I’ve been fighting in the “War of Motherhood” for almost 12 years now. My thoughts??? Well, it’s pretty stinkin’ hard, often times embarrassing, and *always* incredibly exhausting. Oh, but I fight hard. I really do.
I want to be the mom who has those middle-of-the-night, heart-to-heart chats with her struggling tween, and sometimes I am. I also want to be the mom who whips up #pinterestwins with relative ease and revels in the dropped jaw effect of, “Yes, your mom really did just make that.” And to be honest, I really am the #pinterestwin mama more than I’m the #pinterestfail mama. And I REALLY want to be that mom who instantly recalls any and all information I’ve ever learned in my entire life so I’m capable of reciting impressive facts and statistics to every little wonder and curiosity these four growing brains throw at me. Confession: I’m pretty much never that mom. But man, do I fight for it.
words + photographs BRENDA LEI CASEY
However, in my fighting, I’ve learned there are many motherhood battles I just can’t win, and it’s not for lack of trying. It’s because it’s not my war. It’s His.
One of the patriarchs of the nation of Israel, Jacob, came from a pretty impressive lineage. His dad was Isaac, and his granddaddy was Abraham. And Abraham, well, he’s like literally *THE PERSON* the entire nation of Israel was founded upon. Although God had proven Himself over and over to Jacob’s relatives, we are given a glimpse of how Jacob himself viewed Jehovah in the following situation.
For basic context, Jacob had a falling out with his brother, Esau, and after a long time of being separated from him, he was in dire need of God’s protection and favor as he sought Esau’s forgiveness and true reconciliation. This is how Jacob began his prayer in Genesis 32:9:
“O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac … .”
So, although Jacob was indeed praying to God, he approached God from the viewpoint of being Abraham’s God and Isaac’s God. Jehovah had yet to become personal to him. Now you can either take my word for it, or you can find out for yourself by reading Genesis 32-48, but suffice it to say, Jacob went through a lot in his life. He wrestled with the Lord, literally. He lost children. He found children. He buried his wife. He moved around from place to place. He suffered through famine. And the whole time — the WHOLE TIME — the Lord was with him and proved Himself faithful.
Now Jacob is on his deathbed, and he’s surrounded by family. As is customary, he’s passing on blessings to his sons and grandsons, and these are some of his final words:
“May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked — the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm — may he bless these boys … .” (Genesis 48:15, emphasis mine)
Did you catch it? (I’m assuming so, since I did indeed underline it.) But this God of his — Jehovah — He’s no longer *just* the God of his father and the God of his grandfather. No, this is HIS God. This is the God who’s been HIS shepherd all HIS life.
And THAT. That’s the war I want to win but can’t fight.
I want my God to become their God. I want my kids to one day say, “The God before whom my papa Rob and my mama, Brenda Lei, walked — the God who has been my shepherd all my life.”
So I sit and pray and let God win the battle I can’t fight.
And just like Jacob, I know in order for my kids to get from “The God of my grandpa and the God of my mama” to “my God,” He’s going to need to prove Himself to them. He’s going to need to walk beside them through the ups and through the downs, and He’s going to need to win them over the same way He won me over.
And I’ve already witnessed the miracle of this battle-fighting a time or two.
When my oldest daughter turned seven, we were living in Belgium. In order to celebrate her big day, we decided to sneak away for a mini-getaway just across the border of France. She spent her sixth birthday with chicken pox, so we were really trying to make up for the crummy previous year. The only issue, which wasn’t an *issue* so much as it was a reality, was our budget was extremely limited. Although we had funds to stay at a bed and breakfast for a couple nights, we did not have surplus spending money on top of that. No eating out, no crazy tourist things, no shopping. We had planned just good quality time together in a scenic location, enjoying all the freebies the area had to offer.
One of the local freebie attractions was some castle ruins and, at the end of the tour, was a convenient little gift shop. The girls looked around while we all took turns in the restroom. Sure enough, as if on cue, my birthday girl walked up to me holding a cute, little stuffed lamb toy and asked if we would buy it for her as a birthday present. I explained to her how coming to France and spending all this time together was her birthday gift. She sighed and put the lamb back.
Afterward, we hit up a grocery store on the way back to the lodging to grab some food for dinner. As we stood in the checkout line, Hosanna walked over to me again, holding a box of Kinder chocolates. I already knew what she was going to ask, so I said, “Sweetie, we’re not buying anything extra. We’re just getting what we need. We love you very, very much. But you need to be thankful for what we’ve already done. We’ve made lots of great memories. Please don’t ask for any more things. I’d like you to be grateful for what you do have and not focus on what you don’t have.” (Now, go back and read my speech to her in a much snarkier tone because I’m confident you read it much more gracious than it was in real life.)
Back at the lodging, dinner was baking in the oven, so we headed outside to play as a family. As we were outside, the owner of the establishment showed up with a little gift bag. He had known it was my daughter’s birthday and decided to buy her a birthday present. She was shrieking with utter excitement and sheer joy, while I on the other hand was genuinely left speechless.
Hosanna tore open the package and to the utter amazement of my entire family she pulled out, brace yourself here, A STUFFED LAMB HOLDING A BOX OF KINDER CHOCOLATES.
You guys. I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest. Of all the random presents a random stranger could have given my daughter on her birthday. I honestly still don’t have a response for it. It’s beyond me.
But you know what my daughter told me that night? She said, “I think God knew I wanted those things, so He got them for me. He must really love me.”
And there’s all the evidence I need. He’s winning the battle I can’t fight. His weapons??? A stuffed lamb and a box of Kinder chocolates. BLC
Brenda Lei Casey is a huge fan of big fun, good food, the more the merrier, and authenticity in her walk with the Lord. She and her husband, Joshua, are from Springfield, Missouri, but are now church planters in Spain.
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