I went to church on Sunday and found just what I needed in the most unexpected of places.
It wasn’t in the sermon (although that was amazing and powerful too). It wasn’t during worship (although that was so very beautiful and sweet). It wasn’t even in the ministry time afterwards where you can go and get prayer for any specific hurts you may be carrying.
No. It was in the nursing mother’s room.
That little cozy nook with all the soft lighting and rocking chairs and changing tables… I found the grace I desperately needed tucked away there, of all places.
I went to feed Truman before the sermon began, and ended up talking with some of the other women in my community who are also up to their EYEBALLS in small children. And I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I left that room feeling like there were people in this world who actually understood how I have been feeling lately… like there were ears who HEARD me and eyes that were sparkling with compassion and empathy and kindness as I was able to voice some of my rumbling frustrations. It felt so good to be honest and laugh and be real- all of us gliding back and forth on comfy cushions with squirmy babies under soft blankets in our arms.
What a beautiful and surprising place to meet God.
I have been having a very hard time knowing how to parent my six year old well lately. He is a very intense kid- always needing attention and direction and… ATTENTION. He has a very hard time being still or quiet. He has really powerful emotions at the drop of a hat. I have found myself completely exasperated by his behavior. It’s Summer, he’s around the house more, there is very little structure to our days (due to BABY and whatnot) and it is literally too hot to step outside. I know all of these things are contributing factors, and it has been so hard for me to see the sweet, well-meaning child that I know he really is at heart.
Before I went to church on Sunday, I felt myself spiraling down the old familiar path of believing lies about who I am as a woman and a mother. I am so grateful for the things I have walked through and learned in these last few years, because just being able to RECOGNIZE this struggle of mine is a serious victory in my life. I spent all of the day Saturday battling against it– gaining ground for an hour or two, losing ground for four, fighting my way back for twenty minutes, and so on…
If I have learned anything in these battles it is that there is ONE path I can choose that will get me out of this spiral the fastest. The quicker I am to acknowledge the fact that I am believing lies over God’s truth about me and my life and then repent- swiftly replacing those lies with what God says is true, the quicker I feel like myself again.
For example, I can sit on my sofa and pout and stew because Ezra is driving me batty and won’t leave me alone or I can rise up and remind myself that God has given me all that I need to parent this child and I can ask Him to show me what is really going on with Ezra that is making him behave the way he is. And I can ask Him to strengthen me and help me.
So I was battling all this on Saturday and feeling stuck- all because I was believing that I was a bad mom for feeling soooooo frustrated and angry at my six year old… feeling like I didn’t even like him. With these thoughts came the feeling of failure and worthlessness as a mother… I felt like I was the only mom in the history of ever who had ever had these kinds of thoughts towards her own child. I knew these were lies, but I still felt like… a monster.
But when I talked with those other moms on Sunday who had been in that same place that I was, I felt the lies break off of me and suddenly I could breathe again. I am NOT alone. We talked about how important it was to spend time with God everyday… because then HIS love will flow out of us and soak our children. I was impressed again with how important community really is in all of this. We were not created to live in our own little bubbles! We will die if we cut ourselves off from each other.
When I left that room on Sunday, both Truman and I were filled up to the brim. :) I am so grateful for God meeting me right where I needed to be met- in the most practical place for a busy mama like me- right in the middle of one of the only moments where I get to actually SIT DOWN and have a conversation without being interrupted a majillion times… when I am nursing at church! I had just been telling Chris how I’ve felt so disconnected from my friends lately because it is almost impossible to have an actual conversation with anyone (much less a deep and meaningful one) when there are three children needing me and yelling for me and hanging on me every moment of the day. I can hardly even hear myself think!
It was just so hand-crafted for my tired and thirsty heart. (and my tired and thirsty baby. heh.) God sees me, and knows me, and is MORE than able to meet my needs in creative ways… I just have to keep my eyes open and I’m sure He will continue to meet me in surprising and unlikely places. What grace!