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Have you ever become something or someone you thought you could never be? Or how about becoming something/someone you said you’d just flat out never be? Well, there’s this funny thing I’ve learned about never and it’s this: it is one of those times that even though it can’t be found anywhere on our clocks or in our calendars, it can still come to pass – and in fact, it usually does. At least that’s been my experience in life.
It seems that every thing I’ve ever said never to, these were the very things that God had planned for me. I said I’d never marry, and yet God led me to my husband. I said I could never quit my job or would never be a stay at home wife, and yet, as I shared last week, God asked me to quit my job and I became just that. I said I’d never have kids, and yet God gave me a daughter… I could go on and on, but instead let me just stop there and ask you this: do you find this all to be odd or find yourself wondering if this is all just mere coincidence? I know I did, until I started learning about spiritual warfare and how the enemy operates and then it all started to became clear.
You see, right where God has planned a “forever” for us, Satan plants a “never” seed in our lives. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that every “never” statement we have ever proclaimed stems from an intended forever from God. For example if I say: “I will never do drugs.” Obviously doing drugs is not God’s intention for us, so this “never” aligns with God’s will. But what about if I say: “I will never believe in God.” Well, belief in God is something He intends for our forever and so it is these “meant to be blossoming” wills of God that I’m talking about – this is where Satan plants his “never weeds,” and once a weed takes root, they can often be difficult to remove. This has been the case for me in many of God’s intended forever’s in my life; particularly with being a mom.
When I finally realized (after 8 years of marriage and 29 years into my life) that God had planted a yearning in my heart to be a mom, it was very much a “#SayWhat?!” moment for us. Much like Him asking me to quit my job was, but this was another #SayWhat moment we said yes to and we made that decision quickly to try and get pregnant. After all, we weren’t getting any younger! Little did I know or expect that this would occur for us right away - literally with our first attempt. Lord Almighty, what did we just do?! Even though we had decided this is what we wanted, I hadn’t spent the time weeding my garden before we actually did so, so all those “never weeds” were still there, firmly rooted all around my newly budding baby. Do you get the picture here? Can you see the problem and where this is leading?
For the last five years, the weeds planted by the enemy all throughout my life have been popping up. Weeds such as: having kids ruins your marriage, or you can’t have kids and your dreams too, just to name two. At first I tried to just pluck them out and toss them away. “If I just try to remove these thoughts, they will go away,” I convinced myself. But just like any hardy weed, these lies from Satan kept coming back, popping up at unexpected times and places in my role in our family life, making me feel like an inadequate, unloving mom. You see, if Satan can’t stop us from becoming what God created us to be, He will do the next best thing – make us believe we are not good at it and doubt that we should’ve become that. He has done that very thing with me, and quite successfully with one weed in particular that I have not been willing to remove.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve held very high standards for things and liked everything to be just so – a perfectionist as most like to call it. Growing up, our house was far from perfect so I often stuck to my room where I could control where everything little thing was and how it was done. Everything had its very clean, organized, and photographically memorized place, and don’t you dare move it! This often caused friction between my mom and me. Whenever the topic of a messy house came about between us, she would always say: “I used to be just like you, but when you have four kids, you learn to let it go. Come back and talk to me when you have kids because then you will understand.” My response to this of course was: “I will never have kids so my house will always be clean and just how I like it, but even if I did ever have kids, I would be able to keep up with it all.” Yes, I was that disrespectful. Not something I’m proud of. But the issue I want to address here is - can you see the lies already taking root?
The enemy recognized my weakness of perfection take root at a very young age, and so he fed it every chance he got, and this was one of the bigger chances. I saw letting go as a negative thing – as my mom having to give up something important to her because she had kids. I even felt that perhaps she resented us for that, though now I’m not sure she ever actually felt that way, or if this is just one of the lies I was fed to put a wedge in our relationship and to make me believe that if I became a mom I would have to give up “perfection” and then I too would resent my kids, causing them to feel like a burden rather than a blessing. I also mistook her saying she had “let go” as she had “given up,” which made me determined all the more to never let go because I didn’t want to go through life having given up on it, as I perceived my mom had done.
Out of these lies a fear grew – a fear of letting go because of what I’ve thought that means. It’s no wonder, really that my response to God when He said you were created to have kids/be a mom was #SayWhay?! But God has been at work spraying down these weeds with His weed killer – His Word, and I am now finally seeing the light – His truth – peak through as the weeds die off and begin to recede. Letting go is not about giving up completely. Letting go is about giving up the worldly for the Godly. Or giving up perfect performance for perfect surrender as Lysa TerKeurst puts it. To be a Godly mom means to give of yourself sacrificially. Something my mom had come to understand and do very well, but something I myself have not been very good at. However, this is something that God has been convicting in me to change for quite some time; particularly this week.
I am currently reading/studying “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst. And this week we were asked to read Ch.’s 2 & 3. The topic of 2 is all about listening to God speak, so we were asked to watch and listen for those #SayWhat moments with God. Well, my week has been full of them, and though He has spoken to me on several topics, the primary one has been on my role as a mom. Here’s just a select few of sooo many things He spoke to me through:
“A Mother’s love is the heart of the home. Her children’s sense of security and self-worth are found there.” ~unknown
“I believe that if moms understood how strategic their roles were in this battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation, they would grow in excitement about this great job God created them to fulfill.” ~Sally Clarkson
“As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible.” ~Ruth Bell Graham
As I said, these are just a few of so many #SayWhat moments with God this week and this was all tied in with the second part of this week’s study assignment – Ch. 3 on radical obedience. This chapter really hit home for me – pun intended. I cried all the way through. I could literally quote the entire chapter and tie it into God speaking to me about the state of my motherhood journey, but there is one in particular that sums it all up best:
“I could have a neat and tidy house where things never got lost, misplaced, or broken if there were no others living there but me. But my heart never wanted just a house. My heart longs for a home full of people who I love.” ~Pg. 50
God had plans to call me to be a mom since before the beginning of time – of this I have no doubt. The enemy attempted to turn God’s forever for me into a never, but he has not prevailed! While this chapter may end today with a mom who is struggling to completely rid herself of his lies and to let go of seeking perfection, the full story is not over yet. A new chapter is just beginning. One that leads to saying yes to God and ends with a amen!
… Heading out the door, I tried not to cringe at what my daughter chose to wear – her red, white, and blue 4th of July t-shirt, pink baggy pajama pants covered in pigs, and aqua with bright yellow flower printed rain boots – despite the fact it was a sunshiny day, no rain in sight! “What nonsense. What was I thinking letting her pick out her own outfit and attempt to brush her own hair? Her curls are an out of control, ratted mess!” I thought to myself as I was being pulled down the steps into our driveway by our over exuberant puppy - every tug on his leash a painful reminder of the neck injury that had been plaguing my life.
As I’m walking down the driveway and into the grass to let the dog do his thing, a “yeehaw” pierces my ears causing both myself and our other dog to startle. “Watch me race momma, watch me race,” my daughter gleefully calls out to me, galloping down the driveway at full speed on her stick horse which she so faithfully rides everywhere she goes. But I can’t turn to watch because our puppy is dragging me in the other direction – my neck injury preventing the turn of my head. Frustrated I wonder if I will ever have the time to properly leash train him, or better yet to train him to be off a leash and still obey, but my thoughts are quickly interrupted with the sound of a horn and the screeching of breaks.
Frantically I tug on the puppies leash to turn him around so I can see what’s going on and when I do, the leash breaks free from his collar. Reacting quickly, my neck searing in pain as a result, I bend down and grab him by the collar just in time for him to not run off and join our other dog which is standing right in the middle of the road just staring at the now stopped truck still honking at her to move out of the way. Realizing she’s not going to budge, and while still crouched down trying to keep hold of my extra-energized by all the commotion puppy, I begin to call out to my other dog, trying to coax her back into the yard. But instead, this only succeeds at drawing the driver’s attention to me and I now find myself thinking, “Oh perfect. I wonder what he must be thinking right now taking this all in – my daughter and her mismatched outfit and mess of a hair, me still in my pj’s and un-brushed hair as well, and my two misbehaving dogs completely ignoring me...and in the middle of the day!"
“Wow. I’ve really got it together,” I start to think to myself, but this train wreck of a moment filled with negative thoughts is suddenly interrupted with a, “Giddy up horsey! Watch me race momma, watch me race!” And as I turn my attention to her direction, her red curls bouncing freely, a great big smile on her face stretched from ear to ear, I realize she is completely oblivious to the imperfection of the moment that I had been so wrapped up in! She didn’t care at all! And that’s when I suddenly got it. In that moment, seeing the look on her face – the look of pure unbridled joy - I understood what letting it go is all about. For there is joy to be found in imperfection – the true joy of the Lord. And my life suddenly felt happy despite the chaos. It suddenly felt right, imperfections and all. I may not have had it all together in that moment, but in that moment I realized that together we had it all, and that is perfect enough for me.
“Heavenly Father, Thank you for the privilege of having children. Allow every day that I’m blessed to be a mother to be a special experience. Help me to savor every moment that comes, and may my children always be confident in my love and devotion to them. Amen.” ~Kim Boyce