Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bearing Our Burdens Daily

Not gonna sugar-coat it:  today has been a rough one.  It has been emotional for me.  In the midst of playing catch-up with laundry, balancing the checkbook, cleaning downstairs, and fighting a scratchy throat with raw apple cider vinegar, I decided to log on to my children's school website and check out their grades.  I have conferences at school tomorrow evening for our school-age children so I wanted to be prepared.  No big surprises with my 2nd grader.  No huge surprises until I saw my 5th grader's Reading grade....ugh!  And my 3rd grader's Reading homework scores...ugh, again!  Let me just say that my first thought was:  these are the same two boys I home schooled....I failed them.  True, that was two school-years ago.  And true, my younger son was on the honor roll last year.  Also true, they may have had reading struggles with or without being home schooled.  Regardless, it was all of five seconds before guilt set in.  And blame.  And ultimately...discouragement.

It is no walk-in-the-park being a mama.  I thought about the tough conversation I'd have to have with both of them later today.  I thought about the very fun teacher conferences tomorrow night (insert a sarcastic tone)!  Then I went to a very bad place of frustration and ultimately comparison.  I didn't stop with reading struggles and grades.  Oh no!  I recounted the number of times my daughter has come home or gone to bed with tears in her eyes because she felt slighted on the playground by a girl she thought was her friend.  I thought about the few times my son had said he sat by himself at lunch.  I thought about the fact that my oldest son has only been invited to two birthday parties since we moved out here over two years ago.  Why can't anything about school be easy for any of my kids?  

And you know what else?  I started in with my woes.  Why does it feel so impossible to get any alone(and quality) time with my husband?  Why can't we get ahead financially when we save and give and pay our bills and shop as wisely(and thrifty) as we can?  And that takes me to the comparison questions:  Why is it that the same people who always have a free babysitter on hand also have an aunt or grandma or neighbor who buys brand new clothes for their straight-A kids?  I'm happy to find good deals on second-hand clothes.  Not only does money often feel like a struggle, but if we don't have something wrong with our house, it's wrong at our rental.  And why if all is right with the houses, does it go wrong with the car and truck?  And why...?  You get the idea!

And you know what else?  All this is okay.  It's all a part of this thing called life.  Griping, complaining, and comparing are not okay.  Life's circumstances are okay; the good will ebb and flow as well as the bad.  Most times I can be very balanced, remembering to give thanks for all the good.  But sometimes I go to that dark place and the woe-is-me and comparison trap begins.  It never ends in a good place.  It's ugly.  And I never feel better on the other side of it.  Why do I allow it?  

I was reminded today of Psalm 68:19.  A portion of that scripture says that God daily bears our burdens.  That gave me something to chew on for quite a while.  I realized that when I feel the hurts, anxieties, struggles, and worries that my children experience, I am bearing their burdens.  I carry and accept these burdens as part of my own.  Now I know that I cannot handle these problems for my children.  Ultimately my children are responsible for their grades as well as managing disappointments and maneuvering friendships.  My job is to train them, teach them, and help them.  However, when they hurt, I hurt.  When they struggle, I feel it too.  It's a natural response that I don't always consciously realize.  I am bearing their burdens.  They don't know this.  They may never know this.  But it's something a mama does.  And thank the Lord that I usually end up in a place of humility and prayer before God, knowing that I can't take away their burdens or solve any of these problems for them.  

I'm so thankful that God reminded me today that He bears my burdens.  He bears their burdens.  Daily.  Daily,  He accepts the responsibility for our burdens...and carries the weight of them.  We are absolutely not alone, no matter how it feels right now!  As I remind myself of this truth, I am reminded to teach my children this truth.  And I can pray with all of my heart that one day they will know this truth in the depths of their being.  They are not alone.  Just as He bore our shortcomings and sin on that rugged cross, Christ is daily bearing our burdens.  

Life is certainly messy and oftentimes plenty frustrating.  And if I allow myself into the comparison trap, I will always find someone who I've imagined has it easier...whose kids come home daily with great attitudes and smiles, birthday party invitations, high fashion boots, and straight A's.  But I'm also trapped in that imagination.  That's not where I want to live.  So, I'll take the occasional poor grades and dirty no-name tennis shoes.  And I'll take the fifteen minutes here and there throughout the week that my husband and I can find to have an uninterrupted conversation.  I'll take it because that is my life.  That is what has been given to me....along with a whole lot of good!  A whole lot to smile about.  And when it's not so good, I'll remind myself that just as I am daily bearing my children's burdens--whether they know it or not--God is daily bearing mine.

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