Over my maternity leave God has taught me so many lessons. It seems like its always the most challenging seasons that end up the most rewarding and clarifying for your life. However, there is one lesson I’m still learning over and over again.
The enemy loves to use difficulty and pain to distort the truth about God’s love for us. On the mountaintops, God’s love feels obvious. His blessing is right before our eyes. But in the valleys of life, it oftentimes requires a little effort to remember. I think this is because we’re hounded by lies in our harder, weaker moments. Whether our situation is our fault or not, we’re all still susceptible to attack.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have hard days in early parenthood. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have hard days, period. And I have learned and am learning that on those hard days, you simply need an extra dose of God’s love.
It’s probably our culture that teaches us you’ve done something wrong if things aren’t going your way in life. It’s somehow your fault. Somewhere you’ve failed and angered God. It’s easy when you’re in pain to believe you’re forgotten, especially by God. It’s way too easy to become lonely and inwardly focused on your personal hardship. I know this because I’ve experienced it every time I’ve gone through a season that’s inherently painful and difficult.
"SO IN THE CYCLE OF LONELINESS AND SELF-PITY, THE REALITY OF GOD'S LOVE AND OUR VALUE TO HIM BEGINS TO GET DROWNED OUT."
Now like I said, I am still learning better habits when I start to feel sorry for myself. But, a fresh encounter with the love of God always seems to do the trick. I don’t know why I allow myself to even go a day without it. Quickly I begin to believe the lies that God isn’t for me, he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t want to heal me and I’m all alone when I’m having a hard day. But today, I won in battle. And each day of victory makes me a little stronger.
Today I realized the enemy was trying to use my beautiful, perfect son against me. It was a rough day -- he was not sleeping, not eating well and fussy with lots of fits. He was trying to tie fear to Wesley and my identity as a mother. He was trying to make me afraid of ever having any more children. I felt hounded and alone -- so hounded and alone that I was failing to see the amazing gift before me.
Some days are just unexpectedly hard and try to knock you off your feet. Today was one of them. The enemy saw an opportunity and jumped on it. In a moment of brokenness, when I was at my wits end, God broke through. I felt his love flood my heart the minute I got real with him and quit wallowing in self-pity. As I turned to him, I was met by the love of an enduring Father who is always there and is ready to give strength and perspective.
It’s not that we won’t experience tough days, months or even years. It’s promised that we will. But we have the steadfast love of our Father to remind us we’re not alone and to strengthen us every step of the way. It’s not about grinning and bearing the pain… although this is often what I try to do. God is saying don’t. Don’t try to grin and bear it all on your own. I’m growing in turning to him first for a fresh reminder of his nearness and love. I don’t always get it right, but I will die trying!
Just because we are going through pain or hardship does not nullify the presence and reality of God’s love. And that’s all I needed to know today. My hope is God will remind of you of the same when you need it most.