I have decided to take it upon myself to pray specifically for mothers. To be even more specific – stay-at-home-moms. I’m going to even take it one step further – I am going to pray each and every day for stay-at-home-mothers-of-preschoolers.
If you are one of these, you may have just chuckled when you read that. Or you may have burst into tears… Either way, I’m sure you recognize that you need prayer.
I know this because I need prayer. I love being a stay-at-home-mom-of-preschoolers, but lets take off the mask. This is hard work. It is trying. It’s tiring. It’s lonely. It’s frustrating.
I would like to focus on the “it’s lonely” part of the job description for today. I have been battling loneliness (and the depression that comes with it) for quite some time. It isn’t that I do not have friends. I am blessed with some wonderful friends in my life. However, they are dealing with a lot of the same struggles I am. It’s often easier to shut yourself in, and block everyone else out when you get to this point. Loneliness can be a vicious cycle.
We are all so busy, that we often don’t take time for friends. I am embarrassed to admit that the sentence I say to most people is “I’m stuck at home all day every day, so PLEASE, call or come visit!”
Most days I am stuck at the house all day, (I recognize this is largely my own fault for not being brave enough to venture out into the “wild blue yonder” with three kids, but in my town… we really have ZERO options of places to go interact with other moms and kids… Well, besides the parks, but that comes back to my fear of taking out three little ones by myself.) I desperately crave adult interaction!!
I didn’t really realize how bad it was until one day my husband came home from work and I asked him how his day was. “Fine” he replied. What did you do? I asked him. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “I taught the same lesson six times….” That is when I responded with tears in my eyes saying “I am at home all day, every day with a 3 year old, a 16 month old, and a 9 month old, please tell me every little detail of your day!” Yes, it really was that bad.
I’ve spent many nights crying. Telling God how lonely I was. Telling Him how depressed I was. A few weeks ago I saw one of those signs that has the quotes on it. This one said “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?” OUCH! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve been talking to God, yes, but not really handing my burdens over to Him. All this time, I’ve felt so alone and yet He was always there, by my side – ready, willing, and abundantly able to do way beyond my greatest imagining. I just needed to pass off the load I was carrying and allow Him to do what He longs to do. To care for me. To love me. To provide for me.
This verse came to my mind: Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I couldn’t help but cry out –
Yes, Lord! Here I am, oh so weary and burdened with a heavy heart. Lord, it is all yours. Take it from me, and allow me to find comfort and rest in Your ever loving arms. Help me to trust You, Father. I know you will provide. Forgive me for thinking I could handle this myself. For talking about it, instead of asking for Your help. I need YOU!
There is also a song by Matthew West – “My Own Little World” that has really convicted me every single time I hear it. But then it goes off, and I push it to the back of my mind. However, one particular line from it has been playing over and over in my head…
“Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me”
With this thought of “Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours” going on in my mind I began to realize that I wasn’t alone. For one thing God is ALWAYS there! Just waiting for us to cry out to Him. (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I feel as though once I turned this over to God, He truly opened my eyes to see that I wasn’t alone, there are lots of moms out there who are just as desperately lonely as I have been. Just as tired. Just as burdened… I just had been too consumed by my own little pity party that I hadn’t taken the time to notice.
One night after Bible study a few moms and I stood out in the parking lot and talked about how we were all feeling the same way. I realized, wow, I’m really not alone in this. And I’m not crazy. These feelings I have are real. Other people feel them too!
It was eye opening and mind boggling to me! All this time I had been thinking there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t I have it all together, like everyone else
does seems to?
Then just last week, one of my favorite authors, Sara Horn posted this on her facebookpage: “Thoughts from the car line… The last couple of days I’ve been in a funk. Lonely doesn’t begin to describe it. Stress has built up to the point I was looking around and thinking I had no one to talk to about it.” — WOW, I thought. I never would have thought she would feel lonely, too.
She went on to say in her post “But today I got to have 2 Skype conversations with friends who listened and prayed for me. And it made such a difference. One friend shared her struggles too and we prayed for each other. And I guess that’s what I’m thinking about right now. — Satan would love to convince us we’re all by ourselves. Reach out to your friends. No, they won’t all be there the way you might like. But to have a friend, you must also be a friend. And you’ll realize soon enough who will truly be there for you. Don’t discard the ones who aren’t – you may be the friend God calls to be there for her.”
WOW!! My heart stopped when I read that. God, thank you for letting this come into my “feed”. Thank you for (once again) using Sara to speak to me. I get it God.
I had spent so much time, energy, and tears feeling sorry for myself, that it hadn’t really occurred to me that some of these “friends” I was wishing would reach out to me, were in fact needing someone to reach out to them as well! What a slap in the face!
That same week I took the time to send out a few messages to friends I had lost contact with. With the wonderful world of “facebook, pinterest, blogs, etc.” I had fooled myself into thinking I knew these friends, but in reality I was very disconnected from their REAL life. I was pleased to get their responses. One of them even said “I completely understand what you mean when you say lonely! I have had 2 meltdowns this week over that very issue! So your message has uplifted me in ways you will never understand. I took it as a reminder that our God always provides what we need when we need it.”
Wow, God did you just use me to uplift someone during my time of sorrow? You really are up to something BIG!
And He is. I am not completely out of my pity party mode yet. However, my eyes are open. My heart is willing. I will keep reaching out, because by doing so, by stretching out of my comfort zone God is being glorified. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him.
Who can you reach out to today? Will you join me in praying for those moms who are so overwhelmed and lonely that they are afraid to open up and connect with friends. You just might be amazed at how God can use you, if you just let Him.