Nearly five years since giving birth to my first baby, I think back on that first year of motherhood with my content Noelle as being glorious and blissful. My second baby, Autumn, then crashed into our lives 21 months later. That one miserable post-delivery night in the hospital changed me from being a confident, always smiling and laughing mom into an overwhelmed, completely anxious and tearful wreck. All of a sudden, my docile and sweet Noelle was, without warning, everything the opposite. I was navigating life as a first-time mom of a Terrible Two, concurrently dealing with an often-inconsolable newborn. Some nights after getting both girls to bed, I’d sit in my husband’s lap, soaking the front of his shirt as I’d cry, ashamed at my inability to be the mom I wished I could be to my girls. I was heartbroken over the harsh words I’d let out in anger and impatience at my Noelle. I was torn that I couldn’t spend quality time with each of them as I felt they deserved or needed. My husband would rub my back and let me cry, but he never fully understood the turmoil I felt inside.
On one particularly difficult morning dealing with 15-month-old Autumn and three-year-old Noelle, I was dragging myself around the kitchen to make another cup of coffee. My ever-observant ginger-haired Noelle said to me, “Mama, look up. Don’t look at the floor.” I looked up at her, surprised. “What made you say that?” I asked. “God did,” she told me confidently. I was barely hanging on and God spoke to me in my kitchen that day through my oldest, and my most challenging daughter at the time. He was reminding me to stop trying to do this motherhood thing by myself.
After that day in the kitchen, I’ve intentionally made time to spend time with God every day. He has since filled my soul and my mind with precisely what I need in order to pour it out on to my children and my husband. No matter how small or big the amount of time I can commit, God gives me sufficient grace, patience, love, joy, and peace to get through the day. Likewise, God provided manna, bread from Heaven, every day for 40 years to feed the Israelites as He led them through the wilderness. In Exodus 16:18, it reads that “…the person who gathered a lot [of manna] had no surplus, and the person who gathered a little had no shortage. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat.” Our patient Heavenly Father led and fed the whining, hangry Israelites through the desert for over 40 years. In turn, He knows just what we need and how much, because he gifted these precious children to us to lead and feed. We simply need to spend time with Him each day for a refill.
This is my daily Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me when I feel alone, overwhelmed, or like I’m completely failing my kids. Children are gifts from you, and I’m so thankful you’ve given me the honor of raising my girls and to teach them to be followers of Christ. Help me to teach them with grace, and in order to do that, remind me of your grace that you so freely give me every day. Help me to get rid of distractions that take me away from spending time with you and with my family. Thank you for restoring me, settling me, strengthening me, and supporting me always, and for being so gracious to me in filling up my soul, so that I can pour onto my family in your overflow.