On Laying Aside “What I Think I Deserve” to Follow Jesus (as a Mother)
I feel that God is calling me to a deeper life. (And you!)
This is a shift that’s happened subtly over the past several months. Somewhere along the line I began surrendering my expectations about my life to God.
These were expectations of things like comfort, help, control, sleep, breaks, entertainment, pampering, “me time,” goals, date-nights and personal pursuits.
I began letting go of my plans and entitlements, my ideas of what life should be. I began to surrender my life to Jesus on a new level –not just on a big-picture scale, but on a today, in-this-moment sort of way. It’s been a very slow process… but it’s beginning to take root. And it looks a lot like trust in God.
I have reached countless breaking points since becoming a mother, all of which paved the way for unprecedented spiritual growth and depth with God. I am exceedingly grateful for each of these times.
And somewhere after my third baby was born, I hit the end of myself.
At some point, I began to function out of God’s strength rather than my own. I began to walk in step with Him and to follow Him in each moment, rather than to demand my rights or advocate for my own “happiness” or ease of living. (I don’t do this perfectly! But I’m living and thinking this way more than ever.)
This is, in part, what facilitated my decision to submit to God’s leading in my life to homeschool next year. I’ll be honest, that didn’t fit my image of what would be in my personal, day-to-day best interests.
But suddenly, “my best interests” are mattering less, and I’m learning to trust God more. In doing so, I’m creating an opportunity to experience His miraculous provision in my life. It’s already happened with inexplicable excitement, joy and enthusiasm for this next season of home school.
This new perspective of surrender has other implications as well.
It means guarding my mouth to keep from complaining. It means not closing myself off to things that God might call me to do.
It means choosing joy and gratitude every day, laying down my life, trusting God with outcomes and letting go of control.
It means surrendering my plans –giving them to God with open hands.
So for example, I currently have three children, and this is exactly what my husband and I have always said we wanted. Plus, we are also more than content with the level of sacrifice and responsibility that three children require. So on paper, we’re definitely done having kids.
What’s more, I have struggled with anxiety and overstimulation since the third was born. I’ve experienced new levels of sleep-deprivation, felt stuck at home, and have had no choice but to step back from ministry, leadership roles and even friendships. There is NO doubt that my best interests dictate that this having babies thing be done.
Not to mention that with every little person we bring into the world, we make our financial situation just that much more strained. Plus the physical strain of pregnancy and so on.
So we should be done having kids, right? By the world’s standards… yes! My the measure of “me,” yes!
But in God’s eternal, glorious, kingdom-level, bigger-than-my-self-pity plan? Maybe or maybe not.
To be clear, I do still feel that our family is complete, but this is one of the things I have felt moved to surrender to God.
Because I’m realizing that the purpose of my life is not comfort or ease. Truly, this life is nothing more than a mist in the wind. How wrongly we often evaluate it’s value, to our great folly! We pursue all the wrong things when we spend our brief moments on the earth consumed with self and pursuing present rewards rather than having the faith to laying up treasures in heaven through obedience and kingdom work instead.
When I am willing to follow God unreservedly, I get to experience the unparalleled blessings of His provision and favor both now and eternally. And if this life doesn’t look how I think I deserve for it to look, I’m learning that that’s okay too.
When I reach the end of myself there is the glorious free-fall of trust. This is where the adventure is found. This is the life lived abundantly!
And it’s truly rich.
How are you surrendering your life to Jesus today?
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I’m noticing more and more God is pulling me to a more simplistic, husband and children focused day rather than where I can get 20 or 30 minutes of *me-time*. I’m a mom of four and I love it and yet I fell over stimulated and anxious and feeling the need to retreat. God is telling me to engage in them and He will fix the rest. I’m spending more time with them, cooking thought out meals, and being a better home maker. Our job at home is extremely important. Remembering I am more than a maid and babysitter is key. I’m a child of God and He has given me 4 blessings to raise in his image. I’m going to do my best to keep my days available to hear what He has for me.
I love that! Such a great perspective Kelly!
i kinda have similar feelings since having my third. we never planned on three, we got my dream: an older boy, and a baby girl, and we were done.
we were doing fertilitycare, and we got pregnant during a dry ovulation or something. 😛 i kinda panicked, and it took me probably 6 months to get used to and fully accepting of the idea. therefore, it felt like a very short pregnancy! 😛
but now that hes here, and i had a homebirth, and everything was so beautiful and just exactly how i wanted it and needed it to be… i feel like i also have surrendered our family picture to God. though i never planned on more than two, i can see how God molded me the past 11 months since i got pregnant into a woman who is happier, and less neurotic than i used to be! i can see how the OCD and type A that i was is no longer ruling my life. im more patient! im more flexible.
and if #4 comes along (hopefully not soon!) we will be accepting of that. a lot more accepting than i was at the beginning of #3! 🙂 and im praising God, because in all things He DOES know what is for our good! !
I can relate so much Erika! I love how you are allowing God to mold you through the struggle of it. My baby is turning one this month, so life is slowly getting easier. But even if it weren’t God is good and His grace is sufficient! I’m marveling at that! I love how you’ve surrendered your family picture to God, not just to say, “okay, so we have three now,” but to truly open your hands even if that means MORE. It’s such a good place to get to, whether or not more kids are in the cards! God bless you and your growing family!
amen! 🙂 He knows best in all things, uses all things for good! 🙂
Beautiful post! I feel like I can relate on so many levels. Anxiety has been sneaking into the cracks of my heart and affecting my day-to-day life. Which I hate, because I know my husband is dealing with so much and I don’t want to create more stress for him. I feel like spring and summer will bring with us more transitions and adventures. I do believe that God will bring us through if I continue to surrender our life to him. Thank you for your encouragement!
This is just great! Our Lord is always in touch with what’s good for us.
Amen! This is encouraging, thank you! As I am anticipating baby number 3’s arrival any day now I am sincerely praying for God to prepare my heart and mind to be ready to lay down more of myself. I pray He continues to do His good transforming work in me and in you too!
I just LOOOVE this! When I find myself over exhausted and at my whits end, I remind myself that what I’m doing for my family by coming home and being present, is bigger than myself. I have realized that I play a big part, but God’s plan is so much bigger. Life may not look how I want it to look, but sometimes, you have to throw out your expectations, go with the flow and surrender yourself to God’s plans.
Handing over our ideas for our “best interests” can be so hard. We think our plan is the best and exactly what would make us happiest. But then when we surrender and are past that and see that something else did, in fact, bring us greater joy it’s just a reminder once again that God knows better and loves us better than we do ourselves. Thank you for this reminder today. As I go into these last few weeks before my baby is born and then into the newborn fog, I will need to keep this truth in front of me everyday!
Thank you so much for your honesty and allowing God to use you in this way. You are such an encouragement to me as a stay at home mum in Australia. I’ve been telling my other friend’s about your blog too. God bless you and your precious family.
The longer I follow Jesus, the more it is all about trusting Him. In this uncertain time, I hear him whisper, “Do you trust me, Angela?” My natural inclination is not to – but as I recall his faithfulness in the past, I knower is indeed trustworthy. It’s so good to hear your reflections Katie.
The Lord has been teaching me about this topic recently as well. Ultimately, we are not in control. He is, and His plan for us is better than anything we could imagine!