“Motherhood can be both exhilarating and exasperating. It can present us with a delightful experience one moment and a baffling encounter the next. There are days when we can’t imagine doing anything more rewarding. Then we have days when caring for our children feels nothing but insignificant” (Carolyn Mahaney).
I am a mother of a 10-month-old. That translates into: I haven’t truly known calmness in 10 months. When I say calmness it means, I haven’t let go of my senses and truly rested. Even when I am away from the baby, my heart is with him. I am always wondering what he’s up to. Even when he is sleeping in the other room, I am thinking if I will be able to hear him when he wakes up. I am scared to lock the bathroom door because what if I don’t hear his cry in case anything happens. My heart can’t seem to just calm down and carry on, even if I am not with my baby physically.
In the midst of all that is happening around us, my soul can't seem to keep calm either. The refugee children of Syria have been weighing on my heart for a long time now. It makes me feel so helpless, because it seems like I can’t do anything to make a difference!
So when I think of calmness, I am not thinking just physical calmness, I am thinking of the calmness of my heart and soul. I haven’t known that in a long time now. I used to be quite good at not letting things affect me. But somehow having a child changed that about me. Sometimes I think it’s a good thing but sometimes it’s too much for me to take.
Stephen and Janet Bly say, “No job on earth takes more physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual strength than being a good wife and mother. If a woman is looking for the easy life she might try teaching tennis, cutting diamonds, or joining a roller derby team. There is nothing easy about good mothering. It can be back breaking, heart wrenching and anxiety producing. And that’s just the morning.”
I look around and see so many mums who are so good at everything they do. They seem like they have everything under control. They look calm and composed. But when I looked at myself, all I could see were the failures, the times I lost my cool and the times I sobbed like a baby. All I was reminded of were the times I didn't stand a chance with those mums. If I could write down all the times I have goofed up, I would have an article for BuzzFeed titled, "What mums aren't supposed to do".
I try to do all the right things but soon enough I realise that I am insufficient. I can’t do it on my own. And then I remember that I am not called to do it by myself. I have a promise to live by. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Even then, calmness and motherhood somehow don’t seem to go hand in hand. People jokingly tell me that I can only rest after 18 years. I have realised that I need to learn to be calm even when there is chaos. It may not be possible for me to take a day off and go to a spa at this point in my life but that doesn’t mean I can’t rest. I can put my heart to rest for the Author of rest lives inside of me. It is His will that I rest and find calmness in Him. I can give all my exhaustion and pain to Him, and when I do, I can enjoy the kind of rest that God gives, which is far better than a day in the spa.
I realised that even if I keep making the same mistakes, it is God’s sovereign will to give me calmness in the midst of a storm. The highs and lows one goes through as a mother are so frequent that it would put the stock market to shame. But even then, God is ever so gracious. He doesn’t let me drown in my sorrows. He truly calms my soul like nobody else. His word echoes in my ears when I am overwhelmed with the happenings around me.
I have 2 choices- to compare myself with other mums and cry in the corner or delight in my baby because he is a gift God has trusted me with and to rest in Him. It says in Psalm 127 that Children are a heritage from the Lord and that the fruit of the womb is a reward. So, when I treat my son as a reward, I cannot whine and complain about all the things that didn’t go according to my plan. What I can do instead is trust in the Lord, for His grace is sufficient. He says,” Come to me all who you are weary and heavy burdened, I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28).
In spite of all that happened and how I felt, my baby completed 10 months. When I look back at all that we have accomplished together, my jaw drops to the floor. We cried, we laughed, and we lived. This past ten months have been nothing short of an adventure. I have learned more things in the past ten months than in my whole life before this. I know that I have a long way still to go, but I know that I will be fine because the Lord loves my son and the children of Syria more than I ever could -- knowing that promise is how I can keep calm and carry on!
Photo Credit: Unsplash