Dear Weary Mom,
Ten short weeks ago, we embarked on a journey here together, you and I. It was another brand new year and we needed to feel a brand new something, didn’t we? I know I did. I was desperate and ready for a fresh encounter with Jesus, but what I didn’t realize was just how real He would become to me. I fell in love, literally in love with Him, in a brand new Hope-filled sort of way. He helped me open up my heart and lay aside my fears so I could more fully receive a Love from Jesus I had not yet known.
You are so much a part of that blessing. We are tired, walking around struggling to see past the next minute most days, often needing a place to hide, desperate to be known and understood and cared for, doing the best we can for our families and hoping we couldn’t possibly be the only ones on Earth feeling this way. I hope by now, you know you’re not. We are not alone!
Being a mom is hard work, even on our easiest days. We wouldn’t trade it for anything…but we need to know we’re not alone. We need to know it and feel it down deep where weariness hits us hard. As we’ve walked here together with our hearts laid wide open, trusting one another and trusting God to meet us in the raw and often fragile places of our lives, we pray you’ve been encouraged and blessed. Our Jesus is a miracle-worker, for sure. Anytime He breathes a life-giving breath of fresh hope-filled air into the heart of a weary and broken mamma…it’s a miracle. And when she embraces the One who is the giver of life and clings to Him with all her might, He ever so tenderly meets her right in the middle of wherever she’s at causing her to know and feel the Hope she longs for. And THAT, is the miracle of Jesus.
If you’ve been walking with us here and have found Hope, or maybe Hope found you…will you share your story? Today, we would love for you to write your own “Dear Weary Mom” letter to that mom, who could be any of us, who needs to be encouraged. Would you share your Hope with another by writing your letter in the form of a blog post and linking up with us today? (details below)
With full and thankful hearts, Brooke, Stacey and I want you to know how grateful we are you’ve joined us here and that we are praying for each one of you.
Sweet ones, this is just the beginning. Let’s keep walking together and chasing hard after Jesus, our Hope.
And now, on to our guest post by my lovely friend, Jenny Donohue.
When my husband and I set out from our Midwestern hometown for the Pacific Northwest 10 years ago, we each had a suitcase in one hand and a tiny person in the other. Our children were 3 and 1, and we were off for a big adventure. We left home with well-wishes and warnings, some commending our “leap of faith” while others tearfully fretted what might become of us. The sad goodbye was with my parents and in-laws, though even this was a parenthesis and not an end in our precious time together. The in-laws would visit faithfully, and my parents had given their promise to join us in our new home as soon as my mom retired, a mere 18 months away. So, with our house sold, belongings in storage, and limitless possibilities in front of us, we boarded a plane Christmas day and never looked back.
It was the most free I have ever felt, not only because I had about me the only real things that mattered-my family- and not just because being without home and possessions makes one feel as if anything is possible. I was in a genuine place of “nothing left to lose.” I was determined, hopeful, expectant, and excited. I had been prayerful and felt this was the right move for our family. God would provide, as He had always done. We were ready to begin again.
Sounds ideal, right? Better than to be expected. It was. And I do not wish to downplay the amazing way that God led and guided and provided for us on every step of this journey. His hand was in and around everything that happened during our transition.
I have but one lingering sadness, one question only: why was it that I had no one I wept to leave behind? Why was there no one important enough to feel torn over?
In part, I knew my husband and children were my everything here on this planet, and my extended family, as aforementioned, were a guaranteed part of our future. In addition, we were moving to where both of my sisters lived. So, that might seem explanation enough. It had always been my sisters and me, us against the world, not needing all of the others who simply failed to understand time and time again. My sisters and I shared childhood, that beautiful, rich, terrible truth of being little together, sharing all of life, much of which you wish you didn’t have to share, and growing into new people, all the while seeing that small girl inside of each other’s eyes. It is precious. I was thrilled to be near them again.
But was that all there was to it? Had my sister-bond prohibited the forming of other meaningful friendships with women? Or was there more to this desperate abandon, the need to go far and begin again? Why was I so excited by the prospect that nobody in this new place would know my name?
As I read chapter 10 of “Hope” and worked through the questions , lots of things surfaced and re-surfaced-questions I have faced before, pushed back down, or dealt with the best I understood how. Stacy desired that someone might “know her name.” I sighed relief that for once, no one would know mine. No expectations, no prior sins plaguing me; anonymity, simple and plain.
Let me tell it to you straight: if you ask me outright, I will tell you I don’t really like most people. I will also claim that I am not good with people. Anyone who knows me can see that I relate much better to children than adults. Women, in general, don’t like me. I am not easy or soft. I don’t play by other people’s rules and I don’t particularly even want to join their game.
I am a self-proclaimed introvert, misunderstood and really, I am okay with that. I am lonely on some level, but I have come to own that, understand it, even appreciate it, as I attribute that to the God-shaped hole in my heart. I don’t expect anyone to complete me, save, me, or even love me unconditionally. In short, I just don’t expect much of people.
So I had to ask myself, as I read chapter 10 and God’s word fell afresh on my soul: is this an acceptable trait of my personality, to prefer a few people, to desire quiet and intimate, to need deep trust in people I choose to love, or is this an unhealthy, ungodly hurt, leaving me jaded, faithless, alone?
Why the doubt, the self-questioning? Oh, yeah, that-see, I have been hurt. Abandoned. Betrayed. I should mention that there was a decade of darkness where I turned from Jesus, away from the Light, and attempted to understand the world on my own terms. He wooed me back, and in retrospect I see that He was beside me, even in that darkness. I know I grieved Him terribly, re-opened those wounds He suffered on my behalf. Eventually, I began to trust that He also forgave me, had grace for me, and loved me anyway.
But during that dark time, I had relationships as deep and true and meaningful as they can possibly be when living according to the flesh. At least, they were to me. And then they were gone. So after a time, I became convinced that maybe there was something wrong with me. Too intense, not much fun, expectations that were just way too high. So.
So. All of a sudden, I am 30 years old, in a brand new place with just my husband and 2 babies, and I find myself in a women’s Bible study at church. I am comfortable there, finding some nice women, humble women, and then those who I decide pretty quickly will be acquaintances only.
And it is in the context of the “Prodigal Son” that I am convicted. It is the story of the ne’er-do-well who crawls back home to grovel and plead forgiveness. The story of the gracious father who cares for nothing but that his boy has returned to him. The story of the hard-hearted, bitter older brother who has been hurt and justifies his unforgiveness.
And it unfurls in graphic horrible clarity: it is the story of my heart, my bitterness, my unforgiveness, my justification , my ignorance of my own transgressions and deserved wrath of God. It is the fear and pride of not being noticed, not being acknowledged, not being loved unconditionally, not for what I have to offer, but for who I am.
Jesus was working on my heart, transforming my mind through the quiet time in Scripture and prayer, and in fellowship with other believers. My defensive nature and critical spirit toward others was not His best for me. He gently urged me to trust His love and allow vulnerability in relationships. And it was the wisdom of our leader who challenged us to find an accountability partner to grow and walk with in our journey. And it was the undeniably tender presence of the Holy Spirit whispering trust me, and drawing my heart and attention to one woman, a grown girl really, in our group.
I had noticed her right away, for many reasons, but mostly because everyone seemed to adore her. She was pretty and sweet, quiet and mild, and her voice was soft, like she wasn’t sure she wanted to be heard. But I heard her, and her heart for Jesus, and her committed faith, and her gentle spirit. I was drawn to her, as much for how different she was from me as for any other reason.
She spoke truth so easily, and her love for Jesus was tangible. So was her fragility. She was weary, I could see, and I sensed that like me, she was still wanting more. I prayed about the situation, knowing that as motherhood and the new town settled around me, I was hungry for a friend. I wanted to reach out, but I was afraid of rejection, or worse yet, indifference.
So it was by the grace of God and the urging of the Holy Spirit to just get over myself that I wrote her a card, asking whether or not she would like to be my accountability partner. I would never have done that on my own. It was risky and frightening, and just a little weird. But I know it was the will of God and the work of grace, because since that day, we have been walking with Jesus together in the most precious, pure sister-friendship I have ever known.
Our first meetings together occurred in the Sunday school classroom at church, over Dixie cups of water. Since our meeting, we have each added two more babies to our families and seen miracles of heart work in our own lives and those of our loved ones.
Why is this different from the tragic relationships of the past? Maybe because I am different. Certainly because she is a different kind of somebody in my life. But it is primarily because our friendship bloomed from Holy Spirit–led faith, and our common ground is Jesus and his saving grace.
She is humble, gentle-of-spirit, gracious, loving, kind, and forgiving. She laughs at my jokes and enjoys my irreverent sarcasm. She knows my ugly, and always kindly and in truth points me right to the Word, right to the cross. She feels my pains, and leads me back to Jesus in my grief.
Our time alone to actually be in the Word is remarkably limited, yet we can share a scripture or a thought the Holy Spirit has given one of us, and days later God will reveal discernment or clarification to the other. He is with us and His guidance is clear. She is a gift to me, maybe the best gift I never knew I needed, and would have denied I wanted.
I am so grateful for her in my life, and for her sweet family and all that God is doing as we walk together. In Hosea 11:4, Scripture reads “I drew them to me with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek; I bent down to them and fed them.” What a precious picture of parental love! The image makes me smile though tears as it reveals God’s amazing Father-love for us. As we long for healthy, life-giving relationships for our children, God wants that for us as well.
About the Author:
Jenny Donohue is a woman after the heart of her God for the hearts of her four beautiful children and one amazing husband. A lover of Truth, great books, learning and spending time outdoors enjoying God’s creation , she also takes seriously her strong convictions to homeschool her children. Living in the Pacific Northwest, Jenny loves a good cup of coffee and looks forward to the warm days of Summer.
And now for our Friday link-up!
Please leave a link back to Hope For The Weary Mom somewhere in your post so other moms can find us here too. So, go ahead and link-up your blog posts and please feel free, as always, to share your heart in the comments below.
We would love to hear your story of how Hope found you in the midst of your mess. Will you share a word of encouragement for another mom by writing your very own “Dear Weary Mom” blog post and linking up with us here? Your words will be such a blessing to so many.
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