It's been one of
those really rough weeks. We've been sick for two weeks, none of us are down
and out anymore, but everyone is holding on to a little of something. I want to
blame the yuck of this week on the sickness, but I know that's not really it.
There's just something about sickness that brings out our sinness. Sickness
strips down our patched-up exteriors until the sin shines through a little
brighter and bolder than an average day.
Motherhood does the
same thing. It’s the combination of the physical, mental, and emotional needs
of my children that gets to me. The day-in, day-out grind of Mom Life that
leaves me stripped down to the base of who I am. I'll be honest, the base of
who I am is so ugly. This week I haven't been any semblance of the mom I want
to be. The pressure of my children's needs has pushed open the cracks I
constantly patch over.
The real problem
isn't that I've been angry mom, that I've yelled at my kids, that I've
retreated into a book when I should have played, that I've ignored, that I've
complained, that I've been lazy, or that I've been anxious. Those are all bad
and those are all sins. But if I work at those, I'm just putting a small patch
over the broken gaping hole. The real problem is what Brad Bigney calls
"the sin beneath the sin." It's the idol that I've set up on the
throne of my life.
It boils down to
this: I do what I do (like all those ugly sins mentioned above) because I want
what I want (my idol).
I've idolized all
kinds of things in my life, but lately my biggest idol is EASE. I've always
valued safety and boundaries and quiet space. Those are good, life-giving
things. But I don't get much of them as a mom. Over these past few weeks, the
systems I have set in place to give me those things has been completely
destroyed. Everything is uncomfortable, complicated, and difficult when I want
it to be easy and simple! I want motherhood to be manageable by my own strength
and with minimal effort, but it never is. Mothering
littles is grueling physically, emotionally, and mentally. This makes me crave
ease and comfort to the extent that I look to them for my salvation. I cling to
the hope that once motherhood gets a little easier my life will be better. I
put my trust in physical comfort instead of the true source of rest. That's the
sin beneath the sin, the idol of my heart.
So many elements of
the mothering process are difficult, but it's really the spiritual stripping
down that makes life feel like a battle. It's impossible keep idols hidden and sins in check in the
challenges of motherhood. As we try to put out fires by our own strength, they
burn away all the pretense and pretend, leaving us hanging on to what we really
worship. Then our sins pour forth, as we fight and kick to hold onto the
last bits of our idol burning up in the fires of life. But if we toss the idols to the side, if we
give up those worthless hopes for momentary salvation and cling to Jesus, the
Author of Hope and the Giver of Salvation, the fire may surround us, but we
will not be consumed by it. Our strength will be renewed in Christ, the
unshakeable foundation. When Christ sits at our center, the impossible days or
rough seasons still come, but as our simple jars of clay crack, our Hope spills
out in gospel grace.
Paul David Tripp explains that we don't just suffer the difficulties life throws our way, we all suffer how we experience them. It's not just hard to be a mom because of the unending needs of our children. It's hard to be a mom because we suffer the ugliness of our exposed idols. Motherhood is downright impossible alone. That's why I'm heading into my weekend giving up the battle over all my little sins and resting in Christ's power to win the war for the throne of my heart.