I’m Just an Ordinary Mama
This is one of those days! I woke up feeling terrible—tired, with no reason for being tired. I slept seven hours last night, but this morning I am not feeling good. I am not motivated to do anything. I have no joy, just a feeling of drowning under an insurmountable pile of stress and demands.
As a mama, how joyful can I be when as of yesterday I added three children and my husband to the list of family members with the flu? Also, there were to be two dental checkups later today—but I failed my recent driving test for the fifth time!
On ordinary days like this one I find it hard to be joyful in anything—most especially homeschooling. Often the baby doesn’t sleep well through the night, my students (i.e., my kids) don’t remember anything I’ve taught them, a pre-schooler isn’t motivated to sit down and read with me, and another child has a hundred questions about spiders and snakes which I’m not particularly interested in and am very much afraid of. Then, my kids drag their feet doing the chores they are supposed to do before school. These are ordinary days at home with my young children. I have a quiver full of four arrows—aged 2, 4, 6, and 8.
A Matter of Perspective
When days are too “ordinary,” I might as well forget about homeschooling and get outside where God’s beautiful world can restore my peace and reorient my perspective. I can choose to worship rather than allowing myself to become overwhelmed. I can change my ordinary life into extraordinary by choosing worship over worry. I can demonstrate heavenly grace and fight the battles of my day with perseverance and faith. Yes, I could do all this, but in reality, too often I am tired and stressed, and sometimes even angry.
What happened to the self-assured, confident young woman I used to be? She is hard to find on days like this. By age 23, I was leading Bible studies, mentoring young girls, and speaking in conferences. Now, a decade later, I second-guess myself frequently and fail almost daily. I fail to rejoice in all circumstances; I fail to be calm and gracious; and I fail to pray.
But despite my failures, over the years, my absolute dependence on God has deepened. I have learned to hold on to Him with both hands. I know my very survival depends on Him. Apart from Him I can do nothing! Frustration, grief, stress, fear, anxiety, and unhappiness are often the trials I go through in life. But over and over again, in His great mercy and love, the Father reminds me that joy can be mine, no matter the circumstance. To know joy is the lot God ordains for all His children—whether our circumstances be beautiful, painful, or spiritually messy.
So, for me, joy comes by looking directly into the face of God, getting into His Word and allowing Him to speak to me. The joy from heaven is bigger and higher than my circumstances, because salvation trumps any negative emotions and any temporal circumstance. On ordinary days, I can have joy by taking one step at a time in an attitude of prayer, by listening for His Voice whether I’m diapering or reading to the little ones, by soaking in His Word in whatever manner possible throughout the day, and by worshiping the One True God in the middle of the mundane.
An Extraordinary God
Indeed, ordinary life is rarely glamorous, but it is on those very ordinary days that we find we need an extraordinary God. He gives us strength and wisdom for the moment, grace for the trials, and mercy for our sins and rebellion. We cannot make it through the ordinary days without Him.
Oh, yes! I am just an ordinary mama living an ordinary life, but the heavenly joy of these earthly, ordinary days is that God is gloriously ruling over them. He wants me to come to Him, yoke up with Him, and let Him do the work in my heart and life that is necessary for peace in my heart and joy in parenting as I train up my children as the Bible tells me to. So—in these ordinary days—I want to sit close to my extraordinary Saviour and pull His children in to sit close too.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3-4, KJV).
So keep walking, all saints of the Lord! And may you find much joy today as well. Look up. He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).