One morning I sat on the couch reading to my son crying real tears of defeat. The day and all of its challenges had already crushed me, so much so that I couldn’t read the words about monster trucks to my three year old. My daughters had fought all morning about essentially nothing, and my son had been giving me attitude right up until the moment he crawled into my lap with his “Blaze” book. It was too much, and I found myself questioning my abilities, my strengths, and my worth.
How could a mother let her children fight? How could a mother yell at this sweet three year old boy? How could a mother, a godly one at that, be so furious with her daughters? And I was furious: how had it come to this?
Then I remembered I am not worthy on my own. My own strength will never be enough: my own patience, my own self esteem, my own words, my own love. I am only worthy because he called me to be worthy. I was buried under sin until God sent his son to die for those sins. I was crushed by the many things I can’t possibly carry alone until Jesus bore those burdens. God alone can parent my babies, God alone can give me patience, God alone can help me when I can no longer do it on my own: cue more tears.
In that chair, blubbering through a story about monster trucks, I gave my day up to the Lord. I prayed “Obviously God I can’t do this on my own, and I know that only you can redeem it.” I’m not going to lie and say that everything was sunshine and roses after that. My girls still fought, my son still said “fine” to me when I insisted he take his laundry to his room, my daughter still lost all technology for tomorrow. But in those moments I was able to have a conversation with my kids about anger, about forgiveness, and about the fact I still loved them regardless. I was able to get three kids bathed and dressed and fed before school. I was able to dig deep into HIS worthiness and use it for his glory.
I am not worthy of this call on my own, but because he chose me for the call of motherhood, I am worthy. It is not my own patience, my own shining parental abilities, my own strength, or my own ideas. It is hands down, plain and simple, only the grace of God that enables me to get through each day. And, later, as I drove my oldest to school, I remembered this verse:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1
I desperately want to live a life worthy of the call that the Lord has given to me. He has called me to mother these three kiddos, he has called me to be a wife to my husband, and he has called me to write these words. Being worthy of this calling takes giving all of these things up to him. It is holding the calls he has given me with open hands, and allowing his way in all of them. It is giving up trying to do them all on my own.
Practically it means praying that his spirit will take over mine. It is literally speaking the words to him “not my will but yours be done (Luke 22:42).” And sometimes that is the hardest step. When I want my kids to act right, I can think up a “perfect plan,” but my first thought should be praying, seeking him first. When I am frustrated with my husband, my first step toward fixing it should not be seeking out the right answer, but seeking out the Lord in prayer. And when I inevitably feel uninspired or unmotivated in my writing, I just need to ask for his words.
It’s a comfort to know that nothing I can do will make me any more or less worthy of his call. No mistake I make, sin I commit, or amazing way I do something is going to change the fact that I am called to be a mom to these kids, a wife, and a writer. Working hard won’t change it, being lazy won’t change it; I am worthy because he called me. But that verse in Ephesians is also two-fold. Paul is urging us to live a life worthy of the calling. We’re already worthy, but we should have a desire to please God. We are worthy no matter what, but we can seek him and use his strength and patience and kindness to guide us.
And it’s not going to be perfect; it can’t be. If everything was perfect, if I could do it on my own, I’d have no need for God. I’d have no need for the Spirit to walk with me in this world. I need the Lord, and he loves me enough to be there. He loves each of us enough to walk with us no matter how we act. He loves us because he has called us, and he alone has made us worthy.