Cease Striving

45 minutes ago, I posted a request for prayer to Facebook. 30 minutes ago, I had a meltdown on my couch.

I cried because I am burnt out. I cried because I wish my family and best friends lived nearby. I cried because I often feel very alone. I cried because I often feel like I'm not doing enough, well enough. Because I was supposed to be savoring these last months with Isabel before the baby comes and really I'm just waiting for bedtime each day. Because soon another baby will be here and not only will I not have any breaks in my day, but I won't sleep at night, either. Because Isabel is extremely strong-willed and prone to tantrums, and doesn't seem to respond to discipline. Because Isabel can't yet be reasoned with and can't tell me why she doesn't want to eat the food I give her. Because life is stressful right now with abundance of need and lack of resources.

These are the reasons I cried.

They are legitimate, but I know I'm not alone in these feelings, especially as a newish mom, or a pregnant mom. Even as I voiced them to my husband, a still, small voice reminded me of these things:

1. CEASE STRIVING AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. Cease striving. Be at peace. Stop trying so hard. Rest in Him, soak up his Word, talk to Him, and let him handle it. He'll give me what I need. It is under control. My striving only tells Him I don't trust Him or I think I have something of worth to offer on my own. (Psalm 46:10)

2. MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. I'm weak. This is just another opportunity to let God's power shine in my insufficiency. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

3. HE HAS GIVEN ME ALL I NEED FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS. Including life with a strong-willed toddler who won't nap and a baby on the way. (2 Peter 1:3)

Praise Him. Praise Him for speaking to me when I needed it. Praise Him for giving me His Word and allowing it to sink into the recesses of my mind for such a time as this. Praise Him for allowing me the blessings of husband, children, home- with all the stress those things bring. Praise Him for giving me my heart's desire, all the while knowing it would be the thing that whittles me down and shapes me into (hopefully, one day) a woman who looks like Christ.

I have so much to learn. I want so badly to allow those words from God to preach to me before I have a meltdown on my couch. But as Paul said, "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So if ceasing striving means I let Isabel put stickers on the wood floors to keep her busy and occupied so I can have a few minutes to fold laundry, then I'll do that. If it means I lay on the floor for a bit because I'm tired, and let her climb on me and unfold the laundry I just folded, just to get some rest, then I'll do that. Because ultimately, God's the one who will change my daughter's wayward heart. He's the one who will use any good I do to influence her positively, and He's the one who will mend any harm I cause by my own sinfulness. He's got her days already planned. And mine- and my nights, too. He's got this baking bun's days planned as well, and already knows if she'll be a good sleeper or not (please God, let her be). So I can cease striving and rest in the knowledge that he is GOD. There's a lot in that name; enough to remind me of why I can be still.

But I still believe in the power of prayer. So do pray for me. Please pray that I am an example of a godly wife and mother, even in my human frailty and sinfulness. Please pray that I can find moments of physical and mental rest. Pray that I will not feel so alone. Pray that Isabel and I will savor our last 4 months together of just "us." Pray that God readies all of us for our new little one. And please pray that God continues to provide for our needs.

Wherever this finds you, I pray that you too will be able to cease striving and know that He is God. Or, in layman's terms, let "Jesus take the wheel." Hahaha.
xoxo, A