Okay, so I have a bit of Clark Griswold in me.
I get these ideas in my head about how it “should” be. I can see it – so nice, relaxing, children obeying and being respectful regardless of what is asked of them, a happy husband returning home to swoop up the kids, give me a kiss, and we all erupt in spontaneous laughter. We can’t help but just feel JOY for this life we are leading together. My house is organized, clean, and it smells good. Dinner is ready exactly on time, and my husband cheerfully washes dishes as I ready the children for bed. We sit, we relax, we drink a glass of wine and reflect on our day and our perfectness. See what I mean about the Griswoldness?
That scene plays out in movies, but it is ridiculous.
We may get glimpses of it certainly. We may get 50% of that scene to play out on a great day, and isn’t it SO EASY to be a great mom on THOSE days? The ones where things just seem to work out? We’re all fairly relaxed and happy, traffic is easy as we run our errands, there are no meltdowns to speak of, and there is just a general sense of calm to the day. I LOVE THOSE DAYS. I am an AWESOME mom on those days.
The reality is though, that those days are not the norm. If you have kids, then it is almost a guarantee that there will be a difficult moment or two in there, and more than once your patience will be tested. Your resolve to be the kind of mom you desperately want to be will be holding on to a thread. On any given day, you will most likely experience a little of all of it. The salty goodness of enjoying your children will undoubtedly have a few dashes of pepper. That’s life. We can handle it.
Then there are those OTHER days…that I just refer to as “the ugly days”. Those are the ones where everything goes sideways and by the time the kids get to bed and your own head hits the pillow, you seriously wonder if you have it in you to get up in the morning and start all over again. Those are the days full of tantrums, non-stop whining, horrible traffic, empty shelves where the eggs, milk, etc…are supposed to ALWAYS BE at the grocery store. Those days will be long lines at the Post Office, exploding diapers while at a restaurant, and a mixture of spit up, snot, and coffee on your favorite shirt after you’ve already left the house.
When you are reduced to a puddle on the floor, and your husband is working late, and you are the only responsible grown up around so you HAVE to just get through it, think of this.
THESE ARE YOUR DEFINING DAYS.
These are the days where it is so hard to be a great mom. These are the days that test your character, your resolve, your ideals, and your heart. The easy days are exactly that – easy. These are the days where you find your strength. These are the days where you realize you have more grit than you ever imagined. These are the days that will shape you and will show your children how to handle whatever life throws at them, because you know what? They are watching. Determine on these days to dig your heels in and do all the hard, dirty work that is required of that day. Know that these days are NOT the norm, and that you can and will survive and thrive. Show your kids what strength of character looks like by choosing joy in the midst of your chaos, and by refusing to let circumstances steer your heart.
This verse is one that has spoken to me through every season in my life and will continue to until I draw my last breath.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
This is how God wants us to face our trials, whether big or small, no matter what. The ugly days are when we grow IF we allow ourselves that opportunity. They can easily defeat us, but I want to challenge you to stretch yourself. To grow. To lean into Jesus on those days and know with all of YOURSELF that He can change your heart. He will equip you to handle whatever is thrown at you with grace, and with love, and with a heart that feels full, not defeated.
Maybe you are already familiar with this verse. However, have you kept reading? The next part is just as good.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Isn’t that just the most amazing?? As moms, we need wisdom. Lots of it, right? Every age and stage we enter is new and presents its own challenges and fun, but we must equip ourselves to be ready for it. The most important thing we can do for our children is to steer them toward their own relationship with Jesus. If we are going to be successful in that, we need to know Him well ourselves, and we need to be filling ourselves up with His word, and His truth, and gaining wisdom for this life. We cannot pass on what we do not have ourselves. If we are in God’s word, and we are praying for Him to give us wisdom in our parenting, and in how we should shepherd these precious souls that He has entrusted to us, HE WILL GIVE US THE WISDOM WE ASK FOR. It says it right there. It is a promise! That is what verse 5 says, but wait…hold it…read verse 6 again. We have to believe. Sometimes we ask God for something while we really never expect it to happen. We get so caught up in our own limitations that we limit God. Let’s believe Him at His word. Let’s trust Him.
He gave you your sweet babe(s). That is no mistake. Let’s soak up His wisdom, and fill our minds with how he wants us to live and be, so that when we are in the midst of an “ugly day”, we don’t get pulled under with the waves, but instead we hold the hand of the One who walks on water and we trust that we will find our footing.
These ugly days are going to make us into strong, anchored moms. They are necessary. Let them shape you into a better version of yourself.
When you are having an ugly day, what is the biggest challenge for you? How do you choose joy in the midst of crazy hard days?
Please feel free to leave your thoughts and experiences below.