The feelings came over me again in full force. We walked into church and before we had taken our place in the back pew, all four of my older children were squabbling over who would sit where and who could color with which crayons. The baby had a dirty diaper, the call to worship was about to begin, and I knew that leaving the kids alone in the pew while I took him to the nursery might result in a majorly disruptive moment for the rest of the congregation. Grabbing hands and hoisting the baby onto my hip, we paraded down the aisle to the door at the front of the church which leads to the nursery. To say that I was frustrated and embarrassed is an understatement.
“Why did I bother coming today? Four weeks without my husband is too long. Why do my children always disobey and refuse to listen to me? Why are my kids the ones who break bones and have special needs and don’t use the bathroom when they’re supposed to? And why can’t I keep it all together and handle these interruptions with grace and gentleness?”
On and on the grumbling continued. By the time we returned to the service I had relaxed some only to discover that the remainder of the service would be filled with more arguing, multiple corrections, and a Mama on the verge of tears from the weight of her lot in life.
I don’t deserve all of this.
We don’t plan for these feelings but you don’t have to be a Mom for very long before you begin to realize that the sleepless nights, interrupted schedule, changing family dynamics, altered friendships, unplanned diagnosis, and unwanted circumstances can spiral your heart into a place of feeling as though your life is the worst.
At its very core, self-pity is an unwillingness to recognize my place as a created being and God as the Creator. It’s pride and arrogance and a selfish spirit that turns my eyes away from the glory of God to the idols of my own heart: comfort, ease, importance, a life void of struggle and disappointment.
The Lord has convicted me numerous times about my unwillingness to accept the course that he has set for my life. But when I turn toward him with open hands, honestly and humbly pouring out my struggles instead of shaking my fists at him in anger, he points the eyes of my heart away from myself and back toward his glory.
Because what do I deserve?
A life and an eternity separated from God.
But out of his love and mercy he has given me his Son: Jesus. The One who left heaven and became a tiny baby. The One who was stripped of his glory, removed from his comfort, experienced exhaustion and frustration. The One who was rejected, despised and lived through circumstances that were less than desirable. Jesus, the God-man, who endured the agony of the cross and took the punishment that I deserved for my sin.
He experienced the very worst in order that you might have something far greater than you could ever imagine.
You possess everything when you have Christ.
In your weakness you have his strength. In the midst of fear, you have the confidence of his unchanging character. In the unknowns you have the God of all wisdom who lights your path. In your exhaustion you have the faithful One who will cause you to mount on wings as an eagle. In your desperation you have the Living Water who quenches your thirst and satisfies your longings. In your grief you have the One who was acquainted with grief and stricken with sorrow.
When your heart and mind are fixed on the gift of Jesus, those moments that you’d rather not experience in motherhood and the unexpected journey that weighs you down become invitations to draw near to God and to experience the joy of his presence.
Suddenly, your feelings of self-pity are transformed and the posture of your heart becomes one of humility and worship for all that you have been given in Jesus.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION/ REFLECTION:
- Where in your life are you most prone to self pity? How do you tend to respond in your moments of deepest despair and longing?
- How does Jesus’ life, death and resurrection transform your perspective of the things that tempt you to feel sorry for yourself?
- Choose a verse to memorize and recite to yourself during those moments where self pity creeps in.
Lauren Washer is a wife to her husband of 11 years, and Mama to five children with another little one due to arrive in April, 2018. They are currently stationed in Norfolk, VA, with the Navy. After their third child was born in 2012, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and life changed drastically for Lauren. The Lord has used this unexpected journey to deepen her faith and give her a passion for women to experience Jesus through a growing understanding of God’s Word. She shares about the treasure of Jesus from everyday moments on Instagram, and writes occasionally on her blog.