Untapped Resource

 

Early in our marriage, my husband would frequently say that without children (not including the 20 6-year olds I was currently teaching), I was like an ‘untapped resource’…there was so much within in me that I could offer to our children. After all, he claims one of the reasons he married me was because he knew I would be a wonderful mother.

 

Seven years and two amazing and energetic boys later, I joke with him that this resource is now completely tapped out. And although he is my biggest cheerleader and would never say such I thing, I sometimes wonder if he agrees…especially when he sees me lose my patience with our boys, talk in too harsh a tone, and whine about the constant battles after our little blessings are in bed.

 

The thing is…I thought I would be better at mothering than I am, or at least feel better at it. This was supposed to be my time to shine. From the time that I was a little girl, I have always wanted, more than anything, to be a mother.

 

Instead, most days I feel completely inadequate and unprepared for the greatest ‘job’ of my life.

 

Perhaps I had too high of expectations for myself…I was blessed to be raised by an extraordinary mother (of five children, mind you) and I rarely remember her being stressed or exasperated with us. My mom is an amazing example of selfless love.

 

I came across a quote recently that completely captivated the inward struggle that has characterized the last four years of my life as a mom:

 

‎I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realizing that God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses.” -Dave Harvey

 

Becoming a mother has forced me to look into a very clear mirror…and see an honest reflection of the state of my heart. And what I’ve seen hasn’t been pretty…by any stretch of the imagination.

 

I see selfishness.

 

Being responsible for the lives of two precious babies has made me see how selfish I can be…with my time, my energy, and my Dr. Pepper! In addition to meeting the needs and desires of my husband and children, I also genuinely want to be thoughtful of others. An entire day might pass before I get over myself and think of what I can do to show love to someone else, including those in my own household!

 

I see self-centeredness.

 

Did you notice above how I thought motherhood would be my time to shine? Yes, God has been teaching me a thing or two about self-centeredness. As it turns out, the world really doesn’t revolve around me. Perhaps I should have taken that Astronomy class in college, after all! Nevertheless, this lesson was learned in the middle of the night with a screaming baby in my arms and every day since.

 

I see pride.

 

I realize now how extremely prideful I have been in the past. This is probably the single greatest work that God has done on my heart since becoming a mother, although He certainly isn’t finished with me yet. God has used my feelings of inadequacy to humble me and make me realize how dependent I am on Him to meet my every need.

 

If motherhood has taught me anything, it has taught me that I can’t do it on my own. I am too weak. I am too selfish. I am too prideful. But I think God is using those feelings of inadequacy to draw me back to Him. I love this quote from the book Give Them Grace:

 

“It is a kindness when (God) strips us of self-reliance, because it is there, in our emptiness and brokenness, that we experience the privilege of his sustaining grace. It is only when we arrive at the dreaded place of weakness that we discover the surpassing power of Christ.” (p. 152)

 

Yes, I might feel “tapped out” in this season of life. But my feelings of exhaustion and inadequacy serve as a constant reminder of the well that never runs dry, the One that I will cling to until my last breath:

 

 “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” -John 4:13-14

 

Drink up, fellow mothers. We are assured this resource will never be ‘tapped out’.

 

Like this post? Read others like it.

 

*The picture at the top of the post was taken by my amazing dad at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

 

39 Comments

  1. You are so not alone. Are you sure you weren’t writing about me? :-) Thanks for expressing yourself so beautifully.

  2. i’m sorry– did you just read my mind and write down my exact thoughts and feelings???!! wow– i need to bookmark this post- because amen and thank you– i needed this reminder!

  3. Words can not express how much I needed these EXACT words on this exact day and moment in time. I am tapped out…and so very thankful for the reminder of the One who’s water never runs dry. Thank you for this ministry. My kids probably thank you, too! You have NO idea how impactful your humble heart and encouraging words were to this momma today.

  4. Wow, that is so true. Thank you for sharing so candidly with us. It’s tough to admit these things, but I think we all feel that way at times. God has been teaching me for the last couple of years about being gentle and kind and using a sweet voice. I can get so angry! I have been reminded many times that the root of my anger is usually selfishness, just like you mentioned. But, as I confess to Him and my kids, He is so faithful to help. I’m getting better, by God’s grace, at catching my wrong attitude before I get to a boiling point!

  5. Oh wow! You did an amazing job of putting the feelings of mommas into words. Thank you so much for being so honest…so transparent. You have no idea how encouraging this is to the rest of us! Those of us who “don’t have it all together” like so many blogs try to tell us we should. Thank you so much for letting the Lord shine through with His transforming and sustaining Grace as you share your weakness…the only way He can be His amazing strong self in our lives. I just started a new blog on this very subject…of being transparent and letting God’s Grace speak through my weaknesses. Thank you, thank you thank you!!! I am sharing this post!!! I have to! You said it so well!!!

    Growing in His Grace,

    Mary Joy

  6. I love how open and honest you are. It’s tough sometimes to admit our weaknesses, and I love to see how you turn to God for strength. It seems like I’ve been reading lots of different posts recently about how motherhood is so much more difficult than people expected. As someone who doesn’t have kids yet but hopes to within the next couple years, is there anything you wish you go back and tell your pre-kid self?

  7. Amen Sister. We need to start a Parent Revolution to celebrate just how perfectly imperfect we all are. We all mess up. We all meltdown. We all feel overwhelmed. As a friend of mine puts it, we don’t fart rainbows! ;) That’s actually an honest life lesson for our children to experience, not the farting part, but celebrating honesty. Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to help each other keep margin in our lives, laugh at the craziness, and figure out which balloons to let go. I always say God hand-picked my firstborn, complicated, screaming pterodactyl to humble me. I cried for months, then learned to laugh. Embrace the chaos became my new mantra as God gave me two more children. 3 babies in 31 months. I threw in the towel on the mother I thought I would be, and realized I am exactly the mother my children need me to be.

  8. This is so well written and really spoke to me. I feel like I start most days with high hopes, full of energy, and often it goes downhill early on in the day. I appreciate you sharing your heart.

  9. This post is precisely what I have been thinking about in relation to my own family… Thank you, you have given me more to think about!

  10. After commenting above I kept thinking about all of this. We all need to make a point to share our imperfect parenting whether we blog or post on FB or just in conversation with friends. My comment grew into a blog post. I want to make sure my friends know exactly where I stand. I don’t think we can hear it enough. Thanks Jenae! You are a blessing in all our lives!

  11. Thank you! There were tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart as I read this. I related to everything you wrote. Thanks for the reminder about God’s special love for us as mothers!

  12. You might also find sweet encouragement from a book called “Loving the Little Years”, I’ve seen it featured on various blogs lately, and can’t remember if yours was one. If not, I’d highly recommend it as an excellent book full of Gospel centered thinking regarding parenting while also highlighting the joys of life that we often miss.

  13. Thank you for your post! It speaks volumes to other moms including myself! When I was in high school and became a babysitter for friends and family I would look at parenting mistakes and say…”I don’t know why they are doing that. I’m not going to do that when I’m a mom”. Now that I’m here I definitely sympathize with those parents. There were some things I did learn to do or not do from them but I have plenty of other flaws and it is so different to be in the actual mom seat.

    It looks to me like you are a great mom despite any imperfections you might have. :)

  14. Thanks so much for this post! As a mom of five (age 8 and under), I OFTEN feel tapped out. I often pray to be more selfless and this post was certainly a blessing to me. Thanks for sharing and encouraging others as we continue on the journey of motherhood!

  15. Thank you so much for posting this, you spoke straight to my heart! This captures what I’ve been struggling with lately. I’ve been reminded to lean on Him- definitely can’t do it on my own!

  16. Thankyou! You have quite the way with words, and I think your blog and the time you spend on it, is a good testament of how you are NOT selfish! : )

  17. You know, I read the first few paragraphs and I thought: wow, this is exactly what I think. I imagined that, having been so good with other people’s children, I’d be a much better parent than I am. But I think, perhaps, that we are always most hard on ourselves. Thanks for writing this: the fact that you have makes me think that you are the opposite of proud and selfish.

  18. it’s like you read my mind. I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately. And add onto that the large amount of mommy guilt that goes with it…it’s not a pretty sight. Thank you for writing this!

  19. You have an amazing gift in your writing and being able to reach others. Thank you for reminding me of the one who is always there to help me when I am tapped out.

  20. Today was the first time I have ever visited your site and what a wonderful gift from God it was! Thank you so much for sharing your reflections and for encouraging us in our walks.

  21. I definitely feel the same way. God is molding ME more than I ever thought possible or needed with my 2 year old strong willed little boy!!! Thank you for such an honest post!!!

  22. Thanks so much for sharing! As a new mom (4.5 month old girl), I have often had feelings like this but never wanted to voice them. I thought that I was born to be a stay at home mom and many days, I can’t wait to get a full time job just to get some of my old life back. Your words were needed this morning.

  23. I want to start with a sincere Thank You. You devote many hours serving others. The photo is wonderfully captivating! I am a single parent of a twenty-two year old daughter and a sixteen year old son. This post was such a blessing. I’ve always taken my job of parenting very serious because God gave me my children to oversee for a season. I worked hard to do the best job possible. As my daughter continues to try to find herself, I seem to be the cause of everything that’s not perfect in her life. I am nowhere near perfect, but I am a good mother. I needed these words. The Lord gave them to you to post in such a perfect manner. I appreciate your obedience. I will continue to work hard. My son needs me more than ever. I just had to do the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do. And, that was to tell my son that his father had died. No matter how tapped out we feel, continue to Pray for guidance, strength, courage and inner peace. I will visit more often.

  24. Feelings universally felt but so often fearfully unexpressed, even to our spouses. As the mother of four miracle babies after nearly 10 years of infertility, you can imagine the depth of despair I felt when I realized how I wasn’t an “instant super mom” and I was quite overwhelmed. Having 4 biological children via C-section in a 5-year time span, I was tired, too tired to even think or pray sometimes, and so was my wonderful husband who endeavored to shoulder a portion of the responsibility. The guilt feelings, desire to flee, unappreciation for the gifts God did finally bestow have beleagured my heart even to this day, and my children are in their 20’s now. But God is the great Healer and offers us that “peace that passes understanding” and in reflection I see His Hand is everything He has allowed to occur in all of our lives the past 27 years we have been parents. Hang in there. There is much to learn about ourselves, life, and serving God with a pure heart. God’s peace.

  25. I could have written the exact same thing, although my girl will be 2 in march.

    I thought I would be an awesome, patience mother, and most of the time, I don’t feel that way. I feel I’m always rushing.

    *sigh* good to know it is a common feeling.

  26. I just want to say thank you for this beautiful reminder of where to go when I get tapped out. It is only through Him that I can come close to being the type of parent I need to be for my children. Thank you so much!

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