To the Mom who is a doer, controlling, hard on herself and is exhausted from living like this–you have permission to fall apart! This is Day #3 of the Lean Into God In Our Motherhood series.
I learned at a very young age that hard work + service + intellect = love!
Fast forward years later, with a career, married and children this formula became my role as problem solver, leader, good listener, helper and creative-go-getter.
As a mom, wife, counselor, community leader and missionary not only did it come in handy but I was applauded, recognized in my jobs, received awards and loved by many.
But this formula was turning me into an exhausted woman, angry mom, unsatisfied wife and disappointed Christian and I couldn’t see it. The blindfold came off one cold January when I began to unravel. It actually started before then but this is when I felt the first of many jolts.
We had entered the new year with some struggles but nothing that was out of the ordinary. Little did I know the journey God had in mind for me and my family as I learned to lean into His everlasting love.
To fall apart and come to a point of brokenness required more faith from me than to continue in the path I was on.
So the unraveling began…
I had no idea that my foundation was deeply rooted in my works and not in His strength, grace, and love. My Heavenly Father knew He needed to reveal this to me in order for me to raise my children with grace, love my husband with grace, extend grace to others but ultimately to show myself grace.
Because after all, you can’t give away what you don’t have.
The worst part for a doer and fixer personality is NOT to be able to keep it all together. It’s frightening when we can’t work towards something. It’s absolutely the most vulnerable place to be when we realize we can’t make it all better.
I was falling apart. I never fall apart (or so I liked to believe). I was the counselor you go to in times of need. I was the missionary who you expect to have it all together. I was a mom and my family needed me to keep our home intact.
Not only was I stripped of every possibility to “fix” my world, my family, my children, my marriage but I was completely broken in the midst of it all.
That morning the praise music played loudly in the background. I was deeply immersed in my ritual of scripture meditation but before I knew it I was an utter mess. I couldn’t stop myself from unraveling as I thought through my life.
I couldn’t keep my son from chewing his sleeves and collar away from anxiety.
I couldn’t keep the neighbor from deeply hurting us.
I couldn’t keep myself from getting angry.
I couldn’t keep our marriage from drifting apart.
I couldn’t make my heart stop hurting from my childhood rejection.
For the first time, I couldn’t keep the peace amongst my siblings and parents.
I couldn’t make the dryer work no matter what I tried and how many people came to fix it.
I couldn’t keep the eyes of my boys innocent.
I couldn’t keep betrayal from hurting me.
I couldn’t keep my good friend from turning her back on me.
I couldn’t keep our dog from dying.
I couldn’t make my son stop wetting the bed.
I couldn’t help that young girl see that God’s love is better than any man’s love.
I couldn’t bring healing to my broken parts and believe me, I tried everything.
I couldn’t even make my oven start. Once again, it decided not to work.
My world came to a halt as I laid on the ground in the fetal position holding the pieces of my brokenness sobbing uncontrollably. The weight of my mess pulled me in like a giant wave; plunging me under its ravenous power.
In between the sobs and soul pain, all I could do was gasp for air in quick breaths and cry out to God. I was sure my neighbors could hear me but at that moment– I didn’t care.
In my confusion, in my pain, in my anger, and in my hurt–He leaned in towards me and extended His loving hand out to me.
He invited me to fall apart in His arms.
Call to me and I will answer you… Jeremiah 33:3
I resisted. But by God’s grace, I leaned in!
My Abba Father met me right there on that cold tile kitchen floor as I lay in a puddle of tears and my snotty mess.
That was “Immanuel”–God with us!
Not Just For Christmas
There’s a verse that is really popular around Christmas time–
“Behold! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
Emmanuel “God with us!” is plastered everywhere during the holiday season. It’s in songs, on artwork, in home decor, and in our prayers. But have you ever stopped and thought through what “God with us” really means? Jesus became a visual expression of our Heavenly Father.
John describes it’s meaning with these beautiful words–dwell, see, glory, full of grace and truth.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
The “Word became flesh”. Don’t read that too fast or you’ll miss it.
My precious sisters in Christ, it’ means:
The love of God now beats in our hearts,
His presence is holding us together,
His strength is our every breath,
It’s the very presence of God in us.
God with us!
Healing in Falling apart
On my cold kitchen floor, in the middle of my unraveling, the words “God with us” came to life, deep within my soul.
That morning God invited me to trust Him with my mess. To believe that He came “full of grace and truth”. To trust him with my children, my life, my past, and ultimately to trust that He is there for me, with me, and in me.
His truth echoed through my soul, “Mari, I am right here holding you and inviting you to trust me with your mess.”
I needed to fall apart so I could see my limitations and the high expectations that I had for myself and my poor family. For once, I needed to let Him rescue me beyond salvation. I needed to let myself receive His love in the midst of my mess. I trusted Him with my salvation but not my sanctification. I was determined to earn my love. To earn my keep.
Here’s a surprising component that came from the unraveling that I’ll share about in deeper lengths in the future–I needed to allow my husband and close friends into my pain. Their comfort brought healing I will never be able to explain. I needed a Christian counselor to guide me as I processed it all.
Healing came when I let myself fall apart in His arms and embraced His truth and grace through His Word, trusted family, and friends.
To the Mom Who is a Doer, Controlling and Hard on Herself
Moms if you take one thing away today let it be this– God meets us in our mess!
Let go of the lie you’ve been believing for years that YOU have the sole responsibility to keep it all together! You don’t! The lie that you have to earn His love. You don’t! Those are lies straight from the pit of hell.
God made you strong and resilient because you wouldn’t have survived through your trials but He never intended for you to live apart from His strength.
The next time the enemy whispers you are not strong enough, good enough, godly enough, nor mom enough you tell him–You don’t have to be because God loves you just as you are. God already is enough for the both of you and that’s enough!
Let go of the lie that says– if you unravel you’ll be a disappointment. It shows your weakness and your lack of faith.
Coming to terms with your weakness is your strength! My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9
Next time you feel the need to act like you have it all together. Or feel the urge to earn your love from Him. Or that you need to keep your kids, family, and Christianity perfectly together. Go into His presence and ask him to whisper His truth:
There’s nothing you can do to make Him love you more. There’s nothing you can do to make Him love you less.
Only He can hold all things together. Colossians 1:17 says, “He holds all things together.” Not just the big things but ALL things.
The enemy wants you to think you need to get your act together before you can come to Him.
But don’t miss the second half of that verse in John 1:14, “he comes in grace and truth”. So come as you are, He can handle it.
The enemy wants you to think God left you and that you’re all alone, abandoned and rejected. Therefore, it’s your job to keep your kids in line, your marriage vibrant, and your christianity thriving. These are lies straight.
If I was sitting across from you over coffee I would tell you in the most gentle way–Sweet friend He loves you just as you are. Your mess and all. He is inviting you to rest in His truth and grace. He’s giving you permission to fall apart in His arms. So stop trying to earn your love. Stop trying to keep your family together in your own strength.
Stop trying to prove you’re worth it, He already proved it on the cross.
Only in His arms will you find a safe place to unravel as he covers you with His truth, healing and grace. You don’t have to be mom enough, skinny enough, Christian enough, good enough or strong enough! He already loves you just as you are–that’s grace. He loves you too much to leave you there in the mess–that’s truth.
What if instead of convincing ourselves that we’ve got what it takes, we entertained the notion that God quite possibly made us to need Him – not just for a few minutes, not just for our salvation, but for every minute of every day?” ~Brooke McGlothlin
This is Day #3 of Lean Into God In Our Motherhood series. You can find Day 2 HERE! If you want more encouragement join our Brave Moms Strong Families Facebook group. Now for John 1:14 using the R.A.A.P. study method.
- Read. Spend time reading the passage once. Read all of chapter 1 to get a feel for this verse in it’s context. You may even want to read it in another version.
- Ask. What does it mean? Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? What can we learn about God’s character, actions or attributes?
“The Word” refers back to verse 1 of this chapter where it says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, the Word was God. Also, remember His name Emmanuel means God with us. Jesus became a visual expression of our Heavenly Father. He comes in grace and truth. He is our sustainer. He is Grace. He is truth.
- Apply. What is He inviting you to as you read these verses? How does this passage encourage or challenge you to “lean” into God as you mother? What hope can you draw from His grace and truth? Where in your life as a mom have you left God out of the picture?
- Pray. Pray what you’ve learned and pray scripture back to Him as you intercede for your children, yourself and your family.
“God with us” is a message He’s been sharing from the beginning of time. He whispered it to Elijah when He felt abandoned. He boldly proclaimed it to Moses on the mount when He was uncertain. He reminded Joshua to be strong and courageous because He is with him before he entered the promised land. He was in the fiery pit with Shadrach and his friends. He tell us in Isaiah “WHEN” you (not IF you) walk through the deep waters He will be with you. When He entered the world as a baby giving His only son so that if you believe in Him you will not perish but have everlasting life.
God with us is not just for Christmas but for every minute of our day.
Is God With Me?
God is always with His children. So the better question is, “Am I a child of God?” Not everyone is a child of God. He created everyone but not everyone is His child. But here’s the beauty of it all, His invitation to be a part of His family is for everyone. Not just for those who have it all together and are ready to stop sinning but it’s for those who acknowledge they need Jesus and want His influence in their life.
John 1:12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”
So the first thing is to receive Him. He’s giving you a gift. Will you take it? Not just admire it from afar but actually accept it. It’s not your gift until you take it. You accept the gift when you acknowledge that you need Jesus. You welcome Him into your life, all of it that includes your time, body, mind, relationships, dreams, work, school…. This gift is not something you earned so again it’s not because you’ve stopped sinning or are doing good but simply because God loves you. He’s giving you a gift.
Secondly he says, “Believe”. Believe is not just a mental action but it’s about trusting Him. I can tell you and mentally acknowledge with words that I believe that chair you gave me will hold me but it’s not until I sit on it that I am actually trusting you. The word, “believe” is having faith, trusting. Believing that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and God’s grace is what has saved you through faith. It’s not of your own doing but the gift of God so no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Thirdly, Call on the Lord. Confess that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Here’s a prayer you can pray to become a child of God. “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In your name, amen.”
Note: When I use the term “fall apart” I don’t mean it’s a license to be reckless, negligent or to hurt others. It’s simply the freedom to come into your Heavenly Father’s arms with your big emotions, weakness and disappointment. It’s embracing His grace and truth as He guides you, heals you, loves you and listens to you in the process. If you find that you’re unable to function or need extra support, I encourage you to reach out to a trusted professional Christian counselor.