05 December 2007

Got courage?

So there's this nice little ecumenical moms' group that I attend (more on that some other time, perhaps). But one of the discussion questions today was "Have you ever experienced a time when you realized you didn't have enough of/in yourself to supply all your child needed?"

My immediate reaction was to mentally reframe the question: Was there ever a time when I DID think I had a clue what I was doing or that I was fit to be a mother? In fact, it was just the other day that I phoned my pastor, and, shouting in order to be heard over the general weeping and gnashing of teeth in the background, informed him that I was certain that I was going to hell, on this particular occasion for both despising my vocation and failing at it utterly. Um, it had been kind of a rough morning with the boys...

(Those of you who are feeling badly for the poor shocked clergyman might benefit from the full disclosure that said pastor happens to be my husband, and is therefore accustomed to dealing with occasional phone calls of this nature. In fact, to my great surprise, he has informed me--not in detail of course--that my calls are actually not the most shocking ones he handles.)

But back to the question at hand. Of course I don't have what it takes. And that's the point, though I forget it every day. When will I finally learn to lean not unto mine own understanding, but in all my ways, to acknowledge Him? And that it's ok sometimes to lean also on those He has placed at strategic points along that path to help me, even as He positions me to help others along as well?

Gauntlets' recent post included: "Let us worry not a whit about the accusations, expectations, and depictions of this dark world as it slouches toward Bethlehem." Right on. And to add a twist: the accusations, expectations, and depictions that daunt me the most are those that come from within the darkness of my own heart.

I hope you're bearing with me in this post, because this is where it gets good. My courage tends to fail me from time to time, and I just came across the following from Amy Carmichael. It's a bit long to post, but it's worth it:

"You can refuse the spirit of fear, which never comes to us from God (And if He does not send it, who does?) Instead, open your heart wide to the Spirit of "power and love and a calm and well-balanced mind, and discipline and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified). Because fear is so infectious, let us, for the sake of others and ourselves, refuse it.

"Thank God--! Courage is as "infectious" as dis-couragement. Haven't you often felt the cheer and strength that seem to flow from a person whose mind is fixed and firm on God? I have.

"And I have been thinking of another, a greater reason for refusing the spirit of fear.

"When we are downhearted or fearful or weak, we are saying to everybody (by the way we look and by our timidity, if not by our words), 'After all, the Lord can't be absolutely trusted.'

"Somewhere near us, though we do not see them, are others: Men and women who we can see; and also good angels and evil spirits who we cannot see. To all of these, when we give in to fear, we say the same dishonoring thing.

"We have a Savior who has never once failed us. He never will fail us. He has loved and led and guarded us all these years.

"Look to Him now, and pray from the barren bedrock of your heart, if that is the 'ground' you are standing on--'Lord, give me courage!'"

Courage, Sisters! Let's "infect" the world!


Rebekah said...

Here's the thing, girls: I don't believe either of you when you talk about what lousy mothers you are, because let me tell you, you've got nothing on me. That's exactly why I wanted this venue where we could hear from each other regularly on this topic. I always feel better (or appropriately worse, ha ha!) when I hear how things are going in your houses. So thanks, and you're great, and I'm relieved once again to hear that I'm not the only mom in the world for whom "despising my vocation" is a relevant phrase. And, RM, if it makes you feel any better, it has gotten easier for me as the crew has gotten older. Number one turned 4 and it was like the clouds lifted--so hang in there!

Reb. Mary said...

Yeah, it's weird how I'm already more sane than I was with only one small (or perhaps I should say young) child at home. Seems like with more underfoot the craziness would increase, no? And it's not like life gets any less intense. But somehow, it does keep getting easier.