I wanted to scream. And maybe I actually did. I don’t remember.
There’s absolutely no way we can have more kids. I can barely take care of the three I have now. What makes me think I can handle another one?
He does it so perfectly. Maybe I should go back to work full time. He can be the stay at home dad. Because clearly I fail at it.
It was bedtime in our house. And with a 5yo, 2yo, and 1yo, the minutes until bedtime felt like hours.
On this particular Sunday evening, my husband was out. Just for a few hours. But, as it’s happened before, the moment his tires leave the driveway, all hell breaks loose.
The house is a mess. Kids won’t go to sleep. Someone needs more milk. Someone else is teething. It’s suddenly the perfect time to jump off the couch.
I slumped into the rocking chair. It was well past the boys’ bedtime. And I was nearly in tears.
“I give up,” I texted my husband. “I can’t do this. We aren’t having more kids. Clearly I can’t handle it.”
And then it started. The crazy spiral we all go down.
I’m a horrible mother. I don’t even know one thing I am good at. These kids hate me. Everyone sees how bad of a mom I am.
Did you know that our brains will literally believe what we tell it to believe? It’s called the Reticular Activating System - or the RAS. And it filters our thoughts and environment.
If you tell yourself you’re a bad mom, the RAS system kicks in and thinks this is important information. Therefore, it will only remember the times you felt like a bad mom, or were told you were a bad mom, and it filters out all of the times you were a good mom.
If you tell yourself your husband doesn’t like you, suddenly everything he does points to that. He’s texting a friend - probably about how much he hates you. He makes plans again - probably because he doesn’t want to be around you. Hes working late - because he doesn’t want to come home.
Your brain will forget all of the times he’s brought you flowers just because. And the times he’s made you dinner. Or given you a break. Or planned a date night. Or even said I love you.
Isn’t that wild? So although it was just one moment, my brain kicked in and decided to remind of all the other times I was a failure. Regardless of whether or not they were true, my brain somehow believed they were.
But in the midst of this breakdown I was having, I heard God whisper ever so softly “it doesn’t matter.”
I read a quote once (forgive me for not giving proper attribution) that said something along the lines of “when God gives you a dream, he’s not checking your bank account; he’s checking your faith.”
And in a way, I knew this is what God was telling me.
It doesn’t matter that I feel like a failure in this moment. Because regardless of how I feel, I’m still the best mom for those boys.
It doesn’t matter that I think I can’t handle another baby. Because God knows I can (no, this is not a pregnancy announcement).
It doesn’t matter that I think my husband is better at everything. Because God knows what gifts and talents He gave me and how I am going to use them for His glory.
It doesn’t matter because I’m not in control.
When God planned out your life, he already factored in your stupidity. Meaning, He knows we will be afraid and unsure and wanting to take control. He knows we will mess up and have setbacks and not listen. He never expects us to be perfect.
We are not nearly powerful enough to destroy God’s plans for our lives. Not even close.
Hear me when I say that God isn’t telling me that I don’t matter. He isn’t telling me to suck it up and move on.
He’s telling me that He ALWAYS equips the called, not the other way around. He’s telling me that my feelings right now do not decide my future. He’s reinforcing that it was just a bad moment, not a bad life.
He’s reminding me that as a human, I will always feel inadequate but that it also isn’t my job to decide that.
By telling me it doesn’t matter, in His ever so quiet and gentle way, God is reminding me that I’m not capable at times. That I do mess up. But that isn’t the end-all-be-all. AND (more importantly) I can only succeed with his strength.
I’m not an amazing mother. On my own. I’m an amazing mother with and through God’s grace. The grace He gives in just the right amount and in just the right moment. Regardless of how I feel. Because that’s not what matters.
After all, if feelings were the most important thing, then our faith would be completely different.
So, surprise surprise, He’s right. It doesn’t matter how I feel. Because it was never in His plan for me (or you) to ever feel less than, inadequate, cast aside.
It doesn’t matter because He is bigger than my feelings. And my problems. And my emotions.
It doesn’t matter because He will take all of that and carry it for me. To the cross. Again and again and again. As many times as I need and as many times as I let Him.
It doesn’t matter because His love is greater. And I am so thankful.