mama, you're not alone

this past Saturday was, no doubt, the hardest day of parenting we've faced since the day our daughter appeared on the scene a little over 4 years ago. at various times it found me sitting on the floor with tears streaming down my face, J and I starting at each other with "I'm at a loss" type looks on our face, and watching the clock like a hawk just waiting for bedtime so the day could finally be over. it was a discouraging, exhausting, rough rough day. 

though that day was on a level of "hard" all its own it was also a day that lead to a whole lot of goodness, as the hard often does, and one very reviving truth: in all these moments, in all these days, I am not alone. I am far, far from alone.

I saw this when I was wrapped up in a big hug from my sweet friend and she told me, "you are being so faithful, so consistent." I saw this when another dear friend reminded me to fight against the lies that were trying to claim a presence in my mind and sweetly ended the conversation with, "you're guys are the best and I love you." I saw this by the prayers I knew these friends would praying -- for sustaining strength and truth-filled minds. I saw this in an evening of happy with our friends who were visiting -- chips and salsa, phase 10 twist, and belly laughing at clips from parks and rec.

I saw this in the face of my husband; in his gentle words, his unceasing consistency, his honesty, and his love. I saw this in the way he spoke and looked at our Little. I saw this in his selflessness in sending me out with my Liz friend so that I could have a break. I saw this in his heart -- that thoughtful, wise, sacrificial heart that I adore. I saw this in his unwavering leadership -- leadership that sees his own need for Jesus so clearly that he reminds me that we must, must cling to Him. I saw this every time I looked at him or leaned on him or squeezed his hand and my mind was filled to the highest brim with thoughts of how very, very blessed I am to be his wife.

I saw my not-alone-ness in all these ways that Saturday and it's continued throughout the past couple of days and, oh, how thankful I am for these people that surround me and us. one singular thought, though, has been linked to all of these things: all of these things are pieces and pictures of the One who, alone, holds the unwavering truth that I'm never alone. all these things are kind gifts of His grace, all these things are pieces of His beautiful presence, and even if all these things would cease to exist the fact that I am never alone would not. in His presence there is comfort, there is fullness of joy and there is power perfected in weakness. and if I truly believe that God is who He says He is than my mind can always be comforted and rest in the fact that I am never alone.

I share these things with you partly to do just that -- to share, to open my heart up to you, to be honest and vulnerable. I share these things to you, though, to encourage your hearts, I hope, by the same things that have encouraged mine this week. in this particular season of parenthood I have faced some of my loneliest moments, my most weak and heartsick moments and, trust me, there have been many times of feeling defeat and intense discouragement. in this particular season of parenthood, though, I'm also facing some of my most transforming moments. moments that bring me to the absolute end of myself and remind me I cannot do it on my own. moments where I'm struck with how much better it is for my daughter to see how much mama needs Jesus than to give her the idea that mama has got it all together. and so many moments where the Lord lovingly reveals Himself to me and renews my mind with the truth that I am His and He is mine, He keeps me and sustains me. that is very best truth there is and the very best thing we mamas have to cling to. 

my own sweet mama reminded me of Isaiah 40 yesterday and I have decided that I need to commit this to memory. these verses, in particular, have been on repeat in my mind:

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increase strength

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40: 28-31

praying for you, sweet mamas, mamas to be, and hopeful mamas. always, always, always.