Ever glance through old pictures and think to yourself, “Woah, did I really live through that?”
Oh, man. I happened to run across this one this week – taken on a hot summer day in 2008 – the day we arrived home from the hospital with the surprise of our lives: a brand new chubby baby girl – an entirely new adventure after we had accepted that God’s good plan for us would be to raise a house full of rowdy boys. All these years later, I marvel at these sweet faces that God has entrusted to Tyler and I (all six and under here!), and can only laugh at my lack of personal space and sweaty brow. I’m pretty sure I’ve been sweaty and piled on top of ever since. Ha.
I remember my thoughtful, intentional, prayer-filled road leading up to becoming a mom. I had my plan for how things would go. I read a few books and committed to some strategies. I knew we would be far from the perfect parents and we’d never have even close to a perfect child, but before we idealists are forced to hit the trenches, we hold on with everything we’ve got.
And hit the trenches we did, right out of the gate. There was colic and exhaustion, which turned into Children’s Hospitals and diagnoses. And to be honest, those things paled in comparison to the challenges we faced with a very “spirited” little three year old (“spirited”… good one, huh?), who often gave us a run for our money. I was the mom who had to leave birthday parties early and say no to playdates at the park, because I just couldn’t handle one more scene. I remember wondering how I could pour so much passion and love and commitment into this thing called motherhood, only to feel so defeated and lonely at the end of the day.
Anyone ever been there?
I’ll never forget the night, after an especially difficult day (of correcting and redirecting and training and correcting again…), when I laid my weary body down on the floor outside of my sleeping toddler’s bedroom, and began to sob as I prayed out loud, begging for God to supernaturally intervene. Crying out for His wisdom and mercy. Petitioning Him to grab hold of my boy’s heart, and pleading for Him to comfort mine. I prayed my way deep into the night; oh, there was much to say as I exposed all of my grief and fears to my Father.
God, would you remind me that I’m not alone in this battle?
And like a flood, His words of compassion battled their way into the forefront of my mind:
My grace is sufficient… (2 Cor. 12:9)
I am close to the brokenhearted… (Psalm 34:18)
Draw near to me and I will draw near to you… (James 4:8)
I gently lead those that have young… (Isaiah 40:11)
Be strong and courageous, for I am with you… (Joshua 1:9)
I will never leave you nor forsake you… (Hebrews 13:5)
I am mighty to save… (Zephaniah 3:17)
Nothing is too hard for Me… (Jer. 32:17)
I am the One who sustains you… (Psalm 54:4)
The battle is mine… (2 Chronicles 20:15)
Do not fear, for I am with you… (Isaiah 41:10)
My compassions never fail… (Lam 3:22)
You may weep in the night, but joy comes in the morning… (Psalm 30:5)
My daughter, you are not alone in this battle. What a compassionate, loving Savior!
That night was over eight years ago, and by God’s grace, I’m not the same hopeless momma I once was. God has poured His compassion over me, and He’s changed me. His presence and peace have refined me and brought me joy. His grace has made me alive in Him. I can tell stories of His goodness and can now even encourage those in the trenches - not because life is always easy or I’ve figured it all out – but because of the hope that He brings beyond what this world can offer.
Have you ever had moments… days… maybe even years… in your life when you could identify with the grieving widow in Luke 7? Probably not in the literal sense for most of us, but maybe you’ve grieved the death of a dream, or endured a load that seemed much too heavy to bear. Maybe you’re mourning over dead relationships, or the loss over any hope or security for your future. Could it be that some of you have just had some really hard days - for whatever reason - and are simply longing to feel alive again?
Oh friend, run to your compassionate Father, who knows what it’s like to suffer great loss, yet rise victorious over death!
He so longs to bring His love and life to your situation today. And once you’ve experienced His compassion, you won’t be able to keep it to yourself. Then you’ll be able to say more than you just “lived through it.”
You’ll be able to bear witness to the beauty that came from it, because of Jesus.
“When the Lord saw her, He had COMPASSION
on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
~ Luke 7:13
At His feet,