This morning I texted my friend the following: I was up til after 3am because my bug tie has an ingrown toenail! Wow. I have never experienced pain like that before… A few seconds later she wrote back: What!? What’s a bug tie? Worse than childbirth? I laughed and laughed. Silly auto-correct. I meant to say “big toe”. A few days ago my big toe started to hurt a little bit. Soon it escalated into a big pain. So big it became a bug tie. Believe me, you never want to experience a bug tie. They’re the worst.
Besides all the excitement of soaking my feet (sounds so fancy, I know), life marches on. I’m tired. I bent over at least a thousand times this weekend alone. I can’t remember if I shaved both armpits or just one side this morning. I can’t remember if I even took a shower. I know I forgot to eat lunch. Every time I went to the bathroom today someone needed me. I keep forgetting to buy toilet paper. We have three squares left and only a few tissues left in this entire house. I think my kids ate ice-cream for lunch. I never made my bed. I forgot to dry the laundry. I remembered how I forgot to put something important in the mail. I know I’m not alone. This is for all you tired women and mamas out there.
When life feels like it’s marching over you like a herd of elephants bent on crushing you to your core, He sees. When the last ounce of energy was used up tucking that last baby in and another one asks for a drink of water, He sees. When you sit on the bathroom floor and scrub the mysterious brown streaks off the wall, that you would like to believe are from muddy shoes, He sees. When you feel like a laundromat, conductor, referee, dictionary, and Cinderella, all in the same moment, He sees. When your words seem to fly back into your face like a boomerang, He sees. When you sneak into that one secret spot and hug the three tissues left to your name, He sees.
Motherhood isn’t about getting a gold star because you did everything right. It isn’t about being noticed or praised or looking good. It’s about loving and loving some more, and when you don’t think you can, you love even more. It’s a no-pay job with eternal dividends. It’s exhausting and frightening and rewarding and exhilarating. No two days are alike, which is why we’re so flexible and resilient and oftentimes reduced to a puddle of tears, clinging to the edge of our sanity alongside that tissue. We’re tired, I know. But please, don’t grow weary of doing good. God’s Word says in the right time we will reap a harvest if we don’t lose heart. If we don’t loosen our grip on the courage it takes to keep on keeping on. It’s a process, this growing weary. It usually begins when we think we got this mama thing under our belt and need a little humbling. But mostly we become weary when we take our eyes off Jesus, who is the only One capable of infusing our war-weary bodies with supernatural strength and stamina. Giving up is a choice. The enemy wants you to give up, give in, and crumple under the load. Jesus wants you to keep your eyes focused on Him, not your surroundings, and let Him sustain you.
As women, I think we tend to fall into two big traps. The “I’m-not-good-enough” trap and the “I’m-not-as-good-as-her” trap. The second we entertain those thoughts, the enemy pounces in with a volley of lies. Those arrows sting and are deadly if we don’t counter-attack with the sword of truth: God’s word. And the truth is: You are perfect in Christ. You are not like her because God needs you to be who He made you to be. The truth is what sets us free to be who we are created to be.
So, those clean counter-tops you wish you had do not define who you are. You are a beautiful woman with a glorious gift of music. The issue you have with speaking your mind does not define who you are. You are a woman whose heart is so generous, you don’t even realize you’re giving. The hidden clutter doesn’t define who you are. You are a true friend who sees a need and meets it without being asked. Your hoard of shoes, or clothes, or cars, or cookbooks are not what make you amazing. Your ability to welcome people into your home at any time, and always speak well of others is what makes you amazing. Your inability to carry a child within your own body does not make you any less of a woman. You have the uncanny ability to create beauty and inspire others to do the same. Your heart is no less able to love and sacrifice just because you never birthed a child. Your unborn babies do not make you a failure as a mother. Your heart is so much fuller because it loves someone no one else has known. Mothers, women, you are so perfectly custom-made by the same God who created the stars and flowers and every grain of sand. He makes no mistakes. Stop believing you are not enough. Stop believing He messed up when He made you. Don’t stop believing you are exactly what He was going for when He began to fashion you in your mother’s womb. He sings over you, He cherishes you, and He never condemns you. Start and never stop believing that truth.