When Mom Lacks The Fruit of The Spirit
It’s been ten whole years since my boys were 5, 3, and 1. Those were the years I struggled most. More than just an inability to manage their chaos, I wasn’t coping with the chaos in me. Hormonal imbalance, prolonged-postpartum-depression laced with adrenal fatigue… did a number on me. One sad result was my lack of spiritual fruit each long day.
While I longed to bear the sweet fruit of love, joy, peace and gentleness in our home… I wasn’t.
I was a physical, emotional, and spiritual mess. Short tempered and exhausted, I often responded to my children’s childishness with knee-jerk reactions, anger and tears. When they melted down so did I.
Often, I’d cry myself to sleep, feeling lousy over my lack of patience and my abundance of emotional responses with my kids. On more than one occasion my husband reached over and touched my shoulder as I cried a stream of self-abasing words into my pillow late at night. “Go to sleep,” he’d encourage, “God’s mercies are waiting for you tomorrow.” How sweet is that? The problem was that I would wake up each morning, gather those new mercies, and then do the exact same things I’d done the day before.
Finally, I told the Lord, “I don’t want more conviction, I want to change. Please help me to change.”
That was the turning point for me. God was so kind to incline His all-hearing, all-knowing, all-caring, all-loving ear to me and come running to my rescue (and to my kids’ rescue.)
Looking back now, I’m reminded of the familiar phrase: “Our mess becomes our message.” By the grace of God, that has been the case for me. That messy season marked me so tremendously, I can’t stop giving this message to other moms: KEEP ABIDING!
God’s Word promises us, moms, that when we abide in Him and He abides in us, each long mothering day, we will bear His fruit in our lives (John 15:4). And the fruit of His Spirit is always love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
When we spend time with Him, and invite Him to be an ongoing and intimate presence in our home-life, His character rubs off on us all. His responses become our responses. His love, our love. With Him, even self-control and gracious long-suffering is possible. But apart from Him, we will continue to go to bed struggling with sadness and shame. Apart from Him… we can do nothing.
We can’t manufacture love without Him, for He is love. We can’t create a peaceful home without the help of the Prince of Peace. We can’t greet each new day with hope if we aren’t spending time with Him, for He is our hope! We need Him desperately in the midst of each day’s mess. Again, this is the message we all need.
Abide, sweet sisters.
If you are struggling with anger, exhaustion, maybe even depression right now, lacking the fruit of God’s presence in your heart and home, let me encourage you to abide in Him. Spend time with Him. Remain in Him…
I can hear a few of you guffawing, “Some of us don’t have that luxury, Wendy.” And I get you. You’re slam-packed from morning to night. From son up to son down. (Pun intended.) But this is a matter of priorities, friend. If you are tired of the conviction and ready for transformation, then you have got to spend time with the only One able to change you. He can heal your body and heal your heart and heal your parenting. I’m a walking-talking testimony of this transforming love.
If you struggle to find time with the Lord, but are able to scroll through social media, then you’ve got the time, sister. Don’t your time to your phone or to your friends online. God doesn’t promise the fruit of His Spirit when we abide on social media. Don’t give your time and attention to Starbucks. God doesn’t promise the fruit of His Spirit when we abide there either. God only promises us more of His love and joy, His peace and patience, when we abide daily with Him.
I’ve learned to recognize the things that I run to when I’m overwhelmed. I’m learning that running to the wrong things isn’t only wrong, it often has the opposite effect I’m hoping for. When I “abide” on instagram I get more agitated with my real-life. When I abide in highly-sugared caffeinated drinks my adrenal glad get more exhausted and I’m less able to hope with stress. When I run to the store I fill my life with consuming stuff rather than being consumed by the one who can make me more like Him!! God never promised me the fruit of His Spirit if I abide in anything other than Him.
I wish we were sitting face-to-face right now, talking this through. I’d ask you to pin-point anything and everything you run to like a hot-mess, instead of running to the One who said, “Come to Me!”
While sugar and social media and shopping all take the edge off our overwhelmed days, it is only with Christ that more love and joy and peace is possible.
Abide in Him!
If you run to sugar or caffeine (or anything else) to get you through your mothering-days, consider fasting from those things, in order to feast on the One who said, “Come to Me.” Every January, Wendy Speake hosts an online 40 Day Sugar Fast. It started as a ministry to moms who struggle, because sugar doesn’t make a mom sweet… but abiding with our sweet savior does! Find out more at WendySpeake.com/sugar-fast
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