“I just feel like I’m drowning,” she said, with a sleep-deprived look I knew all too well. “I think I know exactly what you mean,” I said.
Because it’s a phrase I know I’ve said more than I’d like to admit in my motherhood journey (especially since having my fireball Cora), and one that keeps coming up time & time again. I hear it from friends, from family, from older women and new moms alike.
Why is this so hard? How is it that one day we’re swimming along doing just fine, and the next day we can barely keep our heads above water?
The last month has been a little hard for me. It felt like I was stumbling around trying to find my way after a few hard losses. I was craving a couple of wins, and wondering where God was leading me to next. In the midst of my personal grief, my whole family got sick and I was feeling so mentally & physically exhausted that I felt like I was drowning in it. I was ready for a reprieve (ie: a nanny and a beach vacation somewhere exotic), and really ready to feel like myself again.
I was trying desperately to pull myself out of it, little by little. Attuning my mind and my heart in prayer to connect with Him. And as I closed my eyes during the worship music at church this last Sunday, I saw a vision. I saw a woman drowning, head bobbing up & down and up & down out of the water. Grasping around, trying to find something to cling on to. Calling out for her husband to save her. Crying out “help me” to her friends, her family, anyone who could hear. And then there was a man. Jesus. Standing right there, waiting for her to notice Him. He had been there the whole time, with His hand lowered down, ready to lift her up out of the water. His hope for her was not death, but life. Not drowning, but walking on water. She sees Him and they lock eyes, as she grabs His hand and is lifted up.
God does not abandon us. Does not leave us, or forsake us. He is right there, ready and waiting to pull us up out of the depths. When we’re so overloaded and exhausted from parenting, and responsibilities, and life —He’s right there, too. Ready to be our strength, to show us not only how to “not drown” but how to actually walk on water. Surpassing all of our expectations, and giving us access to the abundant life He has for us. But we need to stop expecting our husbands, our friends, our parents, or anyone else, to be our savior. It not only puts too much expectation on others, but it also distracts us from seeing the one who actually has the ability to rescue us.
So I’m locking eyes with HIM — reaching up, and allowing Him to pull me up out of the water. Teaching me baby steps, showing me how to put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, one day at a time. Teaching me how to have a Faith so great that it seeps down into every part of me, giving me access to abundant peace, patience, strength, and perseverance.
Trusting that these children He’s given me are blessings and not burdens, and that I have all that I need to parent them well. And that just as my Heavenly Father gives me grace, I will extend that same grace onto them, rather than expecting them to be perfect. Embracing the mess and the imperfections and the chaos, and trusting that even when I stumble, fall, or start to sink, Jesus is always always always right there, ready and waiting to pull me up again.
[Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”] – Matthew 14:29-31
I love that Jesus says “why did you doubt?” — it’s so easy to let our minds slip into doubt. Doubting who we are, who God says we are, and who we were created to be. Doubting our worthiness, our purpose, our capacity. And that doubt gives way to fear and together they create the perfect storm. But I’m learning that each day I can make a choice, a choice to cast aside doubt & fear, and activate my faith.
So today, I’m blessing us all with a boldness of faith that believes we can walk on water, right there with our sweet Jesus. And I’m praying that any mamas out there who feel like they’re drowning, feel like they’re not enough, feel like they’re not cut out for this — that His grace will shine upon you and you will know how loved & treasured you are as His daughter. That His hand will extend to yours and pull you up, allowing you catch your breath and rest in Him.