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 set 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?
Gina Smith has served alongside her husband at a small Christian college right outside of Washington DC for almost 20 years, where she serves as the Dean of Women. Gina previously dedicated her days to serving her family, but now that her children are both college students she fully enjoys her calling to mentor to women and young women in person and on-line with her blog Keepin’ It Real! Gina has been a mom for 21 years and she and Brian have been married for 23 years.
I’m Gina Smith, wife of Brian and mom of Brianna and Caleb. My husband and children have been my greatest gifts! Even though I have entered a new season of life, my children do still need me and I am thrilled about that! I am now the dean of women at the Christian college where we have served for 20 years. Being a mom has been the most wonderful, terrifying, exciting, challenging, satisfying, exhausting, heart wrenching, and heart warming adventure and calling of my life. One for which I will never be fully qualified…but I am extremely grateful for the privilege of being a mom.