I have three reasons to figure out anew how to do this mothering thing well…
“Love is the fuel that energizes every other type of growth. If you love well, you will influence your children, and your love will cover over many inadequacies.” -Sally Clarkson, Desperate
I have three sweet babies that I love and want to raise well.
One of the ways I will do this is by sacrificing some of my own desires so that I can do right by them. In chapter 10, we hone in on this sacrifice, and our expectations and our desires and the way of Jesus.
Oh how the Father loves His children and sacrifices for them! But in that sacrifice, there is joy – it is not all miserable and gloomy.
I want to hold onto to the fact that in choosing to sacrifice my life and my expectations for my life for my children, it doesn’t mean living a miserable life; there is a tension there that I want to work through – finding the joy in the sacrifice.
And that’s what I want to talk about today, finding the joy in the sacrifice.
Sally says, “the ability to last in motherhood requires giving up expectations in our own lives, deciding that sacrificing our desires and wants for the sake of our family is our gift of worship to our heavenly Father.” (P. 122.) However, she goes on to say, “I don’t however want to affirm a sense of punishment. Following the example of Jesus in submitting our own will to do God’s doesn’t mean we are called to live miserable lives where we punish ourselves through the denial of anything good.” (P. 123.)
Throughout the writing of Desperate, one of the biggest things I reflected on was how I had set myself up for failure with the high expectations and un-required ideals that I set of myself (Chapter 1). Learning to release myself from those ideals and instead focus on how God made me and what He asked of me, has helped tremendously in my parenting. Now I’m in a place of “figuring it out new.” This is where I take the old, unrealistic (for me) ideals and ideas on motherhood and trade them in for ideals and ideas that work for our family. It’s where I find that intersection between sacrifice and joy; reality and ideals.
I find it easy to stay in a place of, “Motherhood is hard, let’s just get through the days.” Sometimes, and in some seasons, that is the reality. But for me, right now, I want to say, “Motherhood is hard, and choosing to be intentional with my babes is even harder. With the help and power of the Holy Spirit I will aim and work to meet realistic ideals that are important in the raising of my children.” I don’t want to slough off these important days because it all feels too hard. And I don’t want to go about my days grudgingly; I want to enjoy my life, even in the sacrifice of it.
I really want to live and love and choose well in the tension of it all. And to do this, I have to day-by-day, moment-by-moment rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and His leading for what will work in our family, what ideals we should aim for, and what ideas we should cling to. Everyday I wake up and say, “Lord, help me walk in the power of your Holy Spirit today.” Honestly, without Him, I can’t make it through my days, and I certainly can’t do motherhood well. I’m a mess, and I’m tired a whole heck of a lot, but I’ve got power in my spirit, and I’m relying on it by faith to teach me and help me do more than survive. I want to rock this life with all I’ve got, because it’s all worth it.
And those babies, they’re worth it. They are always, always worth it.
How do you enjoy life, genuinely enjoy it, in the sacrifice?
I want to hear from you on how you live in the tension between ideals and reality, joy and sacrifice.
Leave a comment and tell me how you are figuring all this out. (Email readers, click here to come on over to the blog and comment!)
“This is hands down one of the best books I have ever read written for moms, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a mom, especially of little ones, who sometimes feels like she can hardly breathe (or go to the bathroom in peace!!) or anyone who wants to understand moms.” Amazon Review
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