“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness,” (Lamentations 3:21–23).
My house is full of surprises. Yesterday I found a princess wand in the Tupperware drawer. Other times, I’ve encountered a doll stuffed in the toothpaste cabinet, Hello Kitty stickers on my pajama bottoms, and—my personal favorite—teeth marks in the purple glue stick. Really? Yum.
These endearing discoveries make me chuckle. They’re marks of motherhood, little reminders that I’m living the dream of family life.
Of course, some surprises aren’t so heartwarming. Like a Sunday night trip to the ER, because the toddler tripped over Mom’s shoe and smashed her nose into a chair frame. Yeah, good memories.
But then. There are those surprises. The ones we can’t joke about because they threaten to break us. Bed rest. Pink slip. Miscarriage. Intensive care. You know the list.
These, too, are signs that we’re mothers, wives, human. They’ve been handed to people I love. To me. To you.
We tell ourselves these hardships aren’t supposed to be part of living the dream. But God’s truth says they are. “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time,” (Psalm 34:19 NLT).
Last week, I got one of my favorite phone calls—from my dear old friend and college roommate, Alisa. Small kids and a state border have kept us apart in recent years, but all it takes is a half-hour chat to plop us right back in those bean bag chairs on campus.
She called because she needed somebody to laugh with her about a shameful mommy incident. Let me qualify this by saying Alisa is a fantastic mom. But that morning, she kinda, sorta forgot to feed her kindergartner breakfast before shipping her off to school.
No lie, she didn’t even realize the flub until her mini-van was idling in the drop-off line. Isn’t that terrible and altogether hilarious? Don’t judge—you know you’re capable of it, too!
So why is this remarkable? That’s what moms do—we chatter about what our kids ate for breakfast. No big deal.
But Alisa has much more to talk about, if she wanted to. Nine months ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Talk about one of life’s surprises. At 36 years old, with four kids under the age of 7, my sweet friend had to figure out how to juggle chemo with carpooling, packing lunches, and changing diapers.
She could’ve called to complain or to invite me to her pity party. But she chose to laugh. To focus on the everyday things, the busy work of being a mom. Because that’s what life is, isn’t it? We get up every day, strap on our burdens and go about the tasks God gave us.
Your burdens might be different from Alisa’s. But we all have them, and we all have a choice. We can remain in a state of shock, consumed by angst and shaking our fists at God. Or we can run to him and plead for the strength to suffer, trusting in his compassion, and holding on for the rescue.
Easier said than done—definitely. I have a hard time digesting the notion that pain is not supposed to be out of the ordinary. Or, that it might even be for my benefit.
If God loves me, then shouldn’t he want me to be happy? I suppose it depends on my definition of happy. Yes, God loves me. He loves me more than I can comprehend. And that’s why he’s more concerned about my eternal character than my temporal bliss.
Alisa got it right. I don’t know if I could handle cancer with as much grace as I saw in her this past year. But then God is in the business of grace. If he asks us to face trouble, I believe he will walk with us through the trial.
There’s another moral to this story. Keep a stash of crackers in your glove compartment, ladies. Oh sure, we think we’ll never be that mom. Alisa thought so, too. Thankfully God’s grace touches even the kindergarten lunch schedule—10:45 a.m., the earliest shift. Praise the Lord! His compassions are new every breakfast.
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