“Following is not about trying every day; it’s about dying every day.”
(Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan)
Sister, follower of Jesus, are you like me, desiring, striving, and trying to be the best mother possible, only to be filled with dismay when you fail, when your child makes a foolish choice, and when, for all your efforts, there seems to be no fruit?
We pick it up from those around us:
“I did the best I could,” “All we can do is try,” or “Just do your best, and let God do the rest.”
We look at our teenager in exasperation and mutter, “I’m trying my hardest…”
We follow the mantra, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Perseverance is a great character quality.
But trying again and again, striving is not what God asks of us, His followers.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
We’re not asked to try. We’re asked to die.
Sacrificing extra sleep so that we have a little time with Jesus; Making breakfast for the ever-hungry mob when a deadline looms; Meeting the needs of our special child that parents of “typical” kids can't understand; Changing sheets that were fresh only last night.
It’s all dying. It’s all letting go of the ease we crave, the comfort we’re convinced we need.
Dying rather than trying produces fruit in our families.
Sometimes it’s deeper than we want to go...
Responding with grace to piercing, angry words; Refusing to indulge the desire to scorn and belittle our child’s foolishness; Serving, encouraging, and blessing a child whose poker face masks even an hint of gratitude.
As our dreams of what motherhood and family would look like crumble at our feet on a daily basis, we feel it…
Death to all that we hoped would be ours.
Those dreams of normal, no, extraordinary children were ours. Those longings for a marriage and family that were the envy of all were ours. The desire for a Pinterest-worthy home and Facebook-worthy life was ours. The determination to remain in control of it all is ours.
And if we are true followers, to each of those we must die.
It hurts. Death never feels good.
But death is not the end.
Do you see it, dying friend? The incredible hope offered here? Oh, what a beautiful mystery, that each time we deny ourselves, take up our cross and die to self, we are planting a seed.
And that dead seed that leaves us feeling so hopeless, so inadequate, is the only kind of seed that can bear fruit!
It’s not up to us, moms, to try to make a harvest. Our striving will produce nothing but weariness, even bitterness in our own hearts and those of our children.
No, if we want to see the fruit that God has planned, we must follow the example of our Savior. It’s the hard road. It’s painful. It feels like the end of dreams. It’s the loss of all control.
But, this process of dying to ourselves places everything in the hands of the Giver of Life.
And what could be better for our families than Life?
*Let's encourage each other, moms! We all know what it feels like to die to self, but some of us are still waiting for the harvest. When have you seen the miracle of a dead seed bringing forth much fruit?