It was still only two in the morning and Stryder had woken me up for the third time that night. I could hear him rolling around in his crib, crying out, blowing bubbles. Usually it’s cute, but that night I. just. wanted. him. to. stop.
I lay in bed and mentally listed the reasons I needed him to let me sleep:
- I have to get up at five for the women’s conference.
- I’m leading a group at the conference so I need to be well-rested.
- I’m driving six other ladies to the conference and I don’t want to kill us all by falling asleep at the wheel.
- DON’T I DESERVE IT BECAUSE I GIVE MY LIFE FOR THESE CHILDREN AND ALL I WANT IN EXCHANGE IS A LITTLE BIT OF BEAUTY SLEEP?!
Have you been there before? Isn’t it strange how much worse things appear in the middle of the night?
I lay there in bed, seething. As the night went on and Stryder kept waking up, I began to cry big, fat, sorry-for-myself tears.
God, why are you letting this happen? Why won’t you help him go to sleep? Don’t you know I’m doing something for YOU tomorrow? I’m so tired, Lord!
The mental slip went on and on, and when the sun eventually came up I felt as if I hadn’t slept at all, which was basically true. I got ready for the conference and picked up my friends, all the while desperately praying for God to change my attitude. I mean, I had just published a post on parenting with perspective for goodness sake! Where was that perspective now??
Everything had slipped with mere loss of sleep.
The conference started but my heart wasn’t in it. It was as if I was wounded, bent, as our worship leader began to sing words by David Crowder,
And he is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize how beautiful you are
And how great your affections are for me.
It was as if the world reared up and toppled me head over feet. I stood there, looking up at Truth and feeling small. I heard the chorus of the song, but couldn’t sing along:
Oh, how he loves us, oh
How he loves us so
How he loves us all
I am small and my troubles are small, but they feel hard and, This doesn’t feel like love, Lord! This life of mothering feels difficult and overwhelming, and I thought you would help me. I thought you would give me what it takes to be a good mother!
With my head bowed, I let the music wash over me. Hundreds of women singing, it is so beautiful. I feel ashamed inside at the way my life has overwhelmed me when I have so little to worry about. Running water, plenty of food, a beautiful home, healthy children, and husband who loves me. But I am honest, too. Tell God my woes and wait for him to speak.
I listen. And listen. And in the quiet I know wisdom has come home to my heart. I know His voice.
They are just children. You cannot expect them to be adults. They will wake you up; they will cry and yell and disobey and you will train them. They need your grace; they need your patience.
A pause, then there is more. I am scribbling the words in my notes.
You cannot change what life expects of you. You cannot change that they are children. You can only change what you expect out of life. Give it up. Let go of your expectations.
Let go of your expectations. Oh my goodness, there is so much I want out of life. I want to raise my children and have date nights with my husband; I want to read good books and watch good movies, and I want to blog and sew and take pictures and edit them and share my life with people and…where is the time? There is so little time and so many expectations.
Let go of your expectations.
These are the words for me at this conference. This is what I’ve come here to learn. I have been fighting hard for ME and MY time and I have lost my peace as a mother. It’s time for a change.
Brian and my children are going back up to first place. I will probably have to start getting up earlier to write and sew. And ultimately, whatever God expects for my life must become the measurement for what I expect of my life.
Sometimes giving up things we love (like my late nights sewing or writing–or watching movies!) is hard. It’s uncomfortable and agonizing. But God is growing something in me, I can feel it. Patience as a mother, perspective in life, faith in God’s goodness and wisdom. I will hold on to these things because I know that even if this seems like a bit of a waste, it’s a beautiful waste.
What are you struggling with letting go of today? Is there something standing in the way of your most important job? Let’s surrender these things to the Lord and let him guide our expectations. Thanks so much for reading, friends!