That's Not From Me

There is an old adage that says "write what you know".  In my current season of life, my scope is fairly limited to the tiny humans that I've been charged with raising.  The only thing I truly know is that I'm elbow deep in kids and that the Lord uses them to show their Mama who He is.

We welcomed our fourth child in January and our family has been transitioning into our new normal.  My expectations before her arrival were lofty.   We were veteran parents, after all - seasoned in the ways of childrearing!  I had seen it all and so far, had lived to tell the tale. For some reason, I expected that life couldn't change all that much.  I figured this little one would just fall in step with our already busy life of work, school, sports, activities, etc.  We already had three kids - what's one more?  Expectations can be tricky.

With much joy we met our precious daughter and our hearts grew even bigger.  I knew there would be instant love and she is the perfect addition to our family. What I didn't expect was the overwhelming fear, doubt and unrelenting feeling that came along as our family grew this time around.  As the dust settled, I began to have the sinking feeling that I just wasn't cutting it…at parenting, at friendships, at life.  Nothing was clicking.  It was not long after that I started believing that I was utterly unprepared for the task at hand.

Then I would hear, "That's not from Me".

I did the math.  My children would only receive a quarter of their mother's attention.  How horrible!  Throw my husband in there and at any given time, someone would always be ignored.

Then I would hear, "That's not from Me".

Every time a Kindergarten reading log went unsigned or a permission slip was forgotten, I felt it. Then there was the morning one kid told me in the car, "No one gave me breakfast".  I felt that twinge of guilt and a voice telling me I just wasn't cut out for this.

Then I would hear, "That's not from Me".

There is a ten year age gap in our oldest and youngest.  I'll never forget the moment that I realized that I would be simultaneously handling potty training and puberty .  What were we thinking?  I was bound to mess these up.

Then I would hear, "That's not from Me".

When I would finally lay down in bed after a full day, my thoughts would race, "Did I even hug child #2 today?".

Then I would hear, "That's not from Me."

Time and time again, my Jesus was refuting the lies that were seeping in.  He was there during the bleary-eyed middle of the night feedings and when my daughter stomped her foot and slammed a door.  He fought
for me when I felt like I was failing at this mothering gig.  His voice was reminding me of His strength and confidence and that those other thoughts were simply lies meant to defeat.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never
leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 3:10 NIV

Satan is so crafty.  His lies align so closely to what I perceive as reality.  I'm often so quick to buy into those feelings of inadequacy that there is little room for the truth.  But then the Lord faithfully reminds me that guilt and shame are not from Him.   God was giving me back the joy that those lies were stealing.  I have been given this family and He will equip me with everything I would need to care for them - even when it doesn't feel like I'm enough.  His grace is sufficient.

Earlier this week, my husband was working out of town. That evening the kids and I piled on the couch.  I read Dr. Seuss to one child while nursing the baby. All the while, I'm holding the hand of another child because, in her words, "life is feeling hard" and the oldest is studying for a test and needing me to quiz her.  Instead of giving in
to the guilt of feeling overwhelmed, over-touched and spread thin, I silently thanked the Lord for the opportunity to be loved on by these little ones who won't be little forever. He will go before me and will be with me.  He has given me the blessing of being needed as much as I am.  To listen to their stories and to clean up their crumbs. To train them and to teach them.  I pray that I'm able to listen to His truth even when the lies seem loud.

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my
hope is in you all day long."  Psalm 25:5