Give me strength – a sentence often uttered in absolute desperation and through gritted teeth. When i read that sentence i picture a parent at the end of their tether in the supermarket or the doctors waiting room, full of frustration that their little one(s) won’t calm down or sit still or simply be quiet. I often say this phrase these days; not in anger or through gritted teeth though but a simple deep yearning for the Lord to step in and give me the strength and grace to be the parent He designed me to be. I often find myself saying it not because of my children, but because of what having children reveals to me about myself. Quite frankly i don’t like my short fuse, my selfishness, my need for control or any of the other traits we can label under the word ‘flesh’. We all have those things in us that need pruning, refining in the furnace, or just plain chainsawed off of our character but having children, and might i add home educating them, highlights those flaws immensely. I write this before 7am today having been up nearly all night with all three children. My husband is due back to work today after two days off sick and he has barely had any sleep. Five days ago my son woke us up having been sick everywhere (and i mean EVERYWHERE!) so after cleaning up the best we could in the dark we settled him back off to sleep. Since then we’ve had more nights filled with that oh so pleasant smell of vomit that has passed to others in the house. In our home if one child wakes it becomes an immediate task to keep the others asleep. This just seems impossible lately as for about three months now we’ve had issues with our youngest in the night. For whatever reason we find ourselves up every night trying to console her and this last night has been no different. Everybody has been awake as a result. Getting frustrated with teething problems, the effects of jabs, sickness, nappy rash, coughs and colds, potential indigestion, being to hot/cold etc etc is not the answer. I often find myself frustrated with ME and my lack of patience in those early hours…actually all hours these days! I continually find myself whispering those words, “Lord, give me strength” and amazingly, He does. I write this not to complain or to let the world know our struggles or to ask for help. So many wonderful people in our lives offer help which is greatly appreciated and is indeed the body of Christ in action. But my point is that we ask God for His strength and He actually shows up. Assistance with washing pots or giving the children time is all fantastic but the most beneficial help of all is God stepping in when my lenses are stuck to my eyes with tiredness or when i opt for dry shampoo because i simply can’t be bothered to shower. He gives grace when i’ve spoken a sharp word before checking my heart and my tongue. He gives strength when the children don’t like the plan. He gives love when we feel we are empty. This has been on my heart for a couple of weeks now so here i am getting it written down before the Holy Spirit gives up nudging me to do so.
Give me strength when i hear the word ‘mummy’ in the dark, when sickness prevails and tummies hurt.
Give me strength when i’m tired and have been up all night. When the medicine is free flowing and the children’s cries hurt my heart.
Give me strength when i lack the energy to cook or the desire to play or read books. When fresh air would do us good but it’s just too much hard work to get ready to go.
Give me strength when i’m being asked why for the thousandth time and help me to answer with a smile.
Give me strength when the meal gets thrown on the floor and i’ve found the baby has scribbled all over the walls.
Oh Lord give me strength when time seems to go so slow and my focus has become about surviving the day. Help me to remember that is not life in its fullness and that actually childhood passes by far too quick.
Give me strength when the baby cries just because i’ve put her down. When her world is all about me and daddy, yet i just need to nip to the loo!
When sleep comes in abundance yet home schooling is tough, give me strength. When it just seems impossible to have all three children happy at the same time, give me strength.
When my priorities are wrong, when my eyes aren’t on you, when i’ve failed to show my children your presence and love, please give me strength.
For the love the children show me even when i mess up, thank you for their grace toward me. Thank you for their cuddles, their words of affirmation. Thank you for their warm smiles, the sound of their laughter, the whispers of their heart in the dark. Thank you for their achievements, their growth, their determination.
Thank you for this hard work Lord. I am being real – it is hard. Sometimes it feels downright impossible. But Lord, all i ever wanted was to be a mum. That was my dream, my goal in life. And here i am, living it, sometimes slogging it, but actually truly loving it. Would i change any of it???? The lack of sleep, perhaps! But actually, the place it puts me in is actually rewarding in the long run. As hard as it can be Lord, i am thankful it puts me in a position where i simply cannot do it on my own. It shows me my need for you; your strength, your grace, your mercy. I am thankful it is producing character in me. I am thankful that my children know they can trust me. When they need me, i am there. They will grow knowing their parents will comfort them, provide for them, care for them at all times, even in the dark. Lord, may that show them your love. Give me patience Lord, grant me wisdom, may i walk in kindness.
Being a home school mum is time consuming and already at times i’ve questioned whether i can do it. But let’s face it, just being a mum is hard and throws out the same question. If i’m going to do this mum thing i may as well do it with gusto. So despite there being no lesson plans, evaluations, testing or grading system, i KNOW my children will benefit from emotional connections with their parents and others, the time invested in them, learning through play, your presence in the home and parents who often call out and say, “LORD, GIVE ME STRENGTH”