i all-too-easily forget where my help comes from. and it seems like when i start to forget this, i can just spiral down into a continual cycle of trying hard but failing miserably, at trying to do everything on my own.
"i lift my eyes up, to the heavens, where does my help come from?"
in our culture of rugged individuals and successful women who are praised if they can "do it all," from being good mothers (in someone's eyes), having careers/important roles, being martha stewart homemakers, not "losing" themselves, looking good, being something, having friends and a life and pretty, happy pictures to display somewhere...there are voices that shout incessantly at who a woman should be. these voices weigh me down, make me lose sight of where my feet are supposed to be heading and what lights are to be lighting my path... and all of it just makes me so. tired.
funny how believing lies, even just a little, can exhaust the spirit. after all, it is all a lie -this notion that we can do it all as women and that we still have something to prove to just be women. it's so ridiculous it's almost laughable, until i remember how tired it makes me and how tired it is constantly making so many women all over the world...then, it's just plain sad and upsetting. how in the world do these lies mask themselves as light for our feet -beautiful, alluring light, even? isn't it amazing how it can do that? how deceptive it can be?
i've had some rough little moments as a mom in the last month. one entailed trying to check out books for asher's summer reading program while he was trying to make a grand escape in the check-out line after doing 5 things i'd told him not to do...of course, something about the silence and order of a public library just makes it worse. not to mention the library worker who was checking our books out and how she was stereotypically staring at me above the rim of her glasses like i was quite the sight. here i was, unable to wrangle my toddler and keep my things together and losing my patience...at least i was encouraging his literary development, right?
other times it has been little things, like mopping the kitchen floor, only to spill sticky orange juice on it the next morning...trying out a new craft with all the hope in the world and miserably failing, reaching out to neighbors and friends and getting no response the first, second, third, etc, time...wondering if i'll ever write that story i've dreamt of writing and if i will cease to be someone if i can't manage one child in the library check-out line without a sweat and never do write that story i've dreamt of writing...
those are just little examples. but they've left me feeling like i don't know what i'm doing and like i need help. and like i definitely don't measure up or have anything to show for how "successful" i am...and though these feelings are arising in my role as a wife and mom now, i recognize them from my past, as well...in the weak moments i've experienced trying to do ministry cross-culturally, in frienships, in efforts to make something of myself...they are not new, though the scenery has changed. God is still trying to grow me and teach me to depend on him fully, in every season of my life.
as unpleasant as these "weak" moments feel, i am beginning to see and know and understand that they can be a gift if i choose to receive them as such. fists down and hands open.
i must remember who i am following, minute by minute. i have to cling to his voice and remember that he is pleased when i depend on him in weakness, with childlike trust, and never pleased with my "adult" determination to go it alone and pretend i'm stronger than i really am -as woman, a wife, mom, friend, neighbor, minister of the gospel...you name it. i must clothe myself in humility with determination in every role God has put me in. since becoming a mom, i've come face to face with so many subtle temptations (that even look spiritual) to become prideful in mothering/parenting. but God despises my pride and i know it is ultimately destructive in the life of my family, let alone my own spirit.
when jesus came into the world he was nowhere near "successful" in the eyes of the culture around him. he was not popular and was not good-looking. he didn't have cool kicks or flashy hair or a charming voice. but he did depend on God fully.
God wants my dependancy to be on him. he wants to shape my character for my own good, freedom and his glory. my help comes from him and he wants me to know it and even more so, know him. the truth is; it is majorly successful if i choose to depend on his strength and cry out to him for help. i can either call out to him and depend on him or i can try to push through on my own, deceptively believing i am something i'm not and probably just gain a few more wrinkles, a bad attitude, less character and discourage others who are feeling weak, in the process. only one path leads to life (not just for me but for those around me) and this is the one i want my children to grow up watching me walk in. funny, asher's memory verse in sunday school as of late has been, "God is my helper." and he has even begun to say things like "God can help me or protect me when i'm scared..." i can learn a lot from the heart of a child.
"my help comes from you, maker of heaven, creator of the earth..."