When the Waves Are Crashing In

When the EtchLife girls asked me to write a blog about how God has used motherhood in my life, I laughed so hard that coffee shot out of my mouth! I actually started to cry as I mentally ran through my “inadequacy” check list. “Why in God’s green earth are they inviting me to do this? Do they not know how much I struggle with feelings of failure?!”
They say if you want to be an expert at something you need to practice it for at least 10,000 hours. So, I did the math and my resume is pretty impressive. I clearly EXCEED EXPERT STATUS for motherhood. I’ve been a mom for 17 years. That’s almost 150,000 hours. Truth is, I don’t feel like an expert at all. The current mom-stage I’m in leaves me speechless, numb, and sometimes lifeless.  I am the mother of 5 teens.
Jacob – 17
Garrett – 15
Kate – 15
Bintu – 13
Trey – 12 (12.5 as he often reminds me)
As I type these words, I still feel I should decline this guest blog opportunity. As I type one letter at a time — I just can’t sugar coat this. I just want you to know the depths of my fears, and the realities of my heart. Let me cut to the chase. After 17 years, in the thick of the weeds, here are a few insights I’ve picked up along the journey:
  1. Motherhood has taught me humility.  It’s brought me to my knees before Christ. I’ve begged, pleaded, and fought for my children on the floor of my living room, in the corners of my closet, and in the driver’s seat of my car. I cannot do this mom-thing without Jesus. He soothes my angry heart. He holds me in my desperation. He shows me how to love these “hormonal crazies” unconditionally. In Christ’s strength, I can do all the hard mothering things. (Phil 4:13)
  2. These little Shriver’s are not my own. I am clueless.  I am speechless. I am tired. I often feel numb at all the serving that RARELY returns a simple “thank you.”  I don’t know the plans God has for them. That’s His deal! I am truly just partnering with God in their journey. On days when I worry that I’m messing them up, reminding myself that they are in Gods hands is the most freeing space for my hurting heart.  (John 14:1-4)
  3. This is raw, but I want you to read these words: motherhood does not define us! We cannot put our identity and worth in our children. We must never live vicariously through them. Their accomplishments, achievements, awards, failures, mistakes, grades, and choices do not size up what kind of person or mother we are.  Let me say this in more simple, blunt terms, “Your child’s decisions (good or bad) do not define you.” When we believe in Jesus, we will not be put to shame. (Romans 10:11)
We moms are simply vessels. Our journey is as beautiful as the calm ocean, but sometimes the oceans creates big waves and we feel like we are drowning.
When I feel the waves crashing, I call upon His name and I cling tight to this song. I hope you will meditate on these soothing words. “I will call upon His name, and keep my eyes above the waves. For I am yours and you are mine.”

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