Thursday, April 15, 2010

Struggles produce perseverence, perseverence produces character...

I've been reading a book called Confessions of an Irritable Mother which has caused me to really stop and think about how God's goal is to help me become holy, like Him—not as a barking drill sergeant, but as a loving Father—and how struggles produce perseverance, and perseverance produces character (Romans 5). I mean, think about it. Yes, I want to be regarded as a woman of character! But does character mean I've had an easy life and I just have a cheery smile on my face all day long? No. Character is persevering and passing the test of one's trials. And a person does not develop character without struggles!

Anyone who knows me knows I've been struggling with motherhood for quite awhile. My responses to the challenges of raising two busy, boyish young sons isn't always so good. I yell sometimes. More often than I'd like. That leaves me feeling guilty and beaten down (What kind of mom am I?)... and over time, this guilt has eroded my view of God's love for me (How could He keep loving and forgiving me day after day?).

Yesterday morning started out rough (Brandon woke up too early and was sporting a baaad 'tude). So I caught a few moments to myself while making Brandon's bed and was asking God to help me persevere.

I felt God impress upon me that He's not trying to be unkind... He didn't give me difficult children to be cruel... but that this uncomfortableness isn't going to let up until I "get" what He is trying to show me about His love for me. It's going to take more than just a quick flip through the Bible to find another "promise" to cling to. Like a loving parent, He is allowing me to go through this struggle so I can learn more of the depth of His love and grace.

And I'm not going to give up, either. It feels like the enemy might be taking this opportunity to "sift" me, but I believe God will grow my character that much more strong when I'm through it.

God is also giving me peace with the fact that Jon and I may not be able to stay overnight on Friday for the homeschool conference, due to Ryan getting sick. I was starting to feel a bit bitter about the timing of Ryan's cold—right before Jon and I have the opportunity to go somewhere—together—alone—but I feel like God is trying to show me to find my hope in Him and His ability to give me peace & rest, especially in the midst of these taxing days with small boys—not in getting a break away. (Not that we shouldn't ever get a break, but you know how a person can just start putting their hope in vacations.)

Anyway... that's what's been on my mind this week! Oh, and about Confessions of an Irritable Mother—I just love that book! I have never felt so understood in my struggle, and I love how the author, Karen Hossink, doesn't simply list a bunch of antidotes to anger (i.e. "count to 10") but instead emphasizes the importance of an intimate relationship with the Lord, through reading the Bible and praying! Very encouraging!!


Irritable Mother said...

Sara, I am so glad for the way God is moving in you.
I am so glad for how you are sensing His love for you, His goodness in the midst of the struggle, His purpose for the pain. I especially love your statement that you know God is not trying to be unkind. That was a major 'light-bulb' moment for me, too!
And this statement? "I have never felt so understood in my struggle," Sara, you're blessing my heart! If there are two things I want moms who read that book to understand, it's 1) God's amazing love, and 2) You're not alone. You've got them both, and I am thrilled!

Oh, and this statement - "but you know how a person can just start putting their hope in vacations." Yeah, I know. And I'm so thankful for God's ability to love and speak - even through the noise. May you know the joy and peace of His presence, whether you 'get away,' or not.

Love you,

Chris said...

I'm so glad you and your husband did get to go to the homeschool conference!

I can relate to struggling with motherhood. I remember thinking "no one ever told me this would be so hard!" Maybe it was my personality, maybe my expectations, and also suffering my post-partum depression, but it took me quite a while to adjust to my new position in life.

It was a process, and I believe that keeping my eyes on God and being open to letting Him mold me over the years is what brought me to finally feeling like I was actually doing a good job!

The early/preschool years were hardest for me - being needed in every way, 24/7 drained me. So hang on! You'll get there!

Oh, another book that helped me a lot was "Seasons of a Mother's Heart" by Sally Clarkson.

Chris said...

oops! Meant to say "suffering FROM post-partum depression" !

Sara K. said...

Karen - thank you for the encouragement as always!! :) Your book IS amazing - seems clear to me that God really worked through you on that li'l endeavor!

Chris - thank you, also, for the encouragement! I have totally said the same thing: "No one ever told me parenting would be so hard!" Thank you for the perspective, too, that it gets a little better as they get older and aren't so physically dependent on the momma for everything. Oh, that Sally Clarkson book, seems like I've heard of that before... maybe I should check it out!