Having three young children is a joy, but it is also difficult. Add to that them being very close in age, moving to a new town, downsizing your home (by about 250 sq. ft.), losing almost all your family help and babysitters to distance, and a husband working 50-80 hours each week, and you have a recipe for a very stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed mama. I
almost became that mother. I let The Enemy tear me down. For months. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was very, very ugly. I had prayed for this opportunity for my family for years, but the answer God handed us didn’t look anything like the answer I thought we would get. This answer was hard, uncomfortable, and for a long time, lonely. And to be transparent, it still is those things some days.
But, late one night I was standing in the kitchen washing a huge pile of dishes for probably the 4th time that day, staring out the window at the plain little house behind ours with tears streaming down my face. I was wishing I was looking at a rice field with a single tree standing in the distance – my kitchen window view for the past 20 years. I remembered a book I had once read about a mother in a similar tiny home with lots of littles. Basically, she found herself crying over some chore at midnight and started singing praises to God, so I did the same.
“Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name…”
I reminded myself, happy or sad, smooth sailing or difficult trials, God is still worthy of praise and obviously my whining and pity party wasn’t going to help anything. Even through my tears, I recognized my blessings and His worthiness.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
The next morning I felt better than I had in months. I suddenly realized Satan wasn’t winning anymore, but he had been. As long as he kept me feeling lonely and overwhelmed, he was silencing me. I wasn’t telling anyone about the awesome blessings God had given me in my children and how He had taken care of us and blessed our entire family. Rejoicing comes in the morning… when that bright light breaks through the horizon and highlights all those shadows you were staring at in the darkness. Then you see what was making those shadows. Miles separated my husband and I for years, but He made our marriage strong. Then he brought us back together on this new journey. He answered my prayers that our firstborn would have a wonderful bond with my husband, despite the time spent apart. My second son will never remember Daddy not being home all week, and for that I am grateful. Lincoln still asks if Daddy is coming home nearly every day, and it breaks my heart…but that’s a shadow of the amazing bond they share.
There will always be hard days. After all, being Mama to lots of littles isn’t for sissies. 🙂 However, now a few lines from the song Trading My Sorrows always comes to mind when I’m feeling frustrated at washing dishes for the 4th time in the same day, or my ears are ringing from the sound of the dryer echoing off the tile in the kitchen all day, and when I’m really just having a pity party because I don’t have a yard where I can send the rowdy boys out to play.
…I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord…
Singing to my Lord reminds me that every step of my day is a step in which I can worship Him, even if it is through scrubbing dishes or teaching my cooped up wild ones how to do jumping jacks to burn off some energy*. It’s not about me. It’s about me laying down my own discomforts and selfish desires and saying “Yes Lord, I’ll do this now for my family and meet their needs,” or “Yes Lord, I won’t complain. I will be thankful for this situation because I’m truly blessed to be seeing my husband every day.” I’m not alone. He’s by my side. He does care. That’s why I am here. I will look past those shadows to the blessings. And I will continue to tell the world of those blessings.
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:11-12)
God answers our prayers, but not always how we want. They’re still answers though, and that is worth rejoicing over. Maybe even more so than when we get the answers we do want. Those surprises show that we serve an amazing God that sees all and knows all, and chooses to give us what we need instead of what we want, and certainly not what we deserve.
*Am I the only linewife that can’t type energy without accidentally typing Entergy first? :-p