Broken and Rebuilt: a purpose for the little years

Sometimes motherhood breaks you apart. A couple of years ago I was in a season when two of my children would express their displeasure by banging their darling heads against the wood floor. One was simply imitating the other. He was less hardcore in his passion and would usually choose a softer surface, but the other son was serious. He would move to a hard floor to bang that head because carpet was simply too plush to properly display his passion. These fits came often and felt like failure. I started thinking that motherhood might kill me.

Motherhood got a hold of me and it was wringing my neck. Not physically, of course, but it was cracking apart all the pieces of my personhood. I felt like my personality, my passions, my self was sinking into the quicksand of this impossible job. All I could manage to be was simply mom, and I was barely surviving that.

The little years are such a short season. Put your head down and plow through it. Survive what feels impossible and motherhood will get easier. I've heard this advice practically everywhere: podcasts, instagram, blogs, and interviews. The consensus seems to be that baby and toddler years are nearly impossible, but don't worry, it will be over soon.

This advice misses the point. If we merely grit our teeth and simply survive this season, it will mean nothing. When every day feels like it is sucking a month of your life away, this short season can feel like eternity. I simply could not experience this draining, exhausting breaking of myself just to make it to the other side with a pile of pieces of who I once was. There had to be something more.

God has a greater purpose for these impossible years of little ones. God's purpose in motherhood is not keeping our kids alive. God's purpose for our motherhood is not even raising perfect, Christian kids. God uses the tool of motherhood to hollow us out of all the things that we've built ourselves upon so he can fill us up with Jesus.

I'm mostly on the other side of this season now, and I can tell you that God holds who you are in his hands. He is your keeper. He who created you will salvage the best pieces of who he made you to be, and rebuild a new you out of this season--a you fully reliant on the power of the gospel for every moment of every day. Don't just survive this season. Don't grasp the pieces that you think define you so tightly that God can't rebuild you. Give up yourself, not to your kids, but to God. Give up your energy to be renewed with his. Give up your checklist for his best laid plans. Give up yourself, and find God's faithfulness.

Jesus makes all things new (Rev 21:25a). Even you, worn out and broken mom. Even in this overwhelming impossible season. Renewal by Jesus is worth the pain, trial, and tears. Discovering his faithfulness makes being broken apart worth every painful moment. If you're empty and broken, take heart, Jesus has plans to rebuild you into something new.