I’m not proud to admit this, but it probably won’t surprise you.
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Some days I wake up determined to choose joy, only to find myself in a bitter mood hours later. Sometimes I sit and focus on sorrow instead of gratitude.
The other night after the kids went to bed I was in one of these bitter moods. I stood over the sink washing dishes for the millionth time. I stood fretting about the overflowing laundry, the upcoming appointments on my calendar and all the unchecked items on my to do list. I was exhausted and depleted. All I wanted to do was sleep, but instead I cleaned. Instead of resting like I should’ve, I tried to catch up on housework. This was my first mistake.
Then I saw the living room, and that’s when my mommy meltdown began.
The floor was covered in books, Legos and more scattered toys than I could count. I sat down and got to work cleaning up a mess I didn’t even make. I know what you’re thinking. Most parents have the kids clean up their own messes. That’s the part that makes me cry more. I’m not most parents…
You see two of my three children have a degenerative muscle disease. They can’t pick things up off the floor safely. They either fall down or visibly struggle to pick up even one toy off the ground. They help me in lots of other ways, but picking things up off the floor is not something I make them help with. How do I ask my sons to get down on the floor and pick up toys when certain forks are too heavy for them to eat with? So… then why the pity party you ask?
If I view caring for my boys as a privilege, then why feel sorry for myself you wonder.. Good point. Here’s why. Because I was so incredibly TIRED. Exhaustion does something to us as mothers. It turns us into whiny, grumpy toddlers. So that’s why I had myself a little mommy meltdown toddler style pity party.
Most days I’m happy with my role.
Most days I happily care for my home, my pets, my kids and my husband. Most days I’m happy to lift my boys into the van, help them up from the floor, do their daily stretches and help with anything they need. Most days I give them their medication and home school them with a sense of love and gratitude. Being their mom is my greatest honor. I love all three of my children deeply and I would gladly walk through fire for them.
I have a new perspective on life because of this disease, so I shouldn’t stress out about trivial things like dishes, laundry, appointments and scattered toys on the floor, but I do sometimes – because I’m human. I’m a proud special needs mom, but I’m also just an exhausted mama with too much on her plate. So I did what any worn out mom would do, I sat on the toy covered living room floor and cried like a baby.
I’d love to tell you that I always focus on joy because my faith in God is solid, but I struggle to stay strong when I’m worn out. Don’t get me wrong, I trust God. I believe with all my heart that God will take care of us every step of the way. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with fear, depression and anxiety at times. I know that God is strong, but I am weak. My faith is my lifeline, but it’s still a daily battle to train my thoughts to focus on gratitude. I need to constantly remind myself that God is in control, and I am not.
Something beautiful happened to me that night.
Something beautiful happened to me after my pity party ended, but it took a little while. First I cried, then I sat tormenting myself with useless thoughts… Oh, you know the ones…
Why me? It’s not fair. What have I done to deserve this? What have my kids done to deserve this? It’s just too hard. I’m scared. How will I ever handle this? On and on I went… As you can see it was probably less about the toys at this point, and more about all the difficult circumstances we’ve been handed over the course of the past two years.
The tears and pity party continued, until suddenly I heard it.
I had worship music playing softly in the background, while my children slept peacefully in their beds. I cried out to God like a little girl. That’s when I heard it, the reminder that I so desperately needed. God spoke loud and clear, and He used a song to do it. A song called Love Like This, by Lauren Daigle came on and stopped my pity party in it’s tracks. What have I done to deserve love like this? The chorus kept repeating so beautifully. All of sudden the tears falling from my eyes were not of sorrow. Suddenly I was overcome with a deep, intense sense of gratitude.
I think often times we grow up and forget how blessed we really are. We lose our child like faith and ability to be grateful for the life we have. We start to think we’re entitled to a perfect life, even though we know that perfection doesn’t exist. The why me attitude changes nothing. All it does is makes matters worse. So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started feeling grateful for the wonderful parts of my life.
What have I done to deserve love like this?
What have I done to deserve the love of God, the love of my children, the love of my husband, family and friends? What have I done to deserve a love like this? The answer is nothing, absolutely nothing, yet I have more love in my life than I ever imagined. I have a home full of happy kids. I have incredible friends and family that hold us up in times of trouble. I have an amazing husband who loves me exactly as I am. I have food in my fridge, access to medical care and a cozy home to spend my days in. I’m blessed! I’m blessed by life, but even more so blessed with God’s unfailing love. I didn’t have to do anything to earn that love, Jesus did all the work for me. All I did was give my heart to Him and believe He died for me. That is what gives me grace, mercy and salvation. So, what do I have to complain about?
Suddenly I saw those scattered toys on the floor very differently.
They weren’t a burden to pick up anymore, they were a symbol of happy children playing together. The dishes weren’t a pain anymore, they were a sign of full bellies. All of a sudden my question changed from “What have I done to deserve these difficulties?” to “What have I done to deserve love like this?”
Oh, how this question changed my attitude in an instant.
Jesus didn’t deserve to die for my sins, but he did. He didn’t deserve to be beaten and killed on a cross. He died for us, out of a kind of love that we can’t even fathom, a love that should not be taken for granted. Suddenly my perspective flipped from self pity to intense gratitude for a love like this.
I’m sure this won’t be the last time I complain about the difficulties in my life. But next time I hope I remember to focus on the breathtaking love that surrounds me instead of the trials. What have I done to deserve love like this? What have I done to deserve an incredible life full of this much beauty and joy? Here’s the important part my friends, it’s not about what we’ve done in this life that matters, it’s about what Jesus already did. Life is all about a love like this.