Yesterday morning, I barely made it to church. We pulled in late, me makeup-less. I was by myself because David has been working Sundays lately. Somehow, I wrangled a three year old, a twenty month old, and a baby in a carrier into the children’s section of the church. I couldn’t figure out which kid to drop off first, so I sort of stood in the middle of the hall, realizing I was one of those crazy mom people who can’t keep her brood under control. The baby was easiest to drop off, then the second one, and finally, I attempted to take a kicking and screaming three year old to his class, which was new and unfamiliar to him.
I seated myself in Sunday school and had only been there for two and a half minutes when my pager rang. I headed back to the kids section of the church, and as I rounded the corner, I see Kiddo racing screaming towards the door, with the director of children’s ministry on his tail. He was OUT OF CONTROL. I knelt down to wrap my arms around the panicked kid, and fought back tears. I was exhausted, sleepless, frustrated, worn out, overwhelmed, ridden with guilt, and felt like a failure. I’ve felt so forlorn in business before, and it feels the exact same way in motherhood.
By the time I had Kiddo consoled, Sunday school was over. I opted to head to the late service, since having gotten him to calm down, I might as well take advantage of being kid-free for another 45 minutes. The sermon was titled “The Comeback”, and the paster launched in to talking about how Elijah was in the wilderness, exhausted, sleepless, frustrated, worn out, overwhelmed, despondent and depressed. I perked up. Elijah sounded a lot like me.
I had forgotten my Bible and my pen for taking notes, and the sermon isn’t online yet for me to re-listen to, but here are some major pointers the pastor had made:
- Find rest. Elijah was exhausted. Sometimes, the best action you can take for yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, and even financially, is to get a good nights sleep.
- Have faith. Elijah needed a revelation. He was at a loss for as to how to move forward. I sort of space in and out of sermons, so I don’t specifically recall how Elijah got his revelation, but I know that when I’m looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, the best way to see it is just to keep putting one foot in front of the other and having faith that it’s there.
- It’s not about the fanfare. Elijah needed a reminder that it wasn’t about fanfare for him. It was about God’s glory. It wasn’t about him moving forward on his own strength, it was about relying on God for His strength.
- Figure out how to help. And last but not least, the pastor reminded us that when we’re feeling depressed and despondent, that sometimes the best cure for depression is to figure out how you can help someone else. That clicked for me.
Then, last night, when I was cruising the internet on my phone, which is what I do when I can’t sleep, I came across this little image from Jess Lively’s blog:
To bring the whole thing full circle, Elijah, depressed and despondent, had found purpose. He took what he was good at, focused his talents and skills on helping someone besides himself, and it in turn helped him. Funny how life works that way, right? That the only way you can actually receive is when you give?
I still need advice and an answer on how to deal with an incredibly strong-willed toddler. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. But I can tell you what will help you: figure out what you’re good at, and then figure out how you can help someone else with that strength. Purpose lies in that equation.
A big thanks to Jess Lively for figuring out the purpose equation, and another thanks to Mark Hitchcock at Faith Bible Church for using words like despondent, so that I can expand my vocabulary on this blog. I don’t usually use words that big.