by monthly contributer, Natalie Didlake
I sat down and made a list of all the rigors of wife- and motherhood I could possibly think of. There are…A LOT!
- Feeling alone or isolated from the outside world
- The struggle for regular, healthy rest and refreshment
- Having too many things to do
- Grief over your children’s rebellious hearts toward you and God, sometimes even frustration or anger
- Changes in your physical body due to childbirth/care and age
- The minute-by-minute flow of daily, constant demands
- Loss of a sense of control over your life in general
- Worries about the poor character you are passing on to your kids by example
- Loss of a sense of usefulness in ways you used to enjoy
- Loss of sleep
- Loss of mental/emotional rest
- Loss of time with husband
- Loss of a sense that your husband relates to your experience as a wife/mother, perhaps feeling lonely/isolated even in your own home
- Rejected and undervalued by our culture
- General despair and frustration
- Feeling distant from God because of all these imposed losses!
Whew! I’m ready for that list to be done. Won’t be re-reading that again! Too many of these hover over my head daily like a black Eeyore-cloud, following me everywhere I go.
There are so many days I can’t wait for my kids to nap so the house is quiet, for everybody to go to bed so I can take a break from meeting needs, sometimes…for everybody to grow up and leave!
I used to think the only one who really understood was a fellow mom. And, really, what help is that? A friend with 3 or 4 kids can’t do much but sympathize with my lack of sleep!
About a year ago, as I read through the gospels, I began noticing incidents in Jesus’ everyday life that startled me. Because they were very similar to the incidents that sometimes make my life sticky, as a stay-at-home-mom. So I started a list of all the troubles Jesus endured, all of them eventually culminating on the cross. Here it is:
- Physically worn down and destroyed
- His gifts and abilities were often ignored or discredited, and later totally rejected/wasted by the people who killed him
- Cut off from friends, family, and the outside world
- Bore the weight of the sins of the world, an impossibly huge demanding burden, on his shoulders, to hell for us.
- Lost all rest, well-being, comfort, closeness to God (physically, spiritually, and emotionally)
- Was rejected by his culture
- Totally lost control of his life and circumstances
- Felt total despair
- Was totally alone
So, there is a man who understands! Even when I’m in the trenches, poopy diapers a-plenty, lack of time, running on zero sleep, with guests coming over to eat the dinner I haven’t cooked yet. The remarkable thing about Jesus was, he suffered stress, despair, and isolation, but not because he doubted God (like I do) and believed he had no choice but to deal with it alone (like me). He CHOSE to take it all on, so we wouldn’t have to.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:12)
More than before (since I made that list), my mind turns to Jesus when strain, stress, or tiredness creeps up on me. More than before, I don’t mind so much that it’s there. It crept up on Jesus, and he let it. He took it on for me. He understands! He’s is certainly my example for sacrificial motherhood, but oh so much more. His perfect love and life go on record for me. He’s my stand-in….better than a mom-friend!