God, gives us strength, Even though we can’t see Him.(repeat)
He gives us joy. He makes lots of things. He made cats and pigs and dogs and all of the animals at the zoo. And He made all of the horses too.
God, gives us strength, Even though we can’t see Him. (repeat)
LilyBelle was not having it. Minutes turned into hours which turned into all night of screaming. Absolutely inconsolable screaming!!
Finally after thrashing her body around in our bed most of the night, she passed out at 3:45am to then wake up again at 5:45am wide-eyed and ready to play.
I was not!
Not long after, were both kids awake and at full throttle and I just couldn’t get myself in gear. My husband had full-leaded coffee ready for me before he left for his early morning, and I sat and prayed all breakfast for strength and energy and patience to make it even another 5 minutes without snapping.
I excused myself from breakfast and let my kids entertain each other so I could try to #breathe.
My Munchckin comes running up to me,”Mommy! Mommy! I cleaned up my oatmeal. I did it all by myself! Look! I threw it in the garbage!”
Oh no! Danielle, pull it together. There will probably be oatmeal all over the floor and trash can, but don’t crush his spirit. He’s THREE. And he’s trying. Get ready to be proud of him and teach him gently. God, give me patience, gentleness and self-control.
We held hands. I scanned the dining room and kitchen floor to ceiling searching for this slop of oatmeal that we needed to clean. Nothing. Spotless. He opens the trash and there it was, a small little pile of oatmeal he hadn’t finished, his spoon in the sink and his bowl set back on the table nicely so it wouldn’t break.
“Wow, Bud! Thank you for cleaning up!”
“Ya! I did it all by myself because ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength’ even when things are hard. Mommy, I want Jesus here. Can He come in our house?” #proudmommoment
“Jesus is here, Bud. He’s here because we’ve invited Him to be a part of our lives.”
“But I want to see Jesus.”
I gently picked him up and show him the leaves rustling on the trees.
“Do you see the leaves moving?” (Ya.) “What causes the leaves to move?” (Wind.) “Can we see the wind?” (No, but we see the leaves move.) “Exactly! We can’t see Jesus’ face, but we know He’s here because we see what He is doing in our lives.” (Oh, like love and people.) “Yep! That’s right! He’s our love to people, our strength when things are hard, and peace when we’re scared.”
He picks up his guitar and starts singing at the top of his lungs. I quickly grabbed a pen and paper (and he did too, as you can see) and asked if I could write this beautiful song of his heart down so we could remember it and sing it together.
I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Through this exhaustion, battling the “I can’t do this” and the “I am alone” lies, I have realized I have strength because Christ is in me. But I must seek Him daily.
It doesn’t matter how many times I hear that I’m a good mom; I will always feel empty, weak, un-acknowledged, and worthless if my value does not come from God.
Operating with strength means operating in faith.
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
My strength comes from God. If my faith is blocked, God’s strength in me is blocked.
I found notes from a women’s bible study I attended a few years ago titled The Barriers to our Faith and began to take personal inventory.
I want to share with you the following barriers to my faith and the questions that go with them. If you can relate at all to what I’ve shared, I encourage you to look at the list and evaluate your own life. Doing this self-reflection made me realize I dwell on some of these questions daily. They are in the back of my mind steering the course of my day, my attitude, my reactions, and to be quite honest, it usually ends up ugly.
Worry: Am I making the healthiest choices for my kids and their future success?
Fear: Will people accept me for who I am? Will something terrible happen to my husband and kids? Will I be left all alone?
Doubt: Am I good enough? Do I have purpose?
My past: Are there people I have not forgiven? Am I one of them?
Distance from God: (until recently) I was not spending time praying or reading the Bible very often at all.
Depression: Post-partum hormones and emotions associated.
Anxiety: Am I doing everything “right”? I’ve realized that for me anxiety and fear are very much correlated; one doesn’t exist without the other.
She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
I love these verses (and all of proverbs 31, for that matter) because it reminds me that strength is woven into my DNA as God’s creation and as a woman living for the purpose He created me. I can’t be the mom, wife, daughter, sister or friend He created me to be if I don’t include Him in the process.
Being Mommy to these two precious kiddos is teaching me so much about me.
Who am I? What do I value? Who do I value? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Do I have influence? Am I using it? Am I living with integrity? When my kids look back, will they be able to look past my hang-ups (and how I’ve messed them up) and be proud to call me Mommy?
Will they see God’s love and grace in me and through me?
Is there something or someone that has shaken your world so much, you constantly evaluate and reevaluate what life is really about? Do you know who you are? Do you know your purpose? Do you know you have a purpose?
I now realize these self-shaming questions, “am I good enough?” or “am I doing enough?” Or the “I can’t do this,” and “I am alone,” are a reflection of God not being the center of my life. They are I-centered not God-centered.
It’s taken over a year of listening to the *God Centered Mom podcast for me to take full ownership that my life has not been, well, that: God-Centered. As Heather MacFadyen encourages listeners every episode, it’s time I start to “replace me with He.”
I may have been going through the motions of church, Bible study, talking about Him to people, teaching my kids, listening to podcasts… but God doesn’t ask for our motions or our actions, He asks for our heart. And gives us the choice to give it to Him. All of the above are not bad, but they should come from the overflow of His love in me, not out of mere duty or, frankly, habit.
I stumbled on this verse, right now in fact, as I am writing out my thoughts.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Relying on my own strength is what leads to exhaustion and negativity, and worry and fear and doubt and distance from God and depression and anxiety.
Just like each new day I encourage, teach and coach my kids to explore, take risks, and trust me to help them along the way, I need to remember God wants me to trust Him all the more. We will fall, we will fail, but He picks us back up, wraps His arms around us as if to say, “It’s ok. I’m here. I love you. Let’s try again.”
God used my three year old son to answer my desperate prayer for strength and remind me:
“God, gives us strength, even though we can’t see Him.”
I’m so grateful God’s grace covers me and all of my imperfections. I am humbled that inspite of my inadequacies, God gives me strength for today.
I’ll leave you with this thought that I tell my kids several times a day, and that I need to remind myself:
“Let God pour so much of His love into your life that it can’t help but overflow and pour out into those around you.”
It is in that love that you will find strength for today.
*note to parents: This podcast has been so encouraging to me. Every episode Heather MacFadyen interviews different Moms and Dads who have gone before us on this parenting journey. Whether it’s a Mom of one or ten, in her 20s or 80s, established a world-wide platform of millions or her platform is her home’s living room floor, there are gems to take away from every episode. I highly encourage you to check it out! Here’s the link again: God Centered Mom