I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control,
that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.
I have been a Christian my entire life. As a child, I was obedient and hard-working. As a teenager, I made mistakes, but I generally remained obedient and hard-working. College, pretty much the same story. After college, as I married and began true adulthood, I was successful and had a life of relative ease. This continued, to a degree, with the birth of my first child. While I had to learn to be a mother, and there are always challenges, I got back on my feet rather quickly after my son came into my life. A couple of years later, a new joy came into our life with the birth of our second son. With this joy came a level of challenge I had never before experienced. My now 2 1/2 year old son began to be a greater challenge and my newborn son would cry every evening for hours with seemingly no hope of calming him. We would try feeding him, rocking him, singing to him, and so many other things, it became mentally, physically and spiritually exhausting. While there had been a number of challenges I had faced in my past, never had I encountered one that made me feel like such a failure with no hope of overcoming this challenge. Fortunately, I cried out to God, and in a moment of surrender, my life has forever been changed.
God spoke a truth into my heart. He made me realize that I am not a failure, but that this was something I could thrive in if I relinquished control to him. Jeremiah 10:23 tells us, “I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control, that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.” We are not in control of what comes to us in this life. Life is unpredictable. Human beings are unpredictable. I had to learn that I was not a failure as a mother because my baby cried without being consoled. I was not a failure because my toddler was testing his boundaries in an often frustrating manner. I was not a failure because I felt tired and overwhelmed. I was not a failure in God’s eyes, only my own. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” God does not intend for us to carry these burdens alone.
God cares for us so much that he invites us to live in his strength, so that we might find rest for our souls. I had been chasing every solution I could find in books, online, through friends; anywhere that I could find suggestions. The truth is, I never did find an answer to my problem. I did, however, find peace beyond all understanding. I stopped looking for reasons why and started enjoying the gifts in my life and being faithful to my duties as mother. I will not say my challenges got any easier, because the opposite was true. Physical and mental exhaustion set in more than I had ever experienced before. I was not the perfect example of grace under fire, but my outlook improved. Even more important, I gained empathy with other mothers. I truly saw that there is no one solution to raising children. Most of the judgment I had towards other mothers (which was generally well-meaning advice), was replaced with understanding and encouragement.
I had finally come to a place where I was willing to surrender all to God. I have had many occasions to do so again since that time. While I do find myself taking charge again from time to time, I know God wishes us to surrender all to him. Psalm 50:15 tells us, “call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” God promises us deliverance through our trouble (not necessarily from) and it will bring glory to him. My constant prayer is that my support and encouragement of other mothers brings him glory and those mothers a sense of peace. I am no expert, but I have learned a tremendous amount from following God’s will for me as a mother.
Perhaps your struggles are not with motherhood, but you feel overwhelmed and defeated. Maybe you have surrendered before, but have slipped back into the habit of taking control. May you find encouragement through him as I have. Lamentations 3:22-23 promises, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,his mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” My prayer for each of us is that we constantly look to the Lord for our strength and surrender all to him who promises deliverance, who gives us unending love, and whose burden is light.