During my seventh grade year, my English teacher went through a divorce.
As the year went on, though, it was obvious how stressed and burdened she was. Her eyes had thick bags underneath. She rarely wore makeup, and gained a bunch of weight. She'd usually arrive flustered, papers thick and crumpled, graded late and harsh.
She'd perk up reading The Diary of Anne Frank, but would get provoked by the slightest disruption. You could feel the tension, feel the anger.
You know, I hate "taking things out on my kids." I'm better than that - I should be, anyway.
Yet I still do it.
Motherhood is a race, long and sweaty. It takes muscle, and concentration, and full-bent focus. It takes everything you have, even on a good day.
And the bad days? I've found it's nearly impossible to do it well, when I'm labored down with extra loads.
My baggage? Mine is worry.Oh, I worry.
I daily carry around fears for my son's health. His life-threatening allergies and asthma can feel too big to carry.
I worry for our finances, tension creeping in with each purchase, each stacking pile of bills.
When it gets real bad, I worry about my worry.I'll never be a good enough mom. I shouldn't have more children, or home school...Worry freezes me in an oppressive prison of self-doubt and condemnation.
I carry these thoughts and fears, and in the meantime I wipe bottoms, and read Corduroy, and pry older brother off younger during a wrestling match-turned-taunting.
And if I don't watch it, I start feeling like Mrs. E., the seventh-grade English teacher. I'm snapping at people, sometimes even (gulp) screaming...My voice gets unnecessarily loud, my feelings unnecessarily hurt.
I'm burdened, and I get angry too easily.
Is there a cure? There is! Praise the Lord; He doesn't leave us in this mess.
Come to me, He says, all you who are weary, and burdened, and I will give you rest...Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. (Matthew & I Peter...)
So what does this look like, in real life, in a house with a grumpy mom and little ones who yell at the dinner table? I'll show you, exactly.
Today, I'm pregnant. First-trimester, dry-heaving, bone-tired, napping-more-than-the-kids kind of pregnant.
Friends, I've been a pathetic mom. Dinners are boxed or take-out (this from an organic girl), laundry in mounds, Bible verses unsaid, rooms uncleaned...I'm embarrassed and worried at my failures, and I carry it around.
When I find myself angry, I could get depressed and pout...or I could come.
Lord Jesus, I'm worried. I feel like I have nothing to give my family. I'm afraid I'm not doing enough. I feel like I'm doing an awful job at this. Take this weight. I give you all that I have - help me. Help me be a mom today.
And then I know what you know, too - that the peace that passes understanding is a real thing.
And that He is the lifter of my loads, and the giver of my peace. It's really, really true.
Do you carry the burden of worry? Does it affect the way you parent?
For more encouragement, check out From Grouchy to Great: Finding Joy in the Journey of Motherhood. It's a daily devotional with discussion questions to encourage you as a mom. Grab a journal and study through it by yourself, or gather some girlfriends and study together!
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