I began writing this post in late January. For reasons which you will understand through the post, I have been absent from this space for several months. I can hardly remember writing it, but it seemed fit to return with this post. I found it in my drafts this week, and the words came to finish it. Even though it was difficult to revisit these days as I wrote, I have prayed it brings the praise to God which my heart longs to share.
We’re snowed in on this frosted Sunday, and my mind keeps racing back to the last time I stayed home from church on a Sunday. A couple of the children were sick, you know, the little guys that don’t cover their mouth when they cough. Although it was prudent to keep them home from church, the worst part was that the baby was sick too. I can’t remember having a sick baby this tiny before, and his cough was bad. Even though I’d taken him to the doctor a couple days before, hearing clear lungs and nothing to worry about didn’t calm this mama’s heart. Making things worse, I had been dealing with an awful sinus infection for almost three weeks.
The pressure was aggravated by having extra people in our home since everyone is a bit out of sorts. My parents were here visiting us for a couple of weeks, and they all went to church together. As soon as my dad walked in, he cheerfully (clearly his soul and body had been refreshed by worshiping) asked how the morning had been. I about lost it. Seriously! He wants to know?! “Wiping noses again and again, pumped twice, changed three diapers, bathed the baby, dressed the toddler, made beds, ran the laundry, rubbed eucalyptus on their chests several times, gave them cough syrup.” And I stopped.
The more I was rattling off the stresses of the morning, the more my anxiety grew. Right then Nathan walked in and immediately knew I was a mess. “We’ve just walked in, and you’re in a terrible mood.” All the sickness, all the messes I can’t get to –everything is getting to me. I knew what it felt like, so I excused my behavior and said it was anxiety. I thought I was being very brave to call it by name, but Nathan reminded me “It’s still wrong.”
Since the birth of our eighth child, it has been a stretching season. From experiencing a colic baby for more than three months, to not training to sleep very well, to nursing difficulties, I have felt challenged like I haven’t experienced before with our previous babies. It’s been a constant journey of laying my burdens down before the Lord, seeking His wisdom, and crying out for help. How easily I succumbed to the lie that this is too much for me! I wanted to wallow in defeat.
Living in a state of feeling overwhelmed means I lose sight of joy, and God’s sovereign and good plans for me, and I’m depending on my own strength instead of His. After weeks and perhaps months of feeling overwhelmed, my natural tendency is to become anxious.
Anxiety is deep fear that we can’t keep up with our calling. It becomes too large to bear and too heavy to share, yet God has been bringing deep refreshment to my soul in the last few weeks. He gently continues to calm my anxious heart. The lie that I can’t do it comes from the enemy, but the truth is God did not give me more than He would also supply the grace for me to handle. He will equip me for the calling.
As we allow these verses to dwell in our minds and hearts, let us also pray for each other:
God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:5-7
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10