As I folded the weekly mountain of laundry the other day, my son sat on a chair next to the bed and read his Bible chapter out loud. Among socks, shirts, and underwear, I was transported to the story in Numbers 11 where the Israelites are complaining about only ever getting manna to eat in the wilderness.
And Moses had had it up to here with their whining.
He began crying out to the Lord, claiming how unfair it was of God to burden him with all their needs. Hmmm, sound familiar?
“Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth?” he asks. When my kiddo got to the part where Moses said, “If this is how you’re going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me,” he burst out laughing.
In its context it was a rather hilarious statement. I could just imagine Moses sitting there, having a pity party: “Oy vey! Where am I going to get meat for all these people?”
Then it struck me- how many times this week alone have I cried out in a similar fashion? Overwhelmed with the complaints and needs of my kids, how many times have I pitied myself?
Especially because we just started a new homeschool year, I’ve felt burdened. There is great joy in educating my children, yes, but teaching two different grades all morning on top of housework and keeping up with a blog… yikes.
I too, have felt like I alone am not able to do this task I’ve been called to. I’ve felt annoyance and frustration towards the ones that I did “conceive and give birth to”.
God could have told Moses in that moment, when he was doing some wailing himself, to stop being so dramatic. He could have told him to quit pitying himself.
But He didn’t. He had compassion on him.
If you read on further in verses 16 and 17, God told Moses to gather 70 men from the elders of Israel, whom He would put His Spirit upon.
They shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone. – Numbers 11:17
Where do we get this idea that, as moms, we need to be martyrs? We’re consumed with guilt any time we take a few moments for ourselves. There may be a multitude of seemingly endless needs to take care of, but we need to give ourselves permission to take care of our children’s mother.
I’ve been asked many times as a homeschool mom: are there days that you feel like you need a break? Now, this may seem like a rather silly question at face value, but I do believe people might actually think I love to spend 24-7 with my children. And there really are some women out there who begin homeschooling initially because they truly enjoy being with their kids all the time.
So, do I have days when I feel like I need a break? I can answer that with an emphatic, resounding yes! And all the homeschooling moms said, “Amen”. 🙂
Even Jesus needed breaks from time to time during His earthly ministry. After pouring into people’s lives day in and day out, He withdrew to pray and be renewed.
We cannot give what we don’t have. Even if we can’t get away from the house by ourselves, we should at least be able to sneak away to the bathroom for a few minutes or put on a movie for the kids (yes I said it) so we can recharge by praying, calling a friend, or reading a magazine.
I’m not going to feed you some nonsense about how God never gives us more than we can handle, because it isn’t true. He does however, meet us in that place where we are totally vulnerable and cry out to Him. Where we are desperate for relief, faced with the sometimes crushing needs of small humans who depend solely on us.
God would rather I be real and brutally honest about where I am struggling, than put on a pretense of perfection.
Just when we fear He will tell us to suck it up, He is compassionate towards us. When we need it the most, He provides just the thing to ease our burden.
Maybe it’s a text from a friend. Maybe that simple, joyful moment with our kids in an otherwise chaotic day.
Maybe it is the gentle reminder from the Holy Spirit that He is with us. That He sees us, doing our best each day to wrangle, correct, and train these children.
The Lord also sustains and supplies for us supernaturally. Moses wondered how he would be able to get enough meat to feed all the people complaining for it. There weren’t enough resources in the camp.
You can almost picture God rolling up His metaphorical sleeves, saying “Watch this!” And just like that, quails appeared to feed the masses.
Even though we have limited resources of patience, strength, and grace, He is more than able to supply our needs to mother well.
The truth is, we do not have to bear it all alone. As moms, when we reach the point of wanting to wave the white flag, that’s the perfect time to invite Jesus into the chaos of our everyday lives.
Do you struggle with asking God and others for help? What are some ways you have seen Him ease your mothering burdens?