The Journey of Motherhood| By Jennifer Gonzales

“I know it’s hard mama. I know it can be hard to get up everyday and have these little people rely on you. I know it’s hard to feel like sometimes your world is so small. I want to remind you, you are their world. You are the world that those little ones revolve around. You are their nurture, their home, and their comfort. You are everything to them and I hope even on your hard days you know how special you are. Especially to your little people.” 

As I read this quote over and over, I sit here in the thick of motherhood. If I am honest, as a mama to four boys and a new baby girl, it can often feel more like the “trenches of motherhood”.

A trench, by definition, is a long, narrow ditch. I am all alone, there is no end in sight, and I am sometimes fearful that it will all cave in on me. It is chaotic, loud, and messy. My eyes wander around my house. I scan over my mental “to do” list, hear the many little voices demanding my attention or care, and my chest tightens.

How will I get it done? How can I give 100 percent to all that is being asked of me? Am I giving each one of these little people all that they need? Is it good enough?

 As these thoughts race through my head, I feel my heart sink deeper and deeper under the pressure I have taken on. I feel my shoulders slouch a little lower as I carry a weight I was not created to carry. 

Why does it feel like this though? 

You see, these are the things that I prayed for. This is the life I dreamed I would have — to be a mama to many and spend my days at home with them. I had dreamed up the big picture, but had not given much thought to the details. Being overwhelmed had not crossed my mind. Loneliness was not on my radar. Yet, here I am. 

Then it happens. As I am on the brink of weariness and defeat setting in, He comes. Jesus shows up and meets me right where I am at — right there in my mess.

There is so much grace when I see Him. I say when I see Him because He really has been there all along, but my vision fails me. My eyes see the mess, and my sight is clouded by it all. My ears hear the noise, and His voice is silenced. But when I see Him, everything changes. There is still mess and chaos. There is still noise. It does not magically disappear. 

But grace! It changes what I see. That trench I’m in? The long, narrow ditch? I begin to see it open up. I start seeing the walls expand and widen. My heart gets lighter as I see wide open spaces ahead of me. I start to see the blank canvases that are my little people, and excitement fills me as I think of the beautiful story God is painting with each one of their lives.

I can rest now. The burden is not mine. In His grace, I do my part and watch Him do the rest. He is faithful — Jesus really is that good. This is motherhood. The most beautiful, messiest and scariest hood there is. It has been quite a journey so far, but I could not be more privileged.

This is His dream for my life, and it is well with my soul. I will rise up every morning and say YES to this journey. I will give my all and trust that God will fill in the gaps.

If you are a mama and find yourself hidden away in a trench, take heart. The trench is a lie. Step out of it and into the wide open space. It is what you were created for, and you are doing a fabulous job! So, buckle up and enjoy the ride. Ya know what they say –“ ain’t no hood like motherhood.”

She watches over the ways of her household and meets every need they have. Her sons and daughters arise in one accord to extol her virtues, and her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms. Proverbs 31:27‭-‬28 TPT

Label Me Not| By Stephanie Cain

Have you ever lost yourself? You travel through life, days flying past like exits on an interstate, and all of a sudden, you realize you need to Google Map how to find you – the real you.

I think everyone has been there at one point or another. We live in a world where everyone wants to fit into these perfect boxes. The thing is, we are not designed like that. Each person is so multifaceted! We are all complex, beautiful, masterpieces handcrafted in God’s image. (Psalm 139:13-16) So we put on labels to help clarify what is in our box.

Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Caretaker. Housekeeper. Big. Tall. Short. Sassy. Quiet. Bookish. Athletic. Loud. Friendly. Not-so-friendly. Giving. Driven. Selfish. Professional. Hippy. Glamorous. Natural. Happy. Anxious. Funny. Boring. Weird. Popular. Loner.

By the time we put on all these labels that are meant to help “define us”, we cannot even tell what was in the box to begin with.

I struggle with this SO much! I am a relatively newlywed, new part-time working and part-time stay-at-home mom, and the only child to two wonderful parents who have illnesses and need help. I feel the weight of these labels daily. The pressure to be a great mom, and feeling like if I am not, I might ruin this gift God gave me. Wanting so badly to be a loving wife who keeps her house in order for her husband. Knowing that there is work to be done at my house, but also that my parents’ grass needs to be cut soon. Desiring to be fun and outgoing like other young moms even though you are an introvert. Striving to be skinny so the new cute trends will look good on you. Trying to have a meek, quiet spirit with a mouth that runs faster than a cheetah at times.

In the struggle to live up to these labels, I lose sight of me – the me that God made and saw as good. There is no labels, no hoops, no striving. He sees me, knows me deeply, and loves me unconditionally no matter how many dishes are in my sink.

“Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!” -Ephesians 3:17-19 (TPT)

My Facebook friend Leslie, who happens to be an amazing writer, recently posted something that stopped me in my tracks. She said this:

“We need grace to sit in a space and just BE…to remove the titles and responsibilities and roles and embrace the one identity that brings rest to the soul, ‘Child of God.’ We don’t have to strive with that name. We can fully and overwhelmingly just BE. He welcomes it.”

When I read those words, I realized how weighed down I was feeling from trying to be everything for everyone. When in reality, the most important thing I am is a Child of God. Walking in that calling will make everything else fall in line. So if you are where I was, one step away from asking Alexa how to find you, please take a moment to just BE, to remember who the Lord says you are, and to rest in Him.