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Holding It All Together

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As moms, we’ve all been there--those moments when it seems the world is shattering around us and we feel lost in the chaos.

Sometimes this overwhelmed feeling comes in truly daunting circumstances, but for me, it’s most paralyzing in the normal flow of life. It’s nothing extraordinary, but rather it’s those moments in the daily grind where I just don’t know how I can hold everything together: the preschooler is throwing a tantrum over being told ‘no’ to another fruit snack, the baby dropped an entire bowl of oatmeal on the floor, the husband called to say he will be home late from work, the roof is leaking during the big storm. These times when I feel out of control easily lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair.

When it all falls apart

It’s humbling to admit that I tend to despair so easily. I think that surely I’m more grounded than that. Clearly I should know better. But the lost, out of control feeling is real. So where do I go in those moments when it all seems to be falling apart?

I must look to Christ, remembering who He is and what He has done, and then I must press on. The circumstances around me don’t change, but my perspective shifts in a way that gives me the hope to carry on. Perhaps this is the greatest lesson the Lord is teaching me as I find myself in a life stage in which I often cannot manage everything in my own strength. When I just can’t hold it all together, I must look to the One who can.

The truth of Colossians 1:17 encourages me: in Christ “all things hold together.” What does that mean for me? Mainly that I don’t have to. I have spent so much energy in life trying to keep my life together, not letting anyone see me sweat, managing things well, completing the tasks before me with perfectionistic zeal.

Motherhood killed my perfectionism

Nothing demolished my illusions of self-sufficiency like the journey of motherhood. After being able to manage things with near perfectionism through school and work, the stripping of my pride has been a painful process of discovery for me. When in motherhood I saw I couldn’t manage life in my own strength, I sustained major trauma to who I thought I was.

God stripped away my ability to hold it all together through parenthood in many ways. Through multiple miscarriages, difficult deliveries, the challenges of caring for little ones, seemingly never-ending sleep deprivation, and juggling family and ministry, God has been gracious to allow me to see that I can’t do it. I do not, in my own strength, have what the role requires. I am not in control. I am insufficient.

But God revealed to me that the years that I seemingly was holding everything together in my own strength I was missing out on the fellowship that comes through clinging to him. When hit with a challenge I dug deeper into my own abilities instead of allowing the overwhelming circumstances to drive me to Christ. I believed the lie that the greatest joy comes through accomplishing a task with perfection. I missed out on the greatest joy, connecting with Christ.

Upheld daily

I have the opportunity every day to reach the end of myself and cling to Jesus, who is my perfection. When I feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, I need to look to Christ. Hebrews 1:3 teaches us that Christ “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” He not only created all things but sustains all things by his power. No matter what difficult circumstances I face, he can hold me up in the midst of my feelings of falling apart. Looking to him allows me to experience the fellowship of his presence, in which is found the fullness of joy and ultimate peace.

This Mother’s Day, I long to celebrate my inabilities and weaknesses as a mom, and to look to Christ whose power upholds me along this challenging journey. There is no greater gift for myself than to experience being united to Christ in the chaos of life. Furthermore, there is no greater gift I could give my children than to model putting to death my self-reliance and clinging to Christ daily.