I am the mother of three very busy children and a young baby.
One day I stood crying at the kitchen sink while washing the dishes. I thought to myself that if anyone ever told me again that children are a blessing, I would tell them straight out that I don’t agree. I thought about how Jesus came to earth to set me free, but I didn’t feel free. Everything felt heavy and dark.
Where was the wisdom?
I felt sure that I was doing everything right. I prayed in the mornings, I was talking to Jesus the whole time during the day, asking Him to give me wisdom so that there could be peace in our home and that I would be a good and happy mother. I tried everything! I tried giving rewards to the children to encourage them to behave and I set up systems on how to get the housework done faster so that I could spend more time with them. It worked for a while, but was hard to keep up and then everything would just fall apart again.
I would get up in the mornings thinking how horrible the day was going to be –saying No to the children morning, noon and night, dishes piling up - a screaming baby and three children causing chaos.
I just could not give up everything. Did God really want me to have a dirty house and disrespectful children that did as they pleased, and in return He would give me peace? What did it mean to give up everything?
The more I asked for wisdom, the more I felt I was receiving nothing from God. I tried to stay calm and positive, asking for wisdom to resolve fights between the children and comfort a crying baby, but in the end everyone would just be unhappy, most of all myself.
The thing that I really needed to be free from
Then one evening, I had just sat down to have a cup of coffee after putting the children to bed. It had been another difficult day and when the baby woke up crying, I was close to tears. I had had enough! I went to him with a heavy heart, thinking I could not go on like this for one more day! I looked up and asked God to set me free from whatever was binding me. Wasn’t that the reason Jesus came to earth - to set me free from everything that was so heavy?
Then suddenly I understood something. I told Him that He did not have to give me wisdom on how to get the baby into a good routine or how to discipline my children, all I wanted was to be set free from my own sinful nature and all its unrest. A verse came to my mind that evening: “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NCV).
At first, I didn’t think much of the verse. I wasn’t really after anything else in life – I wasn’t after more money, honour or anything the world could give me. I was satisfied with being a stay-at-home mom. I tried to brush the verse aside, thinking it didn’t apply to my circumstances, but it stayed in my thoughts.
The next morning I sat with an unhappy baby again, trying to get him to sleep, when my eldest son came into the room crying because he had hurt himself and at the same time my daughter was pulling on my hair demanding another snack.
Suddenly it hit me! “Seek first His kingdom …” I imagined Jesus standing before me while I asked Him what His will was for me right then. It was as if I could clearly hear His voice saying, “My will for you is not to calm this chaos. My will is for you to fight against the impatient feelings coming from your sinful nature and not to give in to the feelings of panic and despair.”
And that is what I did right there and then. I fought against all those feelings coming from my human nature, and God did everything else. It was as though the whole situation was resolved and everything was calm and peaceful. A warm feeling streamed into my heart. I had sought God’s kingdom and what He wanted first, and therefore He kept His promise and did everything that I could not manage.
Overcoming the root of the problem
It is not that God wants me to just accept the chaos around me and live in an untidy house with disrespectful, disobedient children. He is there with wisdom and help, and I firmly believe that He is creating something new in me by showing me the sin in my human nature in each situation so that I can overcome it.
The more I ask God to show me the real reasons for my unrest, and pray for a deeper hatred against unthankfulness, wanting to impress people, worry, anger, discontentment and blaming others, the more He makes sure that everything that needs to be done for the day, gets done. He also gives me wisdom on how to handle the children and it creates peace and a blessed atmosphere.
Instead of trying to control my situations so that it will be good for myself, I have learned to overcome the root of the problem – the sin in my own nature. When I learned to fight against these things, everything else also started to go well!