“Heaven help me,” I said, in utter exasperation. And then, it occurred to me… heaven help me.
I pulled myself to my knees and said a quick prayer, pleading with the Lord to give me the strength that I lacked.
And He did.
Sometimes, I forget to ask. Because I am strong and I am capable and I can do things for myself, thank you very much. But mothering is so hard, and I get so tired and sometimes I simply don’t have it in me to be what my children need…
We need not ever mother alone. When we are stressed, our nerves and patience wearing thin, God is there, ready and willing to fill in the gaps. He knows what our children need – what love and tenderness they deserve and he will help us when we feel we are falling short. He will loan us the love that is required. We need only ask.
Last year, my son Sam managed to collect a meager, but still cherished collection of Pokemon cards. Every day, he carried them around in his pants pocket, and every day I reminded him to take them out before he threw his pants into the laundry room to be washed. Most days, he remembered. But sometimes, he would forget and I would pull the cards out of his pocket before starting the washing machine, each time shaking my head. One of these days, I was going to miss them and his cards would be ruined. It was a disaster waiting to happen, and when it did, I was going to be ready with my “I told you so.”
Sure enough, on a fateful Tuesday afternoon, I missed the cards and mistakenly sent them through the wash. By the time his jeans came out of the dryer, his stack of Pokemon cards was a wilted pile of frayed edges and blurred pictures. I sighed. It was another two hours before Sam would be home from school, but the lecture started building in my mind right there on the spot. I knew he would blame me – would be upset that I had ruined his cards. And buddy, let me tell you, I was going to share a piece of my mind when he started pointing fingers at me. Because the cards belonged to him and he forgot to get them out of his pocket and it is not my responsibility and on, and on it went.
After school, I pulled Sam aside and handed him his cards, explaining what had happened. His face instantly fell. With an innocence I didn’t expect, he looked up at me, tears welling in his eyes and said, “Can you help me fix them?”
Heaven help me.
I swallowed my lecturing words and took Sam upstairs where we ironed and trimmed his cards, salvaging what we could. But it wasn’t me. I was the lecture, the I told you so and you should have known better. But God knew that Sam’s ruined cards were lesson enough and what he needed was an outpouring of love. And so He loaned me a little to get me through.
Mothering is hard, gritty, emotionally draining work. So much is expected of us and our reserves of energy and strength can be depleted so quickly. But heaven help us, we don’t have to manage alone. The raising of children is a holy work – a divinely appointed responsibility that is well worth the attention of our Father in Heaven. Ask. Ask with an open heart and let Him loan you the love that you need.