Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits
Psalm 103:2 (NASB)
I was into year three of motherhood. I was 38 and my precious third child was just born, making us a family of five in three short years. I came from a large family and always saw myself with a houseful of children. However, my family started much later in life than many. Matt and I married just short of my 34th birthday. It was the first marriage for the both of us. Many times in my twenties I didn’t know if I’d ever marry, but I was ok as God had richly open up doors of ministry and travel that to this day I am grateful for. So when Matt and I married, we decided to start our family right away. After losing our first baby to miscarriage, a future family was not to be taken for granted so the next three years of pregnancy, birth, and a houseful of daily diapers was an adventure. I was thankful and grateful and blessed. But it was also very hard. Being single for so long and working full time since college until my mid-thirties created a life “whiplash” to my now world of caring for toddlers and newborns. I treasured my children but the person in the mirror had changed literally overnight. I was prone to depression and this season kicked it into overdrive. I didn’t know how to share it so I tried very hard to be the “supermom”. I was lonely, tired, losing sight of myself, and God seemed very very silent.
In trying to keep a sense of who I was before, I stayed connected to the women’s ministries I used to lead. We were going through the fruits of the Spirit and the new director asked me to speak on the fruit of kindness. I cherished the opportunity to speak again. But something had shifted. As I sat down to write a message, the white screen remained blank. I didn’t know what to write. I looked at the passage and read the words but no leading or sense of what God may want to say in this message came. As I tried to come up with ways God was calling us to a life of kindness, my words seemed flat and not life giving. The Spirit didn’t seem to be guiding it and it felt empty.
Then, Jesus who cares more for our hearts than our work, met me at that computer desk. I was broken. And He in His mysterious way met me. I cannot fully explain it but He was calling me to His side. He was calling me to stop trying to restore what I felt was lost and be present now – present with my new life. My new life was filled with messes, sweatpants, long days with no shower, and three tiny ones with my big brown eyes. Jesus in His grace stopped me from writing about kindness and met me with HIS kindness. Jesus was there with me. Not asking anything of me except to be. He wrapped me in compassion and understanding and He saw me in my every day. He knew I was tired and trying and instead of pressuring me to do more, He was calling me to rest. Instead of reminding me of where I was falling short, He reminded me that He was my strength. Instead of thinking of what I had lost, Jesus showed me how I was found.
In my new world, I could not rely on the strength or graces of yesterday. I needed a new well to drink from and Jesus, in His kindness, showed me to it. As I went to my computer again, I had a new message. It wasn’t what I had originally intended to bring. But it was the message Jesus gave me. Not to speak to these moms about how to better demonstrate kindness at home, but that Jesus is so ever kind to them. In the busyness. In the mess. In the mundane. The words Jesus gave to me.
I shared those words to these women. It wasn’t full of humor or quick three-point applications. But it was Jesus’ words. When I was finished praying for them at the end, the room was quiet. I got down from the stage, not knowing if anyone got anything from it and a woman ran to me and embraced me so quickly I didn’t even see her face. As she held me, she wept. She uttered no words, just wept. I prayed while she cried, asking Jesus in His kindness to meet her in her pain right there. When she was able, she thanked me for the words spoken. Here was a mom who desperately needed the kindness of Jesus as I did. And He met us both in our need.
We mustn’t forget that the Mighty God of the universe, who holds all things in His Hand, the Alpha and Omega and Sovereign Lord, is able to be incredibly intimate and kind to us in our places of need. The seemingly mundane prayers we think are too small in this world of overwhelming need are just as precious to the ears of Jesus as any other. Jehovah God, Creator and Holy Lord wanted to show us His heart – so He sent Jesus. His Son. Fully God, walking among men to reveal the heart of the Father.
Even if our world exists in the mundane, God is ever so kind. Ever so ready to meet us. Ready for our every need.
Mary Quillin is a city-girl-turned-country-girl in her new life in North Dakota. She has been married to her hubby for 16 years and has 3 wonderfully, different kids who have begun their teen years (and she would appreciate all the prayers as possible on that note). After many years in full time ministry, Mary is learning how to show up and daily discover the journey of being available for whatever Jesus leads her to. She spends her days trying to build a welcoming shabby chic home in the heartland of North Dakota while learning to write and run.