Being a mom is not for the faint of heart. This job is hard, exhausting and often thankless but I think we can all agree that we would not give up one sleepless night to see these tiny humans grow, flourish and be happy. The most important lesson I’ve learned thus far, in just 7 short years of being a mom, is that I have very little control over how this life turns out. My lack of experience and immaturity would have once told me otherwise, making me think that I was the puppet master to a grand production. Careful planning, organizing and assembling their lives would be a success as long as I was intentional. The best advice I ever got was to have a plan “B”, thanks mom! Really, this one thought redirected my planning efforts and forever gave me grace. Plan A may have been, we are going to the movies and it’s going to be amazing!!! Plan B was Amy’s Ice cream when this did not happen. Instead of making the memory of a meltdown at the movies, we made the memory of grace in a moment that did not go as planned. Plan A is always our intentions and plan B is simply our sanity. Life does not always go how we want or need it to, no matter how preciously we plan.
What happens when tragedy strikes. When life takes a left turn and you were not ready for it. Are we ever ready for the floor to drop out beneath us? Where do we go? How do we recover? When our parent suddenly falls ill …what do we do? When we lose a precious pregnancy…how do we cope? When our spouse betrays us…how do we pick up the pieces? Life is simply not fair. This is not a direct reflection on us, our choices or our “should haves”. This is life. When we see a friend, family member or loved one experiencing extreme levels of pain….how do we react? I feel one of our biggest flaws as moms, humans, is the need to “fix” everything. We see a problem, we think we have the solution and therefore we input our thoughts and often are shocked by the lack of gratitude that is reciprocated. I was reminded from a book I am currently reading (Unshockable Love, by John Burke) how Jesus responded to Mary and Martha when their brother, Lazarus, died. (John 11:1-44) Jesus was dear friends with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, so when Mary and Martha ran to Jesus for help to heal their sick brother, they were shocked by his lack of urgency to get to him. Once Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. Naturally, Mary and Martha were confused, hurt, angry that Jesus did not come in time. Now while Jesus knew the miraculous restoration He was about to perform, he saw the pain of His friends and “wept”. This one story speaks volumes to my heart. Not just for how I can react in the moments of pain, but how He reacts in our moments of pain. While some believed Jesus wept because He loved Lazarus, many believe that He actually wept because He was a human who sympathized and felt the pain of those around Him. When we are in pain, hurting or facing the worst struggle in our lives, do we want to hear, “God will work this for His good”??? Ummm, no, we do not. While this may be a true statement, it can also be careless and without compassion. When Jesus saw His friends in pain, even knowing He would bring Lazarus back, He did not comfort His friends with God’s word or gospel, He wept, He felt, He sympathized with their pain.
How much better of a mom, wife or friend could we be with our loved ones that are hurting, if we just wept with them? If our child is having a “moment” of monumental frustration (aren’t they all), rather than telling them what they “should do” (while most likely wise advise) can we not just sit with them, show compassion and let them feel? If we have a friend who is going through some tough stuff, struggling internally and feeling emotional, rather than saying “God will use your pain for restoration” (while most definitely true) can we not just hug them, comfort them and weep with them? This goes for us too mommas. When we are having a bad day, a hard week or a rough season in life, can we give ourselves permission to mourn, knowing Jesus is mourning with us? It is not our God that causes or abandons us in pain, it is our God that weeps and comforts us in our pain. Pain is inevitable. Pain is real. Pain is a part of being alive. It is in this pain that we get to weep, be comforted and survive. Another day will come. Our broken hearts will be restored. Lets focus less on quick fixes and more on mercy. Know that when you weep, Jesus sees and weeps with you, you are not alone. Know that when your loved ones hurt, it is not your role to fix them but just sit with them, feel with them and be with them.
So yes, being a momma is hard, but beautiful. It is time consuming, but life breathing. It is mind numbing, but heart opening. Lets not be discouraged by all the pain that this life has to offer. Lets not let our hurt, frustration and anger lead us away from the restoration, healing and living that we are all promised to experience. Life is not fair, but He wept. If you are in this place today, I weep with you sisters. I am so sorry for your hurt, loss, despair. I see you, I am with you and when you are ready to stand…I will be there with a strong hand.
It is always my hope that these words make it to those they were written for.
Unshockable Love, by John Burke