Can we call it suffering?
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
I’m not alone when I say, Motherhood is the most refining thing that’s happened to me.
Perhaps because I was ruled by underlying shame that lead me to believe I needed to pay back gratitude to God, or keep him happy with me. Or because I didn’t really understand grace.
Perhaps because I saw my insufficiency, that no matter how hard I worked, I would never be a perfect parent.
Perhaps it was my flailing mental health, or the anger, or the trauma, or the identity “crisis” of becoming a mum.
Motherhood. It’s refining. It’s hard. Can it be called suffering? I’m not sure. Regardless, as God was pulling back those layers, it felt p a i n f u l.
That pain has a way of revealing how fragile we are spiritually. It can do two things; ignite pride and independence, or move our heart to a posture of humility and dependence.
Alongside both of these can come spiritual drought, which has it own set of complications as well. Does this drought cause you to doubt? To look for answers that feel right?
Or does this drought feel more like that of the psalmist who cries, “as a deer pants for water, so my soul thirsts for you” and describes reaching out their arms, seeking the Lord and not being comforted.
Perhaps it’s a combination of both.
We need to remember, our relationship with God is not based on how we feel.
Our relationship with God is based on what Jesus did for us on the cross. His blood brought us salvation. Put this verse on your fridge and remember it in those times where you feel tempted to believe the lie about feelings - not feeling good enough, not feeling worthy, not feeling close.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
Seek to know God, not for knowledge sake, but to be intimate with God. Read the bible and look for what it reveals about Gods character, what God thinks about his people, what he actually calls us to do (not what we think he's wanting from us).
Don't feel like you need to hide from him. God is big enough to handle our emotion. Read the Psalms, be encouraged by their cry out to God and God's response. Be real with your doubt, your sin, your pain. Cast all your cares, all your anxieties on him. He promises to sustain you! (1 Peter 5:7).
Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little ears what you hear. Be careful little feet where you go. What are you beholding in this time? What are you filling yourself with?
Keep the habits that are going to hold you close to God.
Read your bible - even when it doesn't feel like a warm and fuzzy experience.
Pray - even if you feel like you have no words, posture your heart to the Lord and pray what you can.
"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans"
Sing, dance, marvel at creation - give praises to your Lord and King. Look for him in the little details of life. Seek him in the garden, marvel at him in creation, consider the works of his hands.
These "experiences" don't need to feel extraordinary.
Trust. Trust that God is refining you through all of this. That through hard stuff, he is moulding you to be like Jesus. That he is peeling back the layers in you that you need to hand over to him. Trust that he who began a good work in you will see it through to completion. Trust in the promises in his word, scourer it for truth you can cling to.
These days feel refining. Motherhood, the pandemic, those unforeseen life aches that keep popping up... these trials we endure have a tendency to awaken us to truth. We remember Jesus, God with us. We remember the cross. We remember the hope we have.
Will these trials drown us? Or will they be the wave that throws us up against the Rock of Ages?