Tricycles, Bumpy Roads, & Keeping the Faith
I went on a short walk with my three kids the other night. My five year old rode his new bike, my three year old rode her tricycle, and the baby was in the stroller which I pushed. The walk was down the street and then back up to our house which is a slight but long hill.
As soon as we started on the way home, sweet girl, aged three, started crying, whining and complaining about how much she HATED the bumpy road.
By the time we made the turn to go up the hill, she was really mad and really crying.
"Carry me!" she says.
"You chose to ride your bike, you need to ride it. Going up the hill will make you stronger when you are bigger. And, mama is already pushing the stroller and she can't carry your tricycle," says mama (appearing quite mean to said three year old).
Mama of course helped push the bike, gave many words of encouragement but would not do the work for her. Sometimes mamas know that little girls need to feel how good it feels to do something they think is hard. Mamas know that you get strong enough to ride a two wheel bike by practicing on a tricycle. And mamas know that a wise mama does not do everything for her babies.
-Keeping the Faith-
Maybe the last six years of sleep deprivation, watching hubby go through graduate school, and all the accompanying worry about how we will eat our next meal have started to wear me out. I like to think I am strong and faithful in my devotion to the Lord.
But lately, I have just felt a little bit overwhelmed, under appreciated, stretched thin, and basically negative about life in general.
I cried myself to sleep the other night wondering why my burden would not be lifted from my shoulders. I was listening to my 15 month old cry in the next room. I was so tired. She was inconsolable. She has never slept well. She doesn't sleep well with us. She doesn't sleep well in her own bed. She just doesn't sleep. Something is always bothering her. I had had enough. I just prayed that this one night I could get a good nights rest. And you know what. I didn't. (This is not an invitation for advice please.)
I asked for something and once again, I did not get it. I didn't think it was an unreasonable request. One good nights sleep. I am honestly TRYING every day to be a good mom. I am trying to do all the things that I believe I should be doing with my life. But when I asked for something I did not get it.
It was so little and so stupid but it really shook my faith. Why could I not have what I wanted, in fact, what I really was sure I NEEDED because I could not take it any more?
I know, I sound like a spoiled three year old myself! I can step back and see that. But, there, in the worn out, sleep deprived, so tired of stress about money, and so tired from trying so hard for what seems like so little, I threw a temper tantrum in my head. It made me question for days and days all that I felt sure of in life.
Watching my three year old cry and whine because she didn't get her way when she was SURE she couldn't go on any more was a wake up call. She was tired. She didn't want to go on. She was sure she could not go on. She, in her little girl state of mind saw no value in pushing herself through something that was painful and hard and was for sure, a bumpy road.
"I HATE BUMPY ROADS MAMA!" was all she would say.
"I did not make the road bumpy baby, but you can do it," was all I could say to her.
Motherhood teaches us life's most difficult but necessary lessons. It is a hard calling. And life is often a bumpy road. Like children we don't always see the end from the beginning. Like children we are sometimes totally unaware of our capabilities and our needs. And like children, sometimes, when the road is at it's longest and most bumpy, we must continue to keep the faith and trust someone who does know the end from the beginning. It is the most tempting time to walk away, to lose faith, and to get angry, but it is when it is most important to do just the opposite.
Here is hoping you handle life's bumpy and long roads with more grace and dignity and faith than I. Here is hoping we can learn from our children the lessons that we most desperately need. And here is hoping I can step back and keep the faith.