lift me up

First Words: Mommy – finding Christ in the overwhelming moments

After 20 months of life, Jayla is making an attempt to speak. I am thrilled that, hopefully, soon she will stop wagging her finger in a general direction of something saying “eh” and expecting me to figure out what she wants in order to avoid a head flinging backwards kind of fit. She’s not there yet, but we’re making progress. She started with a simple, yet funny “uh-oh,” which was her big sister’s first word, too, only at nine months, not nineteen months. She has now advanced to “mommy.” The first time she said it (as with all my kiddos), I thought my heart might burst. Now, I feel like my head might burst each time she says it. No longer does she sweetly utter the word, it is mommeeee in a demanding, screechy, sometimes whiny, voice. On repeat… Yes, I still love to hear her say it, but one time to say good morning might be enough.

One day as Jayla yelled mommy for the umpteenth time, I felt close to yelling back, “Leave me alone already!” If you’re a mom, you can likely relate. (Or at least I hope so. If not, I guess I’m not getting mom of the year – again.) Sometimes we moms, just get tired of being moms. Tired of always being needed. The demands of the kids, husband, house, dishes, laundry, work, ball games, you name it can be overwhelming. Someone or something is always needing our immediate attention. There are moments when I just want to hang a sign around my neck that says closed for business – be back in five (minutes, hours, maybe even days). It was in one of those moments that I was reminded that I serve a God who “gets it.”

Jesus came to this world as a human. He experienced human stuff. Though he wasn’t a mom, he felt the demands of people relying on him and demanding his attention. In chapter 9 of Matthew (only 38 verses), we read about Jesus performing five miracles, including raising a girl from the dead. That sounds pretty demanding to me. When we read verse 35, though, we see that those five miracles were just a sampling of his work. “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction” (Matthew 9:35, emphasis mine). When it comes to feeling busy and overwhelmed, Jesus might be just a few demands ahead of us. I have to believe that Jesus, being human, felt the desire to hang out the closed for business sign. In fact, later, in Matthew 14:13a, we read, “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself.” It’s not quite hiding in the bathroom behind a locked door (you know you’ve done it), but Jesus felt the need to retreat, too. Here’s where Jesus proves that not only does he understand our humanness, but he is God, capable of things we humans are not. “But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd and he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:13b-14). Despite the overwhelming demands and strong desire to just sit down and quit, Jesus got up. He kept moving forward, following God’s will, sharing God’s love, showing God’s power. He kept going.

Now we are just mere humans, and sometimes the strength to keep going is hard to find. Just hanging up the closed sign and waiting it out seems like the better option. However, we humans are not left to get up on our own. Our Heavenly Father sent Jesus to the earth, both God and man, so that he could relate to us, understand our struggles. He then sent the Holy Spirit to the earth, more specifically, to our hearts so that we can get through those struggles. Through prayer and his Spirit, we, too, can keep moving forward, following God’s will, sharing God’s love, and showing God’s power.

Shortly after Jesus had compassion on the crowds, he fed the five thousand. A Bible story taught in every Sunday school and VBS each year – I’m guessing you’re familiar. Today, I want to look at it a little differently, though. Matthew 14:19-20 reads, “Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.” We all remember from those Sunday school lessons that Jesus fed over 5,000 men, not including women and children, with just those five loaves and two fish. Now look at Matthew 26:26, “As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” Do you see the similarities? Blessed it, broke it, shared it. Jesus broke bread and fed the 5,000. At the Lord’s Supper he said of the bread, “this is my body”; he was broken and shared with us, to feed our spirits. In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Whoever comes to him will never be hungry again because there is more than enough of him to go around. Just like in the feeding of the 5,000, all who desire to be fed are satisfied, and there are baskets filled with extras in case we need more. As moms, sometimes the overwhelming demands make us feel like there is nothing left, no extras to share. The Lord understands that feeling, but with God there are extras to share. He will never run out of love, mercy, grace, patience, goodness, and justice. We serve a God who “gets it” when it comes to our human feelings of inadequacy, yet is supremely ready to give us what we need and then some.

So when I feel like I can’t handle one more of Jayla’s mommeeee demands, I will be reminded that God “gets it” and he will give me more than I need to keep going.

 

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the blessings in my life even when I feel they demand more than I have to give. Please help me to turn to you in those moments. Help me to look to you because you will provide exactly what I need and more. Thank you for sending your Son to this earth to live as a human so that he can relate to my struggles. Thank you for being almighty and always being ready with more than enough. Thank you for your Spirit who dwells in those of us who have personally accepted your gift of salvation. Please help me to live every day, even every demand for you and with you.

Amen

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