Conceal, don’t feel: the mantra of an overwhelmed mom.

“Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them see…” -Frozen (Duh.)

I’ve realized lately that this has become my subconscious mantra while caring for my children day in and day out. One is teething and crying, pathetically following me around with his new crawling ability. The other is crying for snacks or gummies or juice or “t.t.” (television) for the 80th time since he has woken up. I love my kids but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in these moments! In an effort to respond with patience, I have swung the pendulum to the far left and have resorted to simply suppressing. Any frustration, any stress, any anger I feel, I just push it down, take a deep breath, speak quietly, and wipe their tears. Sounds good, right? Wrong.

Yes, my kids needs are met and their mom is not an emotional mess, but I have become an unfeeling shell. Naptime rolls around and I can barely think. So I’ve been sewing. It allows me to escape and avoid any confrontation to deal with the whirlwind of my morning and the issues in my heart. I go to community group and listen to women confessing and working through their sin or pain. When it comes around to me, I don’t have anything to say.

“How are you doing?” they say.

“I don’t really know,” I say.

So many of us are simply trying to keep it together. If we let ourselves feel too much, we may just flip out! (And let’s be honest, this always happens eventually, am I right?) Yes, we may be remaining calm in the face of toddler tantrums, rush hour traffic, financial burdens, or constant annoyances of a spouse, but by what power? In those moments of self-control are we relaying on the love of Christ and peace of God? Or are we relying on our own strength to make it through the day? What role do our emotions play as we live out our days as women of God?

I don’t know the answer to that one (if someone does, let me know!), but I do know that I need to feel. Romans 8:12-17 says that in Christ, I have received a spirit of adoption by which I can cry out “ABBA, FATHER!” I no longer have to be a slave to the anxiety and pressure this world brings. I no longer have to suppress my feelings and turn headlong into self-sufficiency. I can cry out in utter dependance on my savior. And you know what? It’s going to be a lot more messy and raw and my kids/husband/friends may see me turn to puddles…but its worth it. Here’s why:

1. I will enjoy communion with my God and the peace that is offered though the cross as I plead for His mercy and help.

2. My kids will see my need for Christ. I am flawed and broken. I am not a superhero with bags full of fruit snacks. As they see me looking to Jesus and repenting of my sin (to Him and to them!), may they too be drawn to the sweetness of Christ.

3. I will become less guarded to share my struggles with other women. Instead of being an emotionless shell who feels alone, I can draw comfort and truth from my friends who long to see my soul resting in the gospel.

4. God is glorified as I boast in my weakness and allow Him to carry me along by His grace.

Maybe you are having a day where you feel quite “put together.” Remind yourself that it is God who put you together in the first place and sustains your very life. Are you like me, and feeling overwhelmed today? Boast in God’s power to use you despite your weakness! Jesus died on the cross so we would have free, unmerited access to the grace and strength God supplies. So moms, as we serve our families with these provisions of God, we are declaring to the next generation and those around us:

 “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.
Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.” (Psalm 71)

Look to the finish line, friends. God is able to make all grace abound to you, in all things, at all times so that you can make it through this day and to the last days with His help (2 Cor. 9:8). So in the face of tantrums or weariness or bitterness, look to back to Christ and look forward to the finish line. With tears and trusting, we know God is with us and He is faithful.

Life Map & Saltiness.

Recently I revamped my Life Map to change and align my priorities in such a way that glorifies God and leads me into more holiness. I guess I could explain the Life Map in more detail, but that is not the point of my post…

Obviously my first priority should be “Christian.” As I sat down tonight, I pulled out my Life Map to see how I am doing. Here is my vision statement for ten years from now and the goals I have set for this year as I pursue that trajectory:

(In year 2022) I am a woman whose value is in Christ alone. I have surrendered my whole life and all my time talent and resources to the Lord. As a result, my priorities are Godly. The bible transforms my heart, both by reading my bible daily and studying theology. My life and understanding of God are evidently transforming in the way that I love and extend grace to my family, the church, and the lost.

 2013 Goals:

  1. Spend time reading my bible/ journaling everyday
  2. Read 12 books by 2014
  3. Blog 1 time a week

I was convicted about blogging. I know it seems silly, but my blog life really does reflect my growth with Jesus and the scriptures. As I process things, it helps to write them out for an audience so I can hold myself to a standard of theological accuracy and clear teaching. Just because I have a baby does not mean my blog needs to turn into a scrapbook–not that there is anything wrong with having blog posts about children, or even a whole blog site devoted to them!–this is just not the purpose of my blog on a large scale. So I figure I will ease myself back into a writing. I don’t have anything impressive to say, but Jesus has been good to me in giving me small nuggets of truth to sustain my heart…So I need to write about it! Amen?

This first month as a mama has been hard. Many days I don’t leave my apartment or open the blinds. I sometimes go a whole day without talking. I have felt lonely. I have also felt inadequate to be a mom who uses her life to advance the kingdom. How am I supposed to be the “salt of the earth” as a young mom, who knows few people in this city, and who doesn’t even have the motivation to leave the house?

Matt Chandler explains Matthew 5:13-16 well in his recent sermon “Light of the World.” Basically, he taught me that just as salt is a preserving agent in cooking, our function is also to be a preserving agent on earth. We become an agent of change and redemption for God’s purposes on earth right where we are. For me, I am now a mom and a wife, so breastfeeding, changing, and holding a crying baby all day is where “salt” takes place for me. What does this mean? No matter where we are in life, we can pursue saltiness as we:
1. Walk in integrity
2. Are a faithful witness to Jesus and his gospel
3. Refuse to enter into what is sinful

It is easy for me to spend all day with the t.v. on or to become frustrated with Jackson as he cries. Obviously none of us are batting 1000 in these three areas that make up “saltiness.” So how do we move forward? As we keep our eyes on the grace of God through the sacrifice of his Son on the cross, we will be led to a sobering seriousness about sin and a desire to be made into his holy image. It is this kind of seriousness that marks our life with confession and repentance.

Regardless of how I feel about my performance, I can rest knowing that God is using me as an agent of change and redemption as he preserves and advances his kingdom on earth. And as I pursue “saltiness” through regular confession of sin to other sisters and repentance, I am also a light for the world–revealing that there is something greater than my small world worth living for.