To the Mama Stuck in Quicksand...
by Kristina Matz
Some days I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand. Slowly sinking. And the harder I struggle to get out of it, the more I feel myself being pulled down into it. But my quicksand isn't literally sand, but rather comes in the form of four tiny humans. Maybe you can relate...
The morning begins with your best laid plans. You know what you need to get accomplished and you have a general idea of how you need to get it done. You have been wise to account for the regular needs of the day like preparing meals, wiping tiny bottoms, and cleaning up messes. But suddenly, you look at the clock and realize that it's already noon and you have gotten nothing accomplished. Don't get me wrong, you've been busy all morning, but you have failed to move forward. And not only are you not moving forward, but you literally feel as though you are sinking in the midst of it all! Now, what I cannot give you is a way to avoid days like these. But what I hope to give you is a helping hand out of the quicksand.
Start Your Morning Right (And I'm Not Talking about Coffee)
The truth is that, when we wake up in the morning, we have no idea what God has for us in that day. He could gift us with the most effective and productive day we've ever had or choose the gift of a rigorous, uphill climb kind of a day. So then how are we expected to prepare for the day if we have no idea what it holds? The answer is actually quite simple. You see, the answer is the same regardless of what God has in store for us. We must start our days with our hearts laid bare before the Lord. In His Word and in His presence through prayer.
I've seen it everywhere... Coffee mugs, t-shirts, pillows, online memes. "But first, coffee." Mothers everywhere are waking up groggy and disoriented, grabbing for their first cup of coffee to get their day started. But let's be honest ladies, while tasty, coffee has no healing powers. The caffeine has no lasting effect on our hearts. A cup of the most perfect pour over will not effectively help you to better mother your children in a given day. Sure, it might help you feel like you can "survive" that day of motherhood a little bit better, but this is not a game of survival! Motherhood is a gift, and one in which we were meant to thrive. And thriving does not start with a cup of coffee, it starts at the feet of our Savior.
How would your days look different if you spent every morning with Jesus before you engaged with your children? If we want to behave like Christ when we respond to our children then we need to be spending time with Him! How can we emulate someone that we don't really know? If the idea of waking up an extra hour early seems overwhelming to you, I get it. Start small. Even fifteen minutes in uninterrupted prayer and a good read through a daily Proverb can begin to do some incredible work in our hearts. You can do this, mama!
Pray, Pray, and Pray Some More!
Not a day goes by that I do not ask for God's help in parenting my children, but there are somedays that I beg God. When I am sinking fast I am reminded of my intense need for God. On my own strength, left to my own "wisdom", I will be sucked into the pit of quicksand faster than Buttercup in The Princess Bride. And while I do have a handsome Wesley to "jump in" after me, I need to remember that I have some One even better. It is not my husband's job to rescue me and I am wrong to put that burden onto his shoulders. It is the King of Kings that is my refuge and my strength. My ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). And He has told me to pray (Philippians 4:6-7). He has told me to call on Him. To cast my anxieties onto Him because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).
When all of the children are asking for your attention at once. When your little one that's potty training just peed the floor... again. When your infant is refusing to nap without a struggle. When you are disciplining your toddler for screaming... again. These are the moments, ladies. These are the moments that God is there, waiting. Waiting to hear our quiet, quivering voices call out to Him to rescue us. And His rescue is far greater than that of the Dread Pirate Roberts. While human effort can rescue us from our current situation, only God can rescue us from a grumbling heart, an overwhelmed mind, and a worn down spirit.
Keep Your Perspective Eternal
Remember that feeling of getting nothing accomplished. I'm sure you know it well. We've all felt it more than we'd like to admit. But what if I told you that it was wrong, even exposing sinful thought patterns that we hold on to?
"...and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." - Titus 2:4-5
God is clear in His Word that it is our job as mothers to love our children and to manage our home. How we feel about this task does not change its validity or importance. And when we have completed our time on this earth we know that we will stand before the Lord and answer for how we have stewarded over the things (and people!) that He entrusted to us. What a sobering thought! But let it also be an encouraging thought... When you have spent hours of your day correcting disobedience, training your children in Godly instruction, and walking through how siblings ought to communicate with one another, you are spending your day doing God's good work. When you spend hours washing, drying, and folding the laundry, washing all of the same dishes again after lunch, and training your children how to clean up their rooms, you are doing God's good work. When you are tempted to feel like you have nothing to show for your day, be encouraged that God sees much! It is in our hardest days that we are able to do our best work! We have been given a task that often shows no immediate reward, but God has allowed us to partner with Him in sowing seeds into our children that we can, Lord willing, watch Him reap in future years. What an incredible privilege! Please don't let the standards of this world steal your enthusiasm in partnering with the Lord in some of our most valuable work.