Guest blogger Elizabeth Rethorn continues her series on joyful mothering by encouraging us to stay the course through depending on Jesus.Read More
Some women are very strong. Like, physically, they are beasts. I started an exercise program and am being shamed by the woman on my DVD. Oh, she's smiling at me and encouraging me with supportive words, but her body can do things that I doubt mine ever will. I'll keep working and trying, but I do know that I have some limitations as I've never been super strong or athletic.
Yet, even physically weaker women like me have a tendency to forget their limitations sometimes. We take on the grime of toilet bowls, coordinate a three-ring circus, manage the entire education of (sometimes) multiple children, serve and minister to many in need...the daily list of a woman is so long that I could spend the next year blogging on the details. I've not even mentioned the women who work outside the home and come home and manage that domain too. As we emulate Wonder Woman day after day...after day...there are many times we become exhausted. We get irritable. We fall apart.
Often this happens over a period of time. We wake up fresh. Our new shiny chore chart is ready to be enforced. I will dust on Mondays, vacuum on Tuesdays, do the laundry on Wednesdays. It's a great plan! But, we eventually become weary. We get behind or we just get bored. Whatever it is, I generally get grumpy. That grumpiness wears off onto the rest of my household then and soon nobody's having any fun at all. Have you ever noticed that this can happen when you're doing those "good godly things" too? Like, reading the Bible every day or meeting together weekly for Bible study or regularly cleaning the bathrooms at the church or serving at a local soup kitchen. We can often start off well, but end on a sour note.
What's going on here with us? Is it just that we're not strong enough? Do we need to pull up our bootstraps and just push through? Roll up our sleeves and cheer one another on with Rosie the Riveter... "We can do it, girls!" Is this the solution??
In forgetting our limitations, we tend to believe we can do it all. On our own. It sometimes takes me awhile, but when the joy has been sucked out of my life then I better look around and see what I have attempted to do in my own strength. Because when I start doing things on my own then I will fall apart sooner or later.
It's critical that I'm working hard at home. If we are workers outside of the home, we must glorify God with our excellent work ethic. Being in the Word, serving and meeting regularly with other Believers is essential for spiritual growth. However, when we leave God behind, when we are independent from Him for our source of strength, then I guarantee you that joy will soon be lost as well.
...the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8: 10b
We will be strong because of the Lord. Finding great joy in Him will enable us to daily continue walking out powerfully in the good works that He has prepared for us to do (see Ephesians 2:10). Knowing that the Lord is the One who strengthens me will diminish my need to think I must do everything in my own power. I get irritable and grumpy when I am weary, when I think I must impress others, when I believe it's up to me to be holy.
Remember, we can do nothing apart from Christ. We will be barren, not producing any fruit, apart from our Life Source. We must abide, or remain, in Christ. We must completely depend upon Him for our every need. That's where we find joy. And in that joy of the Lord is where we find strength.
Stop being the "tough girl". Admit you're weak! You need the Lord. Go to Him and repent of any self-sufficiency or independence. Give the Lord your burdens; He will give you rest. If there is great work ahead for you today, know that the joy of the Lord will strengthen you and give you great peace and rest in the midst of those good works.