When strong mamas feel quite weak
I’ve sat with this Mama and laughed till my side hurt. And I’ve squeezed her hand tight and prayed for all we are worth. We’ve stayed up too late talking and we’ve bent over Scripture and asked to be poured right out. Lysa TerKeurst, mama to 5, is a Jesus-sister who is real and honest and stunningly gifted of God — and when she speaks from the grit of her sold-out heart — I’m always all ears:
I stood at the vending machine infuriated.
More than annoyed. More than mad. More than angry.
A girl can sometimes have responses out of proportion to the wrong they are experiencing. And like a compass pointing to truth north, this infuriation pointed somewhere. Somewhere, I didn’t want to explore.
I wanted a Diet Coke. So I did what was required. I followed the rules. I put in the required money. I pushed the right button.
Only what I got wasn’t at all what I wanted.
I clenched my fists and bit my lip.
And I knew. My out of proportion response wasn’t really about a soda.
It was about being disillusioned. By one of my teens.
It was about my feeling that if you did all the right things, you would get all the right results. You do what’s expected of you and you’ll get what you expect.
Put in the money. Push the button. Get the Diet Coke.
Put in all the time. (Love. Daddy daughter date nights. Intentionality. Prayer. Discipline. Bible lessons. Sundays at church. Dinners at the table. Talks at bedtime. Kisses. Hugs. And chores.)
Push the button. Get the child that walks the straight and narrow.
But sometimes you get the unexpected.
And you know what I’m tempted to do as a mom? Draw a straight line from my child’s wrong choice to my weakness in mothering.
That will just about kill a mama. Crack her heart open and fill it with paralyzing regret of the past and fear for the future. And that’s exactly where Satan wants us mama’s to stay. Paralyzed.
But what if that’s the wrong line to draw?
What if I’m supposed to draw a straight line from my child’s wrong choice to my STRENGTH in mothering.
What if God said, “What mama is strong enough, persevering enough, tough enough to bend without breaking under the weight of the choices this child will make?
What mama is willing to be humbled to the point of humiliation yet not blinded to the wisdom found like diamonds in dirty places?
What mama will not just pray about this child but will truly pray this child all the way through their stuff?
What mama will be courageous enough to let me write her child’s story?”
And then God points.
I can’t say I ever wanted God to be pointing in my direction.
But sometimes we get the unexpected.
And I guess, I’m just wanting to breathe hope into someone else’s paralyzed place.
Mama, you are strong. Persevering. Tough. Able to bend without breaking. Willing to be humbled to the point of humiliation. Not blinded. A hunter for wisdom. A praying through woman. A courageous mama. One that wants your child to not just follow the rules but, more.
You want them to find a deep dependence to follow after God Himself.
Let me reach through these pixelated letters and take your hand. And stand with you.
From that cracked open heart place, a God-breathed strength will rise. Rise. Rise.
And help you spit in Satan’s face as you declare, “You picked the wrong mama to mess with this time.”
(And by golly if you see a mama like this, hand that woman a real Diet Coke as she probably needs a little liquid heaven right about now.)
Lysa TerKeurst, a girl who had such bad experiences with keeping her family’s pet hamsters alive, she once got a note from her kids’ school declaring her family ineligible to take home the beloved classroom rodent.
And from that kind of awesomeness, she blogs and writes books, including her latest New York Times bestseller, Unglued — a perfect summer read when you’d like to work on controlling your emotions, before they control you.
President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, she can be found most days bossing her kids and flirting with her forever man in North Carolina.