So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

My whole life, I dreamed of being a wife and a mom. I had career goals and aspirations but I didn’t want those things if they were separate from getting married and having kids. A family of my own—that was the ultimate dream.

But as life often goes, I had to wait. And most of my close childhood friends did not. They married their high school sweethearts. I was a bridesmaid and sang at their weddings. I was happy for them and I was excited to someday find what they had found. Sure, I wished it was happening for me, too. But I was hopeful that I’d find my man in college. 

College came and went. I dated a few guys but I didn’t find my husband. It seemed like everyone else did though. The months after college felt like a jewelry store was on parade before my eyes. My newsfeed was full of proposals, engagement photos, and beautiful weddings. I should have been happy for all of my friends and a part of me was. But it was getting more difficult. 

It wasn’t just disappointing. It was hurtful. It hurt to see another friend get engaged. It hurt to listen to their proposal stories and wedding plans. It hurt to throw them a shower or plan their bachelorette party. To pile on top of the weddings, many of my friends were having babies, too. They had what I wanted. All of it. And I wasn’t getting it. I was starting to wonder if I ever would. 

I began to hate social media. Snarky thoughts would creep into my mind. Isn’t that a perfect little family? Well, aren’t they lucky? Ugh, do they have to post a picture of their “adorable” kids EVERY day? 

Jealousy talking. Bitterness speaking. Loud and clear. I didn’t want to become bitter and cynical but my hurting heart was real. 

I started taking my pain to God. I didn’t know why God was making me wait but He was. HE was. It wasn’t my friends’ fault. They weren’t trying to break my heart by sharing their blessings and their joy. They were celebrating what God had done in their lives! As they should!

And honestly, I knew that someday, if I did get engaged, I’d likely post the picture on social media, too. I’d be so excited that my joy would just spill out. And, yes, when I finally had a baby, I knew I’d be guilty of oversharing photos of my “adorable” child (and I do).

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Sometimes, the rejoicing part comes easily. Other times, it is so difficult that it hurts. Sometimes, other people’s joy causes us pain. 

But God says to rejoice with them. The only way I was able to do this when I was hurting was to cry out to God about my pain in private so that I could rejoice with my friends in public. I had to give my pain to Him daily. Sometimes hourly. And I had to ask Him to change my heart. Take out the snarky, sarcastic and jealous thoughts and replace them with His truth.

The truth is that He’d blessed me in so many other ways. The truth was that He was in control of the timing of my life. The truth was His plans are better than mine. The truth was: these are my friends! How could I NOT rejoice for them?

It wasn’t easy. But jealousy, bitterness, and cynicism are not from God. Don’t buy into the lies that they tell you. I don’t know why God gives to some of us, takes away from some us, and makes some of us wait. But, I do know that at different points in our lives, we all find ourselves in each of those circumstances. 

If you are in a season of weeping or waiting, pour out your pain to God and ask Him to help you rejoice with those who are rejoicing around you. I’m so glad that I didn’t let bitterness completely overtake me. 

Bitter didn’t make me feel better. Instead, it stole any joy I could have felt with those closest to me. It would have alienated my relationships and ruined me. I’m so thankful for God’s strength and grace during that time in my life. And for dear friends and family who let me cry on their shoulders when I needed them. 

Which brings me to my last point. Are you currently in a season of rejoicing? Be sensitive to the fact that your joy may cause others pain. For every new engagement, there’s a woman struggling with singleness. For every new pregnancy, there’s a woman who’s experienced a loss or infertility. For every proud parenting moment, there’s a mama out there with a wayward child. Celebrate your blessings but don’t forget to weep with those around you who are weeping. Reach out to them and grieve with them. Pray with them. Notice their pain and give them some love. 

“…Blessed are those who weep now, for you will laugh.” Luke 6:21

Originally published on the author’s blog

Shannon Lenz

I am a wife to my best friend, a mama to a sweet boy and baby girl, and a dog mom. My mission is to write words that encourage, comfort, inspire, and draw my readers closer to the Lord. When I'm not writing or chasing after my kids, I'm singing, reading, or cheering on the Huskers. You can read more from me at http://shannonlenz.com/.

While I Wait for Another Door to Open, I’ll Hold One For Someone Else

In: Faith, Living
Woman teaching another woman by computer

I’m waiting for another door. All my life, I’ve been told that when God closes one door, He opens another. And here I am, staring at the imminent end of the business I’ve built from nothing. Closing down what I started up from sheer willpower, too much caffeine, and the bold determination to work for myself. Scratching out what I made from scratch . . . and it feels horrible. God didn’t just close this door. He slammed it shut, boarded the whole thing up, and hammered the nails in where I cannot pry them open. Believe me. I’ve tried....

Keep Reading

Separating Work From Home is a Must For Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom with baby smiling

If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 11-year-old boy with his pale feet sticking out from under the blanket, on his way to the morgue after a gun accident.   If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the still, blue form of the 3-month-old who passed away in his sleep. We gave CPR and all the medicines “just in case,” but that baby was gone long before his caregiver brought him in through the door. If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 3-year-old...

Keep Reading

When Teens Are Hard to Love, You Love Them Harder

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy sitting with hood up

I lay face down on the floor, praying. Praying in the loosest sense of the word. Praying in the Romans 8:26 way—you know, when the Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Because I could not utter any actual coherent thoughts at that point. I was weary and beaten down. Day after day I had been in combat, battling an opponent I didn’t anticipate: one of my children. My own child, one of the people I had lovingly grown inside my body and loved sacrificially for all these years, had staunchly and repeatedly put himself in opposition...

Keep Reading

In This Stage of Marriage, it Feels Like We’re Roommates Who Share the Same Kids

In: Faith, Marriage
Distant couple on phones in bed

How do you get it back? How do you get back the love you once had? Everyone told me marriage was hard and having kids was hard, but I had no idea it would be this hard. I thought everyone was lying because our relationship was solid before marriage. We were best friends. Some days I feel like we’re roommates who share the same kids. It disgusts me even to say that, but it’s the truth. Marriage is hard and has ugly sides to it that everyone seems afraid to talk about. RELATED: Keep Showing Up Even When Marriage is...

Keep Reading

You Are the God of Details, but God These Details Don’t Make Sense

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Window open with shutters

That was not the plan. What just happened in there? We walked out a bit defeated. More than a bit. I felt deflated. Things were supposed to be different by now. This wasn’t what I asked for or expected. This wasn’t even what they told me would happen. We cross the street in silence. Headed to the car and as soon as I shut the car door, I could no longer hold it in. I let the tears flow. All this unknown. I don’t understand. This is life. This is foster care. This is what we chose. That doesn’t make...

Keep Reading

I Am a Good Enough Mom

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother kissing toddler

I came to motherhood knowing nothing about the job. My mother’s example wasn’t an example at all, more of something to forget, and maybe even get therapy for. My own son was the first newborn I’d ever held. When I became a mom, I was 23 and clueless.  Because of my personality, I wanted to do everything right and parenthood was no exception. I read all the books on parenting I could. I talked to older moms and soaked up all the advice they gave me. Having no idea what I was doing made me look to outside sources to inform...

Keep Reading

God’s Plan For Me Wasn’t What I Expected

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman walking with children silhouette

I grew up in a family where we knew who God was. We went to church, and we were involved in church. However, when we weren’t at church, time spent in the Word fell to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were wonderful people, but we didn’t make that a priority in my house.  Going into adulthood, I realized I had deceived myself into believing I had a relationship with God. I knew God loved me, but I questioned whether I loved Him. I wasn’t living life in a way that was glorifying to Him. I’m not only...

Keep Reading

But God is Still Good

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking out window

“I can’t afford a new one,” I thought to myself as I shampooed another stain. This can’t keep happening. Maybe I made a mistake. I have to make this last. And the couch. And the clothes. And all the things. We are done having babies. The price of food has doubled. It’s astronomical to fill the cars with gas. Things are closing in on me. How can I best serve my family? Survival mode engaged. When I read the news, when I follow the headlines, when I listen to the conversations around me . . .  I hear fear. Loss....

Keep Reading

Jesus Helps Me Smile Through the Weary Moments of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding toddler girl, color photo

“Mom, why aren’t you smiling?” My 4-year-old took one look at my face, and like an open book, she could read me. Sometimes I wish I could hide it better, tucked behind an infinite smile or a pasted-on happy face. Sometimes I wish my beautiful children—so young, free, and fun—wouldn’t see my face on a day like today. RELATED: Motherhood is Hard, But Loving You is the Easiest Thing I’ve Ever Done You see, it’s just so hard—all of it. And I am just so tired. Between working a job, trying to keep up with being a supportive wife and...

Keep Reading

The Guilt of an Angry Mother Meets Grace

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and son hug at home

“No one’s perfect,” I think. I’m mopping up my overspilled anger like the remnants of an erupted chocolate volcano that hit the kitchen floor.  It was the last bucking whine of “I don’t want chocolate in my milk” that did it. The culmination of about one million “I want chocolate in my milk”s ended with a sticky muddy river of it from highchair to floor.  After reasoning with my toddler, which never works well, I gave in to his adamant refusal of white milk for a chocolatey exchange. He responded to my surrender like a 2-year-old. He revolted. Little feet...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.