In His Strength
All the time. Mamas, can I get a witness? Mommin’ is hard! During pregnancy our body is stretched and rearranged in unimaginable ways that bring discomfort and limits rest. Then we birth the baby and have a healing period with more physical (and lots of emotional!) discomfort. The first year is riddled with sleepless nights and the strain of fully supporting another human being. Then, if you’re crazy like me, you decide to do it all over again… and again! All of this equals one tired mama.
When I am tired I become my worst self. I begin to display the exact opposite traits of love (see 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7). I become impatient, unkind, rude, insisting on my own way, irritable, resentful, and I do not bear or endure all things. I become consumed with self when the little people in my home are still so reliant on me. I am battling my flesh once again.
Praise the Lord that “I can do all things THROUGH HIM who stengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, emphasis mine) On my own, my flesh fails me. On my own, I cannot adequately love or care for my children. But with Christ on my side and His Spirit within me I am able to overcome the weaknesses of my body. When I am tired He strengthens me. When I am tired my need for Him becomes evident. When I am tired I am given the opportunity to point my children to Jesus and teach them to rely on Him.
Spoiler alert: I fail pretty miserably pretty often at allowing Christ to strengthen me. I like to be in charge and try to control my own life. But through the work of the Spirit, I am learning to step aside and allow Christ to lead. Here are a few things I try to keep in mind when my flesh gets in the way:
- The Holy Spirit is alive within me! “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9-11) The Spirit of God lives in me. He is not waiting in heaven, down the street, or in the other room. He is WITHIN me! He is on my side! God has already defeated the flesh and He has given me His power through His Spirit.
- I am protected by the full armor of God. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12) I put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes with the readiness of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit-the Word is God (see Ephesians 6:14-17). God has equipped me for battle. He not only protects my heart and mind with His armor, but also gives me the greatest weapon to drive the enemy away- His Word (see the example of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11).
- No temptation is stronger than my God. “Give no opportunity to the devil… Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:27, 29) Physical discomfort leads me into temptation. But am I setting my thoughts on this world or on eternity? Am I giving the devil an opportunity to distract me from the truth of the Lord? Am I choosing to seek Christ first and His Kingdom or to seek my own personal comfort? Because of Christ in me, I am able to withstand temptation and able to give grace to the littles in my home, even when I am tired.
So I am still physically tired most days, but praise the Lord that my soul rests in His grace. Because of His redeeming work in my life I am able to walk in His strength and overcome the temptations of the flesh.
Here I go! Another day of mommin’ ahead of me, but I will continue to repeat to myself that the Spirit is within me, that I am protected by the full armor of God, and that my God is far stronger than any temptation that comes my way.