Hard Isn't Always Bad
Motherhood is Beautiful
Mother’s Day came and went and I wasn’t on social media. I felt like I didn’t get a chance to write my Ode to Motherhood or post a picture of me with my growing children! Later that week when I checked my newsfeed, it was filled with gorgeous pictures of moms and children, beautiful words and touching commentary. My mind filled with words I wanted to spill forth and add to the conversation. So often social media posts are filled with the drudgery of motherhood, it was refreshing to see the joy and beauty noted. As I thought of what to add to the conversation, the words that tumbled forth filled more than an appropriate space for a “status update.” I went on to contemplate and consider motherhood: It has been something swirling in my mind these past weeks and frequently reflected upon.
This Mother’s Day (2016) I found myself with my hands, my heart and my womb full. I have a six year old, a three year old, an 18 month old (who only recently came into our family 8 months ago) and one in the womb at 35 week old (still growing and anticipating arrival in June!). In so many ways the past 8 months have truly been some of the hardest, most exhausting, difficult, challenging and stretching days of my life. Dealing with morning sickness and a newly adopted struggling baby, beginning our first official year homeschooling, living overseas in a transient and ever-changing community with family thousands of miles away, and navigating the waters of life with a three year old again (yikes! 3! Why do people talk about year 2 being so hard?!). The jump from two kids to three has felt like a big leap and many nights find me falling into bed at 7pm, completely exhausted and wondering how I will have energy to do it again tomorrow (or with an infant in tow!).
YET. In so many ways, the past 8 months have been some of the most satisfying, joy-filled, contentment-rich days I have experienced in my life.
I’ve been thinking on this stark contrast often in the past months. In reflecting on the irony of how both can so easily co-exist, it’s led me to decide that hard doesn’t always need to mean bad.
Hard doesn’t always mean bad.
Is hard fun? Not usually. Easy? Not at all. Worthwhile? Usually, yes.
John Piper puts it this way:
“I have never heard anyone say, ‘The really deep lessons of my life have come through times of ease and comfort.” But I have heard strong saints say, “Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deep with him, has come through suffering.’”
In the same article he goes on to say, “Here’s another example: “Although he was a son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). The same book said he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).
So learning obedience does not mean switching from disobedience to obedience. It means growing deeper and deeper with God in the experience of obedience. It means experiencing depths of yieldedness to God that would not have been otherwise demanded. This is what came through suffering. No pain, no gain.
Or, as Charles Spurgeon says: “They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.””
Although I would never describe motherhood as “affliction” or “suffering”, I do think parallels can be drawn from the above quotes – especially in times of difficulty, exhaustion, weariness or growth as a mom.
I love the word “yieldedness” that is used. As a mom, I think “yielding” to what the Lord is teaching us and growing in us through motherhood and the resulting sanctification that comes through our circumstances and “hardships” often brings some of the most astounding growth and maturity in our lives and draws us ultimately closer to the Lord. If we will choose to yield to that which He is doing, instead of running from it, we will experience growth and a sweetness that comes through obedience.
To all my fellow Mama’s out there: choosing to love, serve and invest in this next generation – enjoy your moments, look to Him, yield and find joy: Happy Belated Mother’s Day 2016!