So here I am. Sitting on my couch, exhausted, and anticipating another sleepless night. I really have two options: 1) dread the thought of waking up 2-3+ times, or 2) pray, and hope for the best. The latter is kinda hard, isn’t it? Well, you’re not alone.
Let me just start off by saying that I think motherhood is wonderful. It’s everchanging, beautiful, and exciting moments are priceless. I am nowhere near the Proverbs 31 wife or mother I would love to be, but I try to aim for it every day, humbly by God’s grace alone. Next, all my efforts and advice is based on the strength I have in the Lord, none of which I achieved on my own. None of which I can brag about or say I’m some kind of superwoman because Lord knows, I’m not. I simply want to give a ray of hope in your moments of weakness or despair, because let’s face it, as mothers, we all have those moments. Lastly, this is a journal from my heart, this is what I feel, and am compelled by God’s work in my life—giving me passion—to share some good news with you! So here it goes.
Today my little Evalyn Mae turns 6 months. The thought of that just brings tears to my eyes. I can’t express the joy she has brought into our lives, I truly thank God for her each day. I knew motherhood would never be easy, but there have been moments so far that have been very very challenging. I feel fortunate enough to say we have never experienced any major life-threatening situations, but there have been other challenges that have made some days/moments very hard.
First off, we are 6 months in with minimal sleep at the night, waking up at least 2-3+ times a night. Teething, a boatload of soiled diapers…and stained clothes on the regular (ha)! The joys of motherhood, right? Well, most mornings I am awakened by my sweet baby’s cry and I don’t want to get out of bed. Physically I’m a wreck, mentally I’m a blur. But naturally, I take my little Ev into my bed and I try to entertain her with singing, oo-ing, and rattles. It works for a little, but then it’s time for this tired mama to get up! If it’s not those sleepless nights, it’s those moments of sudden crying, or screaming while driving home…etc…you name it! But, in those anxious moments, what do you do?
Well, personally I try to remind myself to pray and rely on the Lords strength – I say that humbly…I try but often fail. I definitely don’t pray as much I ought too. I don’t remind myself enough of the Lord’s sufficiency but I’m striving to. I’m striving to have joy in moments of exhaustion, I’m striving to have peace in moments of anxiety, and I’m striving to be more selfless in moments of selfishness. It takes time. But I do think it really comes down to these two things: choosing to be joyful and depending on God’s strength. Personally, the best way for me to maintain those two things is reading and meditating on God’s Word, and praying daily. Motherhood is such a sanctifying process. When you realize the faithfulness of God and the rich promises of power and strength we have in Christ, we can remain joyful and at peace even through tough times! Not that we rejoice in the emotional, spiritual, and physical struggle itself…we are human, and of course, pain does not feel good…but we rejoice knowing that God is working something great in us, maturing and perfecting our faith, and ultimately is being glorified through our remaining faithful in the midst of hardships! Not only that, but it’s our duty as obedient Christians to be joyful and thank God always, listen to Paul has to say about our duty to be joyful:
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-1 Thess 5:16–18
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.”
You no longer have reason to lack joyfulness. When you realize our strength in Christ by His Spirit (2 Tim 1:7; 2:1; 2 Cor 12:10; Eph 6:10), your perspective starts to change, and your focus turns from your trial (the difficulties of being a mother itself to the God who supplies all our needs richly in Christ (Phil 4:19).
In those moments I’m so thankful for His promises. They’re so fulfilling! I also then realize that this little child is fully dependent on me! And I ought to delight in providing her needs, just as our heavenly Father delights in providing ours. I sure don’t want to look back one day and regret not choosing joyfulness in this precious time. Time goes by so quickly, and we don’t have time to lack joy!
Below I have listed a few ways you can remain joyful throughout your day. They’re basic, but they go a long way. These are a few things that I have applied to my life recently that have really been life-changing.
How to Maintain Joyfulness:
- Devotion: Wake up, get your coffee, find a cozy spot, read Gods word, meditate, and pray. Just try to do this every day, or every other. Even if it’s a matter of 10-15 minutes, it helps so so much. If you’re a working or on-the-go mom, try listening to sermons in your car!
- Join a women’s Bible study group: this really helps you connect with other moms or fellow believers who may be going through the same struggles. You are always united with other believers! Honestly, I never really joined a “formal” Bible study before until recently (mainly because I was a student/working crazy hours before that never seemed to work). But now, after joining, it motivated me to study God’s word, to come prepared, and to engage in discussion. It’s extremely helpful!
- Pray for your child: you prayed for your child in the womb, now continue to do so! Before bed, I like to walk over to Ev’s crib look down on her sweet angel face and pray for a restful night, and in the morning, I pray for protection. When you pray for your child you realize you have every reason to rejoice, all this effort, pain, dedication is all for this precious gift the Lord gave us! What a privilege!
- Remind yourself of the privilege of motherhood! When you realize the privilege and high calling of motherhood, your perspective really changes–at least it did for me. God specifically chose us to mother your child(ren). And as every privilege, it is a gift.
- Listening/sing songs of praise (aka worship music): create a playlist (I like modern hymns), or turn on some background worship music to keep your thoughts centered on Christ and his promises all day!
- Try to memorize a bible verse each day/week: Try to pick one that’s personal to what you’re struggling with that week/season. I started doing this recently and I love it. After my morning devotion, I write down a verse that I felt was personal to my current circumstances, and I try to memorize it throughout the day, and by doing that it’s a great way to meditate and pray based on that verse! It also helps with mommy’s brain haha.
I by no means fulfill all the above, but like I said, I try. And that’s the best I or you can do. We are all a work-in-progress until the Lord returns!
Here is my closing prayer. Pray it too if you are unable to find the right words.
I humbly come before you.
I look to you for all my needs. You are sovereign, perfect, majestic, holy, righteous, all-powerful, love, faithful, and full of mercy and loving-kindness! I ask that you would create in me a joyful heart because I know that is what pleases you.
I confess that I am nothing without you…nothing without the grace of forgiveness you’ve given me…in Christ…and the grace of power and strength to live the kind of life that pleases you. I thank you for it, knowing how short I fall of your glory each day.
Please your perfect work in my life. Help me to see motherhood as a privilege and an honor that you have granted me! Help me to rejoice when it’s hard to…when I’m exhausted, irritable, angry, bitter…not rejoicing in the trial itself, but in knowing you’re working something wonderful in me that will ultimately bring you glory!
I thank you that you are the Sovereign God who created me and sustains me. You are my strength, refuge, and wisdom…the one I look to for all things. Help me to keep my eyes on you, and on Christ, and on what I can do each moment today to respond to my circumstances with joy and humility because I know that is your will for your children, and that is what pleases you.
I ask these things in the name of your Son, my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ,
FYI- I have a journaling Bible, you can find it here.