A while back I read a post on Steady Mom called “It’s supposed to be hard.” I especially identified when she said, “Instead of accepting this as the natural course of things, each time I noticed a difficult situation, I would push against it. Trying not to let it disturb me, I’d grapple and study and analyze it to death, looking for the “perfect” solution.”
The post gave me a lot to think about in terms of letting go of the need to make my days run perfectly smoothly and accepting that this way of life called motherhood is a lot more complicated than I’ll ever be able to handle perfectly. There are no quick fixes or magic systems, try as we might to find them.
But that still left me wondering, “why?” Why does life have to be so full of frustrations and disappointments and people (especially little people) who won’t do just exactly what you want them to do all the time?
I’ve heard before that God uses our children to teach us more than we will ever teach them. As I was mulling this idea over in my brain, it hit me. If God is trying to teach me a lesson, it’s probably not a lesson in organization. It often feels like the hallmark of a good mother is a perfectly labeled playroom, wholesome made-from-scratch meals on the table, and a closet full of age-appropriate and educational craft supplies. And in order to achieve that Nirvana you have to be on top of it. Have a meal plan. Declutter your stuff. Learn some kind of voodoo magic that will make your child sit down for more than five minutes and enjoy the activity you slaved over. But looking back over my years in Sunday School, I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible where God was particularly concerned with someone’s cooking skills. I’m not sure that He cares about my ability to stick to a schedule, or my impeccable taste in home decor. But over and over again God is concerned with what goes on in a person’s heart.
When I’m feeling like things are not going as well as they should I’m so quick to try to find a solution or a system that will make the problem go away. But searching the internet and making to-do lists doesn’t leave a lot of room for listening to God. Maybe instead of trying to fix the problem I need to take a look at what needs to be fixed in me, and then let God do the fixing.
So when my days are hard I have to remember: God is giving me opportunities to learn. When I’m feeling behind, he’s teaching me to be patient. When I’m feeling overwhelmed he’s teaching me to let go of my expectations. When I’m feeling envious he’s teaching me to have a grateful heart. When I’m feeling like everyone wants something from me he’s teaching me to love others more than myself. When I don’t know what to do he’s teaching me to trust in him.
Pinterest will always be around with clever ideas I may or may not ever get around to doing. But those things won’t make my life any easier. It’s supposed to be hard. God has more important things to teach me than how to get my child to eat his green beans.