A few months ago, I wrote about how a burnt-out parent may find some new enthusiasm by taking time to play with their children. Shortly following, I wrote about the idea of “running on empty” in life, and a few ways to help with this feeling. The month after that, I wrote about the idea that while parenting may seem fruitless at times, it truly is something of substantial worth.
Is anyone sensing a theme here? If you remember that I write just as much for myself as I do for others, you may pick up on it: I’m kinda tired, y’all.
Perhaps it has been partly due to my husband’s travel schedule being a little busier than usual, resulting in a bit more solo parenting for me. Perhaps I have overestimated what school I can legitimately accomplish in a day with three girls in K-3rd grade and a busy toddler. Perhaps (okay, more like for sure) I haven’t been following my own advice at times and getting enough sleep, healthy meals, regular devotional times, etc. Or perhaps there’s something deeper or something physical going on that I haven’t totally figured out yet.
Whatever the case, after noticing some unusually Puddleglum-like moods of mine, my husband suggested that perhaps on his days at home, he should help me a bit with some of the kids’ schooling, and maybe give me a chance to get away from the kids for a few hours. All you stay-at-home parents out there can probably identify with the fact that this. sounded. awesome.
But at the same time, there was immediate guilt. What right did I have to be tired? I mean, being physically tired is pretty common with little ones, but other moms in my shoes would not have these other problems, I told myself. “Good moms” are not supposed to get emotionally worn out by mere childcare. They are supposed to count their blessings. They are to relish the moments they have with their babies. They ought to delight in teaching them something new every day. They must simply banish bad moods and ask God for more strength.
And they should definitely not require their hard-working husbands to take over some of the “wifely” duties while the wives go take a break. My pride couldn’t stand the idea that I was that much of a wimp. My husband works long hours, cleans the house, and tends the yard when he’s around, and I still need him to give me a break?! Uh, no. Not happening. I would figure out a way to get my act together somehow.
And yet… I couldn’t. I was stuck in a rut too deep for me to get out alone. Yet here I was refusing the helping hand that was offered.
As I turned this all over in my mind, however, I thought of one of the stories of Moses. During a certain battle of Israel, God had Moses stand on a hillside with his hands stretched toward the sky. When his hands were lifted, the Israelites were winning. But when he grew tired and lowered his arms, the enemy began to have the upper hand. It is no wonder that his arms got tired after holding them in the air all day, and yet… I imagine what I might have thought in his place. If God has given me this special job, won’t He give me enough strength to complete it? Perhaps I’m just not trusting Him enough. Maybe I should have prepared myself better… done more arm exercises, or brought myself some kind of pillars as armrests. I can do this… I don’t need help!
But no… I’m sure I couldn’t have done it alone any better than Moses did. Aaron and Hur had to help him. How embarrassing! …Or was it?
Actually, I think the story happened just the way God wanted. Moses wasn’t strong enough to do it by himself, and God knew it. Sure, God might have given him the supernatural strength to do it all alone, but instead He gave him strength from another source: the strength of a brother, the strength of a friend. God knows our frailty, and while He sometimes gives us the strength we need from within, He often places other people in our lives to come alongside us in our time of weakness. We just have to be willing to reach out and accept it.
I know God has called me to be a wife and a homeschooling mother. I, like Moses, have a special task. But I share this parenting journey with my husband… we are a team. And when one of the team falls down – whether they were knocked down by an opposing player or just tripped over their own shoelace – the other members pick up the slack. I don’t like being the one to cause the slack. But I think sometimes I just need to let go of my guilt and my pride and accept the fact that I am weak. I can’t do these things alone, and I’m thankful that God has placed special people in my life so that I don’t need to: my husband, my family, my church. I pray that each one reading this has someone you can depend on in your own times of need.
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka.