Breaking points. We all have them, and mine was last week. My husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary on a trip to the Bahamas without our kids the week before. While there, I was able to gain a fresh perspective toward being a mother to my two littles while working as a freelance writer/editor from my home. What was a stressful situation prior to our vacation seemed totally doable when I was able to get away and see my circumstances in a new light. But less than two days back to the real world, I lost it. I implemented all my time management and discipline strategies I developed while on vacation to make my life “easier” and my kids compliant and loving upon my return. And it backfired.
My son was throwing himself on the floor every 10 seconds while my daughter was stuck to me like a magnet willing me to never leave her side again. Sure, this was most likely because my husband and I had been away for four nights, but I had work to catch up on and a house to clean! I wanted to be with them, but not with those attitudes. My patience that was overflowing upon my return quickly ran dry without an opportunity to refill. If I couldn’t balance work and home life after a refreshing vacation, then I must be a failure. There is no hope for me.
My typical “self-care” go-tos were not working this particular day, so I called my husband at work and told him that when he came home, I needed him to take the kids and run while I spent time alone with the Lord. I needed space to just be raw without worrying what my family would hear behind my closed door. My husband graciously took the kids on a grocery run and I was left with an empty home, an open Bible, and a blank journal. It had been so long since I had been with God. Sure, I said quick prayers before I went to sleep or in the moment that I thought of a friend or family member in need, but I hadn’t come to God to release the guilt and frustrations I felt as a mother.
For me, motherhood lacked joy. I loved my kids harder than I ever knew possible. But the joy was missing! I cried out to God, “Where is the joy? Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t the Bible come with a whole section dedicated to how to parent my children and SURVIVE?”
I was a cocktail of emotions: anger, sadness, guilt, and shame. I revealed all the filth in my heart and prayed He would give me the help I needed to be the mother I always wanted to be. Closing my time in prayer, I left it at this: “Lord, in the end, I just want to see the joy in this season.”
Little did I know, this prayer would change everything. That night, I went to bed with a peace I hadn’t felt even during my vacation the week before. I woke up the next day without hostility and had interactions with my children that weren’t as challenging as the days before. My demeanor changed and so did my children. We began to understand one another better because I was able to express myself without leading with frustration.
My son, whose relationship was one of my biggest struggles, started greeting me with a smile and requesting a seat on my hip as he kissed my cheeks and wrapped his chubby arms around my neck. This affection was unheard of prior to my prayer.
What I want to encourage you with is to reach for God in your most difficult moments. Where you are at a loss, God wants to rescue you and reveal Himself. I’m not going to lie. I was hoping to hear His whispers or be led to the perfect verse in the Bible to speak to my heart that day, but sometimes God greets us through giving us feelings we can’t understand. Nothing had changed the next day but the addition of joy in my heart that could only be from God. And for that, I am thankful.