Momma, you do a lot of things...I know you do. You wash dishes and sweep floors, you fold laundry and run errands, you cook meals and teach manners, and you almost never rest! Maybe you're up in the night changing diapers or chasing away nightmares. Maybe you spend the day wiping noses or teaching math. Maybe you wait up at night for the teen who just got his driver's license. Maybe you field questions from the daughter who's just moved into the dorms.
But why do you do what you do? Do you go about your day-to-day tasks out of duty...because it's expected of you or it's the responsible thing to do? Do you fulfill those obligations because of the people you love? Do you love what you do? Do you feel called to it? Why DO you do everything you do?
Knowing the answer to that question matters. Maybe not today...maybe not tomorrow...but one day.
Life is hard, and even the most enjoyable of tasks become monotonous, the most pleasurable of activities become duty. And by and by they can wear you down...unless you have an end goal in sight...a promise...a win...a reward. It can be big or small, spectacular or beautiful in a personal and private way. But I know from personal experience that unless that crown of glory outshines the pain, you won't have the motivation to keep going. Because there WILL come a day when you just want to give up!
That day came for me about eight years ago. All the tasks, all the roles added up until it felt like too much. That day I found myself sitting at the computer searching for plane tickets to New York City. All I wanted to do was run away and hide...to lose myself in the crowd...to be responsible for no one but me.
It may surprise you, but even Jesus got the the point where he didn't want to go on. Perhaps one of the most moving but also the most human pictures we have of Jesus is the story of his prayer vigil in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his arrest which led to his crucifixion. We know from the various accounts in the Gospels that he spent a portion of his last night on earth in utter anguish over what he knew he must do. He didn't want to do it...in his humanness, he felt like he couldn't go on. And he begged his Father to let him off the hook, saying "if there is any other way...."
I've been there. Perhaps you have too. Sometimes life seems like too much. We desperately wish there were another way....And sometimes there is. Sometimes we can make choices or changes which lighten the load and help see us through....But sometimes we have to walk through that valley of the shadow of death. Sometimes we have to shoulder that cross.
If you know Jesus' passion story, then you know that his prayer didn't end with "take this bitter cup from me." His prayer ended with, "...yet not my will, but yours be done." How could Jesus pray that? He was going to his death--and a torturous one at that!
We get a clue from Hebrews 12 verse 2:
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the one who not only initiates but also perfects and finishes our faith, who for the joy that was before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame. He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God."
Did you catch that WHY? Because of the joy awaiting him--THAT was how Jesus could endure all the anguish, the betrayal, the denial, the torture, the cross, the sin, the shame. He had his eyes solidly fixed on something bigger and better and more glorious awaiting him in the future, and it gave him the strength to keep going when everything inside of him screamed NO.
The same is true for us. The day will come for each one of us when the pain, the struggle, perhaps just the unending, soul-draining weariness brings us to our knees and we feel we simply can't go on. In that moment, we need a WHY...a goal, a hope, a promise for something better that urges us to get back up and keep going. Mine? I do it in hope of bringing others to faith and hope and life--whether that is my own family or those to whom I feel called to minister, such as you! I do it for the joy of walking in that purpose to which I am called, fulfilling that role in God's kingdom for which he designed me and doing those good works which he prepared in advance that I should do (Eph. 2:10).
I can't dictate what that crown, that win, that reward is for you. Your heart's longing is probably different from mine. But this I do know...those whose hope is in the LORD find their strength renewed, because when all seems dark and hopeless HE is the light and HE is hope. When I fix my eyes on Jesus, my purpose, my goal, my promise, my WHY becomes so much bigger than when I fix my eyes on the problems or the tasks or the bone-weariness I'm feeling.
Momma, can you realign you vision? Can you fix YOUR eyes on Jesus and find your joy and your WHY in serving Him? That is my hope for you. I'm praying that for you today!
God, will you please uphold the mother who is reading this today--who is feeling weary and wondering if it's even worth it. Lord, help her fix her eyes on YOU. Help her find her motivation, her purpose, her courage, and her joy in YOU. And will you renew her strength as only You can do? I ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.