“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.