Do you ever feel like, as a mom, you can’t feel frustrated or sad or angry at the situation you are in? I do. If I conveyed that life is easy where I’m at, I’m portraying the wrong message. More times than I can count I’m overwhelmed by all that needs to be met and all the people I need to care for throughout the day. Am I so thankful I’m blessed with this life, of course! I wouldn’t be anywhere else.
But I’m also human and no matter how much I pray or know God is with me, the fact is, being human is a physical experience and in the moments when things are tough sometimes you just have to be present and feel it. There is simply no way out but through. And that’s OK.
Being a mom puts you right at the foot of the cross. The messy and mundane, right next to the miraculous. The grounding and heaviness right next to the ethereal and life-giving.
Anyone who’s ever tried to comfort a screaming toddler knows all too well, there is no way out of the feelings but through them.
No matter if your child is sad, scared, anxious, or just plain angry, the wailing that comes out of a small child can be other-worldly as any attempt to comfort just seemingly makes it worse. All they know in that moment is that something is not right, and they don’t know how to fix it.
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And most of the time, the best thing we can do is just be there for them. My son recently came home with a book he made at school titled “My feelings.” It takes you through all the different feelings with pictures displaying the said feeling. At the end, it says, “These are my feelings. All feelings are OK.” That is such a powerful lesson.
All feelings are OK. We are allowed to feel the full range of our feelings—they were given to us by God for a reason.
They can signal when something needs to be celebrated or when something needs to be changed or different. No feeling on its own is inherently bad or good, and people shouldn’t be made to feel they are bad or good for having certain feelings. It’s the actions taken or choices made based on our feelings that we have control over and can direct in a healthy or unhealthy manner.
The thing is, God doesn’t leave us with our feelings and no course of action.
There is always a choice we can make. Sometimes we have to look really hard and oftentimes, the choice is probably not the one we would want in a perfect world. But we do have choices.
For example, in a perfect world, I would have time to read the Bible, time for my kids individually, time for myself, time for all my friends, time to exercise, and time to keep a clean house. But there isn’t enough time in the day for it all, and I am one person. It can leave me feeling overwhelmed extremely quickly.
But I can choose the overwhelm and complain to others and let self-pity creep in . . . or choose to lean into God and parcel out what I can, then get done what I can, and let the lesser matters fall.
Obviously, struggles are more often much deeper than that. Maybe you just lost a loved one, are going through a divorce, are facing tough times at work, or lost your job, are struggling in a relationship . . . the list could go on and on. You have choices in how to handle each of these, but it is OK to feel and process your feelings. It is necessary in order to move forward and should point us to Jesus.
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He knew we would feel things. He came down to earth to be with us in our human-ness. We were created through Him and FOR Him. He wants us to lean on Him. Through our sadness, there can be joy knowing we don’t have to, and can’t, handle it on our own. We have to reach outside of ourselves to the One who made us.
When you see me, I pray you don’t see a mom who seems as if she has it all together (I assure you, I don’t). I pray you see a mom leaning on Jesus every step of the way. He’s there for me and he is there for you, too.
If you need to, cry, wail, and feel your feelings. Get additional support if you need it—from loved ones, friends, and/or medical professionals. Find a healthy outlet to move you through those feelings. Lift up your feelings in prayer. And then look up and rest on the truth that Jesus is right there with you, through it all, and will see you safely to the other side.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).