What if motherhood is not the problem?

Every mom feels tired, defeated, ornery, overwhelmed, or depressed at some point or another.

I have too.

For years, I linked my negative emotions to the demands of motherhood since I had never really felt quite so stressed and irritable until my kids were born.

But now that my children are grown, why do I feel the same emotions I felt when I had a house full of babies? Maybe it’s because motherhood is not my problem.

Maybe it’s because I am human, capable of sinning in all kinds of situations, not just when a toddler spills milk or walks too slow.

Maybe it’s because I am prone to be overly ambitious, committing myself to more than my mind and body can manage.

Maybe the daily guilt I felt was the same self-imposed perfectionism that plagues me still.

Maybe my sadness was not just feeling trapped by care giving, but by envy and wanderlust as I watched other women live their lives

Maybe it’s because I didn’t pray enough then and I don’t pray enough now. I’m not talking about “Lord, please bless my plans,” kind of praying. I have done that every day for 35 years. I’m talking about, “Lord, please give me strength and humility to accept YOUR plans for this day, including the chaos, confusion, and hurt that comes with living in a broken body and a broken world.”

Now that I am 55, I am more familiar with my personal weaknesses than I was when I was a 20-year old new mother. With age comes the mellowing effect of wisdom and the understanding that motherhood – like work and marriage – exposes weaknesses that have nothing to do with kids, and everything to do with our need for God.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Romans 7.21-25 (MSG)

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