Generation Cedar

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I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most of the moms reading this feel like not enough most days. I’ll bet some nights you slink into bed guilt-ridden and anxious over all the things you didn’t do today or all the things you did do you wish you hadn’t. I’m guessing you wish you were more joyful, more playful, more patient or wiser or more like some other mother you know. I’m also guessing you wonder right about now how I know all these things about you. The answer is, all mothers feel like they aren’t enough sometimes. In my opinion, it’s the work of our enemy who seeks to destroy us and the best way to do that is with an inside job. So I was knelt beside my bed yesterday morning, sharing some of these concerns with my Father, and instantly He brought to mind the little boy with the few fish and loaves of bread.

You have to picture the story

Thousands of people–literally a sea of faces–needy, hungry, no doubt grumpy by now, and everyone’s looking around for a solution and this little boy (bless him for his courage) brings this little bag of a lunch that’s only enough for him and says, “You can have it.” Now the fact that he brings it and offers it to Jesus speaks about the faith of a child. Who of us would have done that? Who of us would have believed Jesus could have used such a small amount of food to meet such a large need? And the fact that Jesus, who could have called down angels from Heaven to bring the necessary provisions, chose to use a person, a small, humble one with not nearly what was needed to meet the needs. But this story–I’m so glad it’s in the Bible! Because we are that little boy. When I look out at my sea of little people and my heart fails because I know I’m not enough for them, I can offer up my seemingly insignificant gift and He can do miracles with it. Isn’t that the most glorious, wonderful, comforting news on earth? I don’t have to be enough. I only have to have the faith of a child, believing that if I offer what I have, the Lord can multiply it to meet the vast needs in front of me. That’s the whole point of the Christian life: to realize we’re not enough but to know He is. See the lunch is just a lunch by itself. But in the hands of a miracle-worker, the King of the universe, it becomes phenomenal. We have so much potential in His hands! Trust Him to do the work. Mama, take your lunch to Jesus. Do it. Have the faith. Believe that it’s your willingness He wants. It’s your faith He needs to meet the enormous demands in front of you. He can make your little lunch a magnificent feast. (For a powerful shot in the arm each morning, to help you refocus your mission as a mom, don’t miss my devotional book, When Motherhood Feels Too Hard!)
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18 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing this great analogy. It is a good reminder to not let the overwhelming feeling of not getting it all done paralyze us.

    We, as busy and not perfect moms, need to be reminded of this. We might not be able to do it all, but we can bring our little bit to the One who can do wonders with it.

  2. True…I know….but….

    Sometimes we need to “woman up” to those nagging feelings because sometimes we really are doing/being way less than we should…to ourselves and to our families It’s kind of like being a size 16: it may be okay if you are a tall, muscular woman….but it’s probably not really okay if you are petite and 5’2 because being overweight–and the habits that get us there–can shorten our lives and cause us to be unhappy and uncomfortable and plain old unhealthy. And your friends aren’t really being your friends by telling you your just fine how you are. Friends may love you regardless, but they should challenge you to be your best.

    So, if you’re feeling poorly because your house is an unorganized mess, dinner was spaghetti…again, and you were 10 minutes late for your daughter’s play, then, yeah, you do kinda suck right now. Get off Facebook and Pinterest, put down that novel, re-examine your tone of voice….whatever you need to do do start being productive and “on top of things.” I don’t think our (societal trend) habit of lowering and lowering our standards is going to make us more relaxed and happy…happiness comes from being productive and contributing, and having that sense of satisfaction.

    This looks different from mom to mom, household to household, but it holds true.

    But, of course, not saying we can do it alone…without His help 🙂

    I was using the general “you”…not he specific 🙂

    1. Marie,

      I *LOVE* this and I agree completely. I have seen, and have been disheartened at the seemingly increasing trend of “this is just how I am, all messy and stuff, and that’s OK” and I don’t think it’s OK.

      Granted, this post may have sounded a bit like that, but if the reader understood that when I wrote it, I was fighting depression and what I believe was the enemy telling me I just need to give up because I’ll never be as good as I want to be, then you get a little more insight.

      It’s a hard balance, actually, between understanding that our imperfection is not reason to throw in the towel, and yet, womaning up, as you said, and striving to improve our areas of weakness. And also as you said, this looks very different for every woman in every home, each of whom are dealing with a whole different set of circumstances/emotions/challenges.

      So, bring Jesus your lunch, and then work on a better lunch 😉

        1. I totally get what Kelly was saying here. I also agree with you, Marie. Of course we should always strive to be our best, but I think where I sometimes struggle, is that my “best” doesn’t look as good as other people’s “best” to me. I am a very simple, quiet person and I thrive on a simple, quiet life. I don’t have many talents or abilities and I have learned to rest in exactly how God has made me. Of course I always try to do better within the limitations of who I am. But my problem sometimes is that I look at what other people are doing. For example, I know moms bake beautiful cakes for their kids’ parties and throw amazing birthday parties complete with games and treat bags. That will NEVER be me. I just can’t. I have tried and I can’t. I’ve shed tears over it because I feel like I’m failing my kids. But in reality, it is not me and never will be. I’ve learned to rest in that, to throw my kids parties that work within my personality and also make them so, so happy. (And God love them, the simplest things make them happy.) That is just one small example but there are many others. I think this is more what Kelly was speaking to, just that feeling like a failure because you can never seem to measure up no matter how hard you try. So it’s very comforting to me to know that even if I am not enough, God is there to fill in my gaps. And yes, He does help me to strive, but I’ll never be that bubbly and extroverted mom when He has created me to be quiet and reserved.

          1. I could have written EXACTLY what Laura wtote. It’s my lifetime struggle! Wish we were neighbors 🙂 Thank you for this overall post, it really spoke to me.

  3. As moms, we often think we know best what our children need and how to teach them. But really truly it’s a lot better for them to learn how to interact with other people and learn from more people than just their parents. So that’s another reason, why it’s good if we are not “enough” for our family. Maybe they need to be weaned.

  4. Kelly, I feel compelled to share one more thing. As you said, you are coming from a place of having recently given birth to your 11th (10th??) child and were feeling a bit overwhelmed. Well, I am coming fresh from the funeral of my friend…49 years old and a lovely woman, mother, wife, Christian. Her service, though heart wrenching, was beautiful. Without going into details, let’s just say that she was the Proverbs 31 woman-meets-Lucille Ball–with a margarita and a sombrero on top! She was so fun, so funny, and so ferociously dedicated to her family. She treated her husband like a king, and he treated her like a queen. She made a beautiful home and a beautiful homelife for her five children. One after the other, I got to hear how she made holidays special and her home a warm, special, safe space. There were trials for sure, including at least an illness or two and a turbulent teenage-hood for one of the kids…. so it wasn’t about things being perfect, but about her attitude and energy.

    I am not my friend. I am an introspective introvert, so I don’t feel bad that I’m not “her”…but her funeral certainly caused me a great deal of reflection on why I keep failing to be my best me. (best me…not perfect me.)

    She died way too young. She and her husband had so many plans. But…she died a happy and content woman with no regrets. That is what we should all aspire to.

  5. This post will be so beneficial for so many of us. It never ceases to amaze me when God reveals things to us through stories we already know but just never realized how much truly apply to us personally. What an awesome testament to the fact that God hears us, and He answers.

  6. Thank you, Kelly. I needed this encouragement (as so many of us Moms do!). The Lord has done all of the things i am so ill-equipped to do. I simply can’t get it all done! As I was reading it, the Lord moved on my heart to open the window shades, and there outside were our two girls playing together in the sunshine and laughing. What a wonderful reminder from the Lord! Thank you, again. May God richly bless you and your beautiful family! 🙂

  7. Just yesterday I was reflecting how we are supposed to be wives to our OWN husbands- not just some perception of the perfect wife and how this is the same thing with motherhood. We get so easily caught up with our ideas of what is a “good mother” that we lose sight of just serving and discipling the people God placed in our care. And this will look different for each and every one of us. And we can’t accomplish it in the flesh. We need prayer. It is so easy for me to just jump into the day after reading God’s word and glancing over our schedule. I need to seek God’s grace more and more for this job He has given me. Thank you so much for these words and for sharing your heart, Kelly.

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