Are you overwhelmed? Does your life feel impossible? Do you feel completely inadequate and incompetent for the task before you? Good! You may be in just the right place…to see God do the impossible!
I am very familiar with the feeling that my life is out of control, being a mother of many children! I don’t often get to attend special conferences at my church, but I love to listen to the CDs of them at home. I was listening to a CD of Lesley-Anne Leighton talk about her amazing adventures as a missionary. God would regularly do miracles for her as she stepped out in faith. For example, she was taken into custody by Chinese authorities (China is very hostile to the Gospel of Jesus). She was miraculously released after she started speaking to the men in Chinese…and she didn’t know how to speak Chinese! She would do training schools all around the world to teach people to live a supernatural life like hers. As I listened to her teaching on this CD, she said she would share with us her strategy for living such a life. That caught my attention and I listened carefully; so much so that I remember what she said 9 years later. Her strategy was simple; she would follow Jesus wherever he led! This meant that she would get in over her head and watch God do the miracles on her behalf.
A new thought began to dawn in my mind. This was a great strategy for a missionary, traveling to hostile and dangerous parts of the world. But I knew that motherhood was a dangerous and perilous journey as well. Mothers needed miracles just as much as missionaries did! I knew that I needed some! And Lesley-Anne had just told me that it was actually a good thing that I was in over my head…because that is the place where God moves! My courage began to rise.
I had felt in over my head since my second baby showed up and didn’t get the memo from his big sister on how to sleep. He would cry louder than I had ever heard anyone cry, and deprive me of my sleep and almost my sanity! He continued these nighttime disturbances even after I became pregnant with number three.
I had felt overwhelmed since I had three little children and a special needs baby who required many doctors’ appointments and special care. I had no one close by to help and my husband, Chris often traveled for work, being gone for days or weeks at a time.
I had felt overwhelmed when I had three little children, a special needs two-year old and a five-week old baby boy AND Chris and I had to pack up our home, drive cross-country (praying the whole way that I wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel and kill us all!), and set up a new home in Pennsylvania.
I had felt overwhelmed since I had seven children, home schooled, and enrolled my special needs daughter in a therapy program that I was supposed to accomplish by myself, at home. The man in charge told me that Ashlyn’s therapy program would be fairly easy, only requiring 6 hours a day. I thought to myself, “How can I ever do that?” Yet I wanted to try, because I wanted her to be better so badly. I also felt that God had led me to this program for Ashlyn AND had led me to home school all the other children.
I would wake up at 5 am each morning, immediately feeling nervous about the coming day. My mind would instantly begin to churn with all I had to accomplish and the fact that it was nearly impossible to do so. Life felt like a test, and I would pass the test only if I could accomplish everything I my to-do list. But almost every night I would go to bed with tasks left undone and the feeling of failure. There were a few rare days that I finished everything and thought briefly that I had succeeded…only to look back over my day and realize that I had plowed over everything and everyone who stood in my way. My victory was meaningless, because I did it without love, and my children suffered.
Thinking on these past failures, I would go from being nervous to panicking!!! Lying in bed in the morning, trying to work up the courage to face my impossible day, I would pray.
“Oh, God! I want to love my children today! I want to do therapy with Ashlyn so she can be well! I want to do home school with my children so they will be smart! But I have so many other things I need to do! I should have been up hours ago! There is no way I can do this. This is IMPOSSIBLE! I am in WAY OVER MY HEAD!”
Then one day I was quiet enough to hear the Spirit’s still small voice.
“This day is not a test, it is a gift! I want you to open your eyes and see all the treasures I have hidden for you in this day. Let me bless you in the midst of your business. You are right, my child. Your life is impossible. I designed it that way. I never intended for you to live a safe, easy, comfortable life. I didn’t design you to merely do the possible. I am the God of the impossible, remember! I designed you to do the impossible through me! I can’t fully show my glory unless the situation is Impossible. All that I do through your life is changing eternity. So be at rest. Be at peace. I AM in control.”
That voice changes everything for me! It immediately tears the veil between my crazy, earthy life and the Holy of Holies. I can step out of the temporary and step into the eternal. I can step out of my failures and step into the finished work of Christ. My life takes on a while new significance when I realize that the Most Holy God wants to dwell with me and do miracles through me! And what could be more miraculous than living with so many children and having perfect peace!
Now we have eight children and a ninth baby that takes a lot of time and resources – a new business! I have so many things to do at home, and Chris has so many things to do at our sign shop. I try to help him at the shop and he tries to help me at home, all the while being mindful of our precious children. We are busy almost all of the time. What little “free” time we have is not really free. We are so selective about how we spend our time, trying fiercely to follow Jesus and no one else. There isn’t time and energy and devotion to waste on anything less! It is going to take a miracle to raise our children the way we should AND make our business successful. Both Chris and I are sure that we are in WAY OVER OUR HEADS! Yet we know that Jesus led us here and through him we are doing miracles.
I am so encouraged by Mark Batterson and what he wrote in The Circle Maker.“If you’ve never been overwhelmed by the impossibility of your plans, then your God is too small.”
So are you in over your head? If you got into this situation by following someone other than Jesus, start following him now and just see what he will do! If it was Jesus who got you into the crazy mess called your life, let your heart take courage! This is his specialty, doing miracles through little you! So relax, let go, and enjoy riding on his waves of grace…and expect signs and wonders to follow you.
11 thoughts on “Are You in Over Your Head?”
What an inspiration you are, Anne! Many days I feel overwhelmed, but I know I didn’t get to this place on my own, and I trust that God will always be by my side to guide me. I’m looking forward to seeing the impossible unfold!
Yes, Pat! How beautifully you expressed that truth! God is doing something amazing through you!
I am over my head trying to clear out this level of our ranch style house. “Memories, Memories how they linger”…. The person helping me said “why do you save a whole drawer of silverware?” Because it is my dream to again have parties here”. B-Day Parties, Showers, Piano Theory Parties, Halloween Parties, Christmas Carol Sing Parties, Anniversary Parties. We had music and games like password and my husband was always there with the ice cream scoop and magic shell. Yes, the miracle will happen with hard work and patience. I will have guests to enjoy garden parties. “Lemonade in the shade. Frogs on the bottom, don’t be afraid” I need God to remake me into a person people want to be with..one of laughter, joy and inner beauty.
Lovely sentiments. With God all things are possible!
Beautiful reminder and an inspiring message and testimony. Thank you!
I am honored that you would take your precious time to read this. Thank you!
Aw, absolutely! I’m so inspired by other bloggers who seem to have similar hearts, struggles and passions as mine and it is truly blessing me to read your writing.
Thank you! It is wonderful to find a community like that! I am excited to “see” more of you as we both travel this road of motherhood with Jesus by our sides!
Amen to that! 😀
Anne, your posts are forever beautiful, challenging, and encouraging! What an amazing story of this missionary lady and what a great challenge given to us even as mothers! Way to go momma of eight!! Raising all those children and still finding some time to bring some light and hope to other moms as well! 🙂
Thank you, Sasha, for taking the time to encourage me!