Some days make it abundantly clear that I can’t do it all, leaving me on my knees praying to God for help.
Chaos describes this morning best. I’m glad no one but God could see me – like a chicken with her head cut off, running around, struggling against the clock to pack lunches, make breakfast and listen to our son read the book we forgot about last night. When we had more time.
Upstairs, what am I looking for? I hunt for socks and library books. Amidst the chaos, the 2-year-old wakes, needing a diaper and breakfast. Why didn’t I make eggs for her when I made them for our son?
The oldest heads to the bus stop, returning quickly for a jacket. Spring mornings are chilly in Minnesota. Of course we can’t find it. Maybe in the car?
Off he runs, just beating the bus. From the front step, I wave a frantic goodbye, realizing I never hugged him.
It Happens A Lot
Not all mornings are like this – but more are than I’d like.
The day continues, exposing other unfinished things. Looking at the calendar, I realize there is field trip permission slips and school program RSVPs. Two kids are counting down the alphabet until the last day of school, of course starting on different days. They’ll need outfits, crazy hair, books, and stuff daily until school ends. There’s a 2-month-overdue 5-year-checkup. Maybe we’ll get the 2-year-checkup on time? Maybe. Those bills need to be paid. Everyone is overdue at the dentist. There are sign ups for Vacation Bible School and sports and when is that deadline? I think we missed it.
I fail. I can’t keep it all straight. Just when I get started, the youngest tries to jump off a table (true story – happened after breakfast). I rescue her and forget what I was doing.
It Happens More Than We’d Like
Some days, I feel like I’m just not doing this mama-thing right.
Truth is, I’m doing a lot wrong. I mess up. I bark orders at kids because we’re unprepared. Then I rush our 1st grader through his book because if he misses the bus it will mess up the schedule. I feel frazzled and sad I missed my chance to connect with or hug our kids before school.
But it’s only the beginning. By day’s end, I’m wiped from all the things. What does my husband get? Well, some days I save energy, and show up so we can listen and connect. Some days we are wiped out together, snuggled on the couch not speaking. And some days, he gets leftovers.
Too many days.
What about extended family and friends? Well, lately, they call me. Because we haven’t talked in weeks. Despite good intentions to call them, I get caught up in all the things – chasing little people, cleaning house, and running errands. I don’t slow down long enough to call anyone.
What about school? The year is done and I haven’t helped in either child’s classroom. It makes me feel like a freeloader. I only made it to have lunch with our son ONE time. In a whole year. While he still thinks that’s cool.
The list goes on, but I think you get the point. What I’m not getting done feels insurmountable. It’s obvious – I cannot do it all.
I. Can’t. Do. All. The. Things.
Do you ever have moments like this? I do, more than I like.
As the familiar overwhelming feeling took over, there were two choices – cry, or pray. Or the third option – cry AND pray. I picked that one.
Through tears, I prayed for God’s leading and for His Spirit to equip me for everything He asks me to do today. I asked God to give me His perspective of how I was doing at this mom-thing.
Grabbing my Bible, I flipped it open haphazardly. It’s funny I thought it opened to a random page. Turning to the Bible for truth isn’t ever random. God knows exactly what we need and provides it. Time and time again.This was no exception. God’s word gives us His perspective and insight into how He sees us.
What does God say when we can’t do it all?
1. God says my weakness is good.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
– 2 Corinthians 12:9
Right then, feeling inadequate, no better truth could have been given to me. While I should try to do things with excellence and proper preparation, God knows I can’t do it all. He made me that way.
2. God says my weakness has purpose.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV)
In our inadequacy, God can work through us, because we get out of His way and let him. Our failures reveal self-reliance and help us rely on God. If we could do it all, we wouldn’t find ourselves sobbing at His feet asking for help. Our failings force me to depend more fully on God’s sufficiency. This girl, with perfectionist tendencies, needs reminding.Our failures reveal self-reliance and help us rely on God. #thisgratefulmama #gratitude #dependonGod Click To Tweet
3. God promises grace.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)
Grace, upon grace, upon grace. While wallowing in self-pity and frustration over what I cannot do, I wonder what God thinks. Is God looking at me, shaking His head and perfect finger at my poor preparation? Does He scoff at my tears and say, “You did this to yourself?”
Nope. Absolutely not.
God offers forgiveness for our lack of preparation, and for our sharp words at the kids. He forgives us for messing up the work He gave us to do and for trying to do it in our own, limited strength. We don’t deserve His kindness – its grace. A gift undeserved. It’s because of grace that we can approach His throne, clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, with the confidence He won’t turn us away.
4. God’s love is unconditional.
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:39 (KJV)
Nothing can separate me from God’s perfect love and promises. I can’t earn His love by doing all the things. I can’t dazzle God by being an overachiever or doing it all by myself.
Thank goodness He isn’t so easily impressed! God loves me because He loves me. I can’t mess it up. I can’t lose it by failing to finish something or by being frazzled and unprepared in the morning.
Neither can you.
5. I can do it all through Him.
Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Hold up. Don’t get too excited – this doesn’t mean we have a magic wand to go do all the things. It doesn’t mean we can make ourselves super busy and do it all like a super-human mama. I’m officially not super-woman, and God isn’t asking that of me. And I’m certain He isn’t asking it of you either.
What this does mean, is God will give us everything we need to do what He has called each of us to do. We do need to honestly evaluate all the things and determine what needs to go. Assessing priorities and our schedule is a great place to start.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.Psalm 138:8 (ESV)
Do you see it? God fulfills the purpose. He gives us work to do, but the Holy Spirit equips and does the actual work through us. It’s a glorious loop when we get out of His way.
You guys, God is so cool! He does the work!
6. We aren’t alone
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawnsPsalm 46:5 (ESV)
Jesus didn’t die to save us just to leave us on our own until eternity. Instead, He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to do His work and to do the work of sanctification in us. With the Spirit dwelling in us, we are literally never alone.
God gave us His Word to guide us and to reveal His character and attributes. He gave us worship to draw us closer to Him. He welcomes our prayers and speaks to us in the quiet. Spending time with God brings transformation, renewed minds, and the ability to determine His will (Romans 12:1-2). God’s help is immeasurable.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
Fellowship is a Gift
God also gives us the body of Christ. He gave us the gift of fellowship so we can be mutually encouraged by one another. Throughout scripture, we see people of high calling given help and support of other people. God gave Moses his brother Aaron (Exodus 6, 17) and his father-in-law(Exodus 18) to help him. Paul lists many who served alongside him in Romans 16. There are many more examples in scripture.
I’m meant to work in community with others. This is true of motherhood. It is true of all roles we fill as women. My current schedule feels overwhelming and this tells me I need help – from family, friends and God. Today, God helped me remember what He says about my weakness. After evaluating our schedule with my husband, I submitted my plans to God, and spent some time lining up some help.
Which of these truths did you need to hear today?
When Our Hearts Revert to Self-Reliance, Marshall Segal, DesiringGod.org
How to Extend Love Even When You’ve Dropped The Ball, Jill E. McCormick
Failing Motherhood (And Why I Want My Kids To Know), Sara Lango, Gracefilled Growth