The Early Years

We were sitting in a restaurant, enjoying some family time, when a couple with two small children made their way to a booth in the corner. She wore baggy jeans and a big sweatshirt, the outfit of a mommy who has had two children and hasn’t been able to lose the extra weight that comes with carrying a child. She looked tired as she held the hand of her little girl, who was barely walking, while also trying to steer her little boy towards their seat. He wasn’t cooperating, and she was getting frustrated. The husband cluelessly sauntered behind them, not noticing that she needed help.

It was this way through the entire meal. He sat and ate, while she tried to eat and take care of two children. Often throughout the meal, the entire restaurant would hear her yell, “SIT DOWN” at the 3-year-old, who was squirming around in his seat.

As I watched the scenario, I felt compassion for this young woman. I was reminded of how very challenging the years of having small children can be. I remember the frustration of not fitting into my clothes, the fog that settled permanently over me until my kids finally slept through the night, trying to take care of two little ones while accomplishing normal every day tasks (like eating, taking a shower, and … um … going to the bathroom!) and feeling resentment towards my husband at times, as I watched him live his life as he always had, when my life had been so incredibly altered in every way!

During the years of having young children, I had very little help. We didn’t live near either sets of parents, and at the time we went to a church where, unfortunately, there was very little fellowship. With a few exceptions, I was alone much of the time. They were lonely years, but precious years, as God used them for my good and His glory!

Most of the time, I did enjoy being home with my children. I was confident of my calling, and was happy that I was the one putting them down for their naps, making them lunch, and getting to experience all the daily milestones of their growing up. But there were days that I became weary, and lost my focus. These were the years that God allowed me to come to the end of myself, and when I learned how to press in to Him on a deeper level. They were the years that I saw how very self centered I really was. God truly exposed my heart, and helped me see myself.

Becoming a mom did not suddenly cause me to become a needy person. Becoming a mom exposed how very needy I already was!

There is no other time in our lives when we will face having to give of ourselves, like we do when we become a mom. It is the ultimate in self sacrifice. When we are put to the test in this life changing way, we are able to see our hearts to the core of what they truly are. Desperate for God. And if we stop there, we will fall into despair!

Thankfully I did have a few older women, although they were long distance friends, who would regularly whisper in my ear and remind me of my calling and encourage me to cling to God and draw from His strength. Looking back, I am convinced that these friends were long distance on purpose. God wanted me to focus on and depend on Him, not on them. If they had been closer, there is a possibility that my first response would have been to pick up the phone, rather than drop to my knees and ask for strength.

Yes. Those years were hard, but they were precious. God did an incredible work!

•  Those were the years God used to begin creating within me a heart to encourage and serve young moms.

•  Those days when I longed for fellowship, were the days that prompted me to get into the Word and find out what my job as a member of the body of Christ is. I needed fellowship, and it wasn’t happening. Something was missing.

•  They were the years God helped me see what is missing in many churches, and caused me to resolve to do all I can to live out my calling as an older woman, in the local church.

•  Those days spent alone with my children were the days God used to help me get to know my precious children, and help develop the close relationship we have now that they are young adults.

•  And on those mornings that I didn’t think I could get out of bed … and somehow I did! Those were the mornings that God’s strength took over. I was able to live out the calling I had been given, and then I was able to fall into bed that night knowing that God was the one who got me through the day! It was about Him coming to my rescue!

God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves, so that we will cling to Him during the exhausting, demanding, days of having small children. Then, we can never see ourselves, or allow anyone else to see us as “super mom,” but only see God as the all powerful “super hero” God that He is. The One we need in order to accomplish the calling of motherhood.

The One we need to accomplish anything!

 

Have you felt at the end of yourself lately? You aren’t alone. We’ve been there too. Can we pray for each other today?

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27 thoughts on “The Early Years

  1. Gina, very well said. your story reminded me of mine, those lonely exhausting years were just what i needed to learn how much i needed a Savior! i wouldn’t trade them for anything.

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  2. Thank you so much for writing this! My eyes were tearing up near the end. I am the mother of 2 boys; 4 3/4 and 3 1/2 (they’re 15 months apart). I am blessed to be able to stay home with them while my husband goes to work. We’re in the worst financial situation of our lives right now, but God’s got us covered. When my first son was born, my husband and I did not know how to spend our resources wisely and though we both knew who Jesus was, we did not KNOW Him. When I became pregnant with our second son, our marriage had fallen apart. I moved back home 5 months pregnant and with a 10 month old. During the 8 months that my husband and I lived away from each other, I lived with my parents. It was extremely difficult for me as I had no idea what went wrong. I started watching Christian programs with my mom (who was a school bus driver and came home on her breaks to check on me) and both my parents showered me with Christian books to read. I began to learn more about God and myself and what he wanted for my life. I surrendered my marriage to Him and He took care of me. My husband’s journey was terrible as well. He barely made enough money at his job to cover the gas to get there, lived off the popcorn there and lost almost all his friends. He heard a son that cut him to heart and when I finally contacted him again a few months later, he told me he was ready to come home. We discussed a lot of things and God was the common factor in all of it. He was ready to go to church no matter what it took and gave me permission to violently wake him from bed to get there! It was a few more months before he was able to come home and a lot of trust needed to be reestablished, but it happened. Quietly in our bedroom, we exchanged our rings again and prayed over them. This time God was going to be a part of our marriage the way it should have always been. I am happy to share that this is still the case and I do the best I can to raise my children in the love of God. Your blog hit home in my heart.

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    • Thank you for your comment. What a beautiful testimony. I will pray for you as life still challenges us, and it is easy to go on trying to live on our own strength! Boo! to that. Love. Cheri

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  3. I absolutely agree with Gina. The early years with children are so challenging. This reminds me to continue to give God the glory for the things he has done, is doing, and will do when we trust Him.

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  4. You are so right, Gina. The years of raising two very small people can be some of the most challenging a mom can face. I well remember! You essentially have two babies, just at different stages. (By the time the next ones come along, the first one is usually old enough to begin to be of done help-thank goodness!!)
    I remember I used to cling to the verses in Is. 40:11: “The Lord will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will carry the lambs in his arms and gently lead those that are with young.” Some days I just CLUNG to that verse!
    And now I, like you, as an older mom, am trying to lead, encourage and inspire the younger moms I meet, in church and out.

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  5. Gina, thanks for the truthful look into how hard mothering small children can be (and thanks to all the ladies who have commented as well). It is very challenging and I am so glad you didn’t sugar coat. We as women fall into a very dangerous trap of trying to put forth the image that we have it all under control and we can unwittingly make others around us who are having a tough time feel even worse. Thanks for “Keepin’ it Real” and praise God that we don’t do the parenting thing alone!!!

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  6. Thanks for this post about depending on God. Our 6th child was born last week (the oldest is almost 9) and I’m sure I’ll be needing to depend on him even more.

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  7. What a great encouragement. I read this earlier, when it was first posted? But, I purposely came back to it, because again I am feeling like a failure. (I’m at the end of myself). Have a 5 year old, 2 1/2 year old, and now a 1 month old. All boys. All still at home. I love them so much. So privileged to be their mom. Adore my husband. Think he is fabulous. BUT, I am still human, with a sinful nature, selfishness that appears to be unmatched. I feel that despair often. It is totally true that I will stay in that despair if I don’t go to GOD!!!! Thank you for the encouragement.

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  8. I am disabled with severe chronic pain but in the midst of this God blessed me with my son Timmy! Everyday tasks for others are very hard for me but I homeschool my son because I know it is a job God has given me. Recently my husbands niece and 2 year old son moved in with us after a nasty divorce. Even though she is trying to straighten her life out financially to be on her own again, I know God brought her to us for a different and MUCH more important reason. She doesn’t have Jesus in her heart and needs Him desperately! As a follower of Christ I know that is the answer to ALL her problems!! Even though life won’t be perfect she will have the best support she could EVER have in Christ! My prayer is for her to surrender to the call of God and live a victorious life in Christ!! For her sake and her sons.!!! Prayers would be appreciated and definitely necessary for she is in a spiritual warfare battle for her soul!

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  9. Thank you for this, Gina. I have 3 boys and have been home with them the past 1.5 years. I was able to stay home until our third came along and my husband’s income increased. Regardless, I have been struggling with being at home. I don’t feel ‘equipped’ to handle it all. I get overwhelmed and feel invisible. At the end of the day, there is no “good job” from a “boss.” I’ve always craved the external gratification…I don’t get it here. I WANT to be here! I WANT to be with my children. Taking one son to school and picking him up gives me a sense of satisfaction. Knowing that I’m the first one they see in the morning and after school IS gratifying. But nearly every day I feel like I am failing my kids in some way. I feel like I’m lacking something. My heart knows what it is… It is God. I have always been a Christian, but have never fully lived my life for Him. I do not have a church home and feel so very alone here. I want to start reading the Word, to start hearing what God wants me to hear, to start living for Him first, but I have no clue how to start. Does that sound silly? Its the truth. I feel like I don’t know how to go about changing myself. I’ve prayed. But I know my heart needs to be in it more. I am hoping that reading this will help push me to begin relying on Him only.

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    • I am praying for you, right now, that God would lead you to a church that will give you the support you need. You can begin by reading a Provers a day. That has helped me in the past! Just start with SOMETHING…God’s word will touch your heart! Feel free to come visit me at http://www.reallifetitustwo.com, and you can contact me with any other questions! I’d love it!!

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  10. Thank-you for this post. I am living in this time of life right now. 4 children 10 and under, 2 of whom I homeschool, 1 who is potty training, another with special needs. Pastor’s wife and in a church with few faithfully attending young families with children. The Lord brings me to the end of myself every single day and often it is painful. Often I fight it, complain and wish for something else. I know God has brought us to this place for a purpose, removed me from the comforts of my friends and other young moms. It is good to be reminded that we are not alone, that others have gone before us and that God WILL use this dark time to conform us to HIS image and use it for HIS glory. Thank-you!

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  11. Wow… the story of my life, truly every word, every feeling!!!
    Thank you!

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  12. I have 6 Beautiful children an this brought back soooo many memories of myself an my kids when they were little your writing is so true God Bless all the young Mommys dont fret they do grow up to fast so enjoy every min of wat they do lol

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  13. I am struggling keeping my head above water with a 2.5 and a 1 yr old. My daughter does not like to eat, she is a VERY picky eater, meal times are especially stressful. My son wants to be held constantly and cries for no reason constantly. My husband is not gifted in house work or even taking care of kids. Though he tries to help, some times he adds to the mess which creates more work for me. I feel VERY TIRED…. I don’t even get good sleep at night. I am just too exhausted. I love Jesus, He is my Savior but times like these, I don’t know how to even ask Him for help.I don’t know which words to use to tell Him how overwhelmed I feel. I am so tired to even wake up to have my morning devotion. I used to be able to wake up at 5am but now I feel tired. I don’t want to lose my fellowship with Him, I need Him to help me. I don’t want to be depressed, so I constantly encourage myself in Him, though at times it feels as though He is quite. I want to feel Him close to me, I just want Him to hug me, I want to feel HIm….I want to feel like I am not sinking because right now it feels like life is not fun. I need help!!!!!

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  14. Thank you for this! I discovered this website while listening to Christian radio today. As I read this entry and others, tears are streaming down my face. It is comforting to know I’m not the only person who has felt alone, overwhelmed, and/or conflicted about taking on a new role as a parent of a young child. I get so wrapped up in the days where things are tough – toddler doesn’t sleep well, doesn’t eat well, is cranky, husband’s cranky – that it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. And I’m definitely a control-freak, super-mom wanna be who is desperately trying to do it all “right”. It’s overwhelming. I rededicated my life to Christ in February this year, and slowly, I’m learning to rely less on myself and my own abilities and more on asking God for help.

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  15. I am in the thick of raising 3 boys (5,3,1). I have many days like you have mentioned and, in fact, needed to read this very thing today. Thank you for being obedient to the Lord’s call on your life to encourage young moms. It is hard to keep the mindset that when I decrease, He will increase. But I am so thankful for that truth! He is faithful!

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