If there is one thing I’ve learned from motherhood, it’s that it pushes you to your limits. Nothing can prepare you for the way being a mom stretches you.
I mean this very literally—I had three pregnancies, the last one carrying twins to 30 weeks—but also figuratively.
I have never cried more or loved harder than I have for my kids. I’ve caught vomit in my hands. I’ve bribed my kids with every last thing on God’s green earth to eat just one bite of supper. I’ve read the same book five times in a row and did the voices every time. I’ve danced like a lunatic (actually this is my sweet spot).
I’ve been a climbing a tower, a tickle monster, a baby, a wolf, a tunnel, and some version of a LEGO-building, ball-throwing, superhero who wears a mask, five necklaces, and a diaper on her head. We get real specific over here.
There’s been a lot of crying. From all parties involved.
I’ve had sleepless nights. I’ve had days I didn’t want to get out of bed. I’ve also had paralyzing moments of fear when I imagine all the ways my children could get hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually and I realize I can’t protect them from everything.
I’ve known frustration, helplessness, and exhaustion.
But I would do it all again a million times over for my mind-boggling little miracles of humans. I look at them in awe and wonder as they grow into themselves.
Man, they challenge me and teach me and convict me. It’s no surprise that being part of a family is one of God’s primary ways of refining us.
I’ve always said I didn’t realize how selfish I was until I got married. And then I had kids and laughed at my precious, nap-taking, naive, past self because you don’t know sacrifice until you are responsible for helping another human survive.
Being a mom is hard. It’s one hundred percent rewarding, but it’s so hard.
There are some perky life coaches out there who keep spinning this narrative that if we just try hard enough, we will become boss moms who achieve all our dreams and raise perfect kids, complete with a book deal.
We start to think that if we’re struggling, we must be doing something wrong. We need to try harder, dig deeper, be better. There’s some magical mom-power deep inside our stretched wombs that if we could just tap into, we would achieve this ever-elusive boss-mom status. We don’t like to reach our limits. We don’t like to admit our insufficiencies.
But there’s a reason God lets us struggle. We are not self-sufficient. We will never be self-sufficient.
Self-sufficiency is a lie.
Striving for self-sufficiency as a mom will be a massive ball of stress, guilt, rage, sadness, and Oreos. The last one sounds good but trust me, in this context, it’s not.
We need God. More than we will ever admit to ourselves. We are limited creatures who were made to worship their limitless God. Self-sufficiency robs God of glory.
I have four kids—ages five and under. My twins were born in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic at 30 weeks and spent over 70 days in the NICU. Almost every day since then, I get in bed at night and think How did I get to the end of this day?
People ask me all the time, “How do you do it?”
The most honest answer I have is, “By the grace of God.”
Every day is beyond me.
I am not sufficient for the task. But God is.
He gives us limitations and struggles to remind us that we need Him. We are not good enough, and we never will be. We need to have the right posture before our God. He is Lord . . . we’re not. He’s in control . . . we’re not. He’s all-wise and all-powerful . . . we’re not. He is strong when we are weak.
And this leads us into an intimate fellowship with Him where we are fueled by His strength, His peace, and His love. A relationship where we recognize and worship our Source.
But we need to wake up every morning with courage, facing our battles with the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing He promises us strength, peace, comfort, wisdom, patience, and all the other fruits of the Spirit. Victory is His and we can trust Him for it. Let Him be your sustainer.
As moms, we have to manage so many things that our need for control infringes on our trust in God. Our daily struggles dim our perspective of who God is and we allow our limits and failures to lead us down a path of self-sufficiency instead of resting in the person and power of God.
God is indeed stretching us.
We may carry some stretch marks. But just as the stretch marks on our body evidence growth and life, so do our spiritual stretch marks.
The stretch marks that result from motherhood reflect a journey that includes pain, struggle, waiting, and exhaustion, but it’s also a path filled with joy, anticipation, peace, strength, and growth.
He carries us beyond our limits and sustains us. We are stretched but He is victorious.
God is asking you to trust Him when you’ve been stretched to your limit. Is God enough for you?
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).