and trust in Him first and foremost. This is the knee-jerk response He wants from us.
I had to come to the end of myself. To realize I could not come up with the answer or bethe answer for myself or anyone else. He must be my all and my everything. He is the glue that puts all the pieces of my wounded heart back together again.
I heard a speaker recently say it is the crushing of the olives that makes the oil. And the oil is what we want. It is refined. It is expensive. But it has gone through a hard process. That is motherhood to me. It is a hard process but if I lean into the one who made me instead of going at it alone the result is beauty from ashes.
“To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” Isaiah 61:3
Jaclyn is a part-time high school teacher, and full-time mom to 3 energetic and talkative little girls. She loves to dive deep in conversation to get to the good stuff. In the words of her 4 year old she’s “just a little bit funny”. Her and her husband Brendan live just outside of Vancouver, Canada. Check her out on Instagramand Facebook.