It was bedtime and it was my turn to tuck the little man in. We usually lay down with him for about 10 minutes before he sleeps. He uses that time wisely to ask for stories and make up some of his own. Just before leaving him to sleep, I asked whether he would like to pray. He immediately closed his eyes and said: “Dear Jesus, please leave my heart now …”
I turned ice-cold, unsure of whether I should somehow try and save the situation.
A friend of mine’s husband recently renounced his belief in God, and I felt at such a loss for words when he explained his reasons to me. Life was hard and he felt that God wasn’t there when he needed him. I was unable to convince him to hold onto the Lord. His experience of disappointment had been just as strong as my experience of salvation and there was no way of getting through to him. All I can do is pray.
So I am lying next to my almost five-year-old, holding his hand and he is asking Jesus to leave his heart. And my heart sinks. But he wasn’t finished praying. “Dear Jesus, please leave my heart now … and come and lay down next to me.”
He needed Jesus next to him, instead of inside of him. He knew that I was going to leave his room and he was going to have to stay in his bed alone. He wanted Jesus to stay with him. He didn’t want to be alone.
Isn’t it what we all need? Isn’t it what my friend’s husband needs?
When our faith is wearing thin and when the dishes are piled up high. When the toddler is forever whining. When someone got called a loser at school. When the baby is teething. When the husband works late. When there are bills to pay. When there are mouths to feed. When it seems like they’re always sick. When you haven’t slept well in months.
Do you sometimes feel like motherhood is too much to handle? I certainly do. Of course it’s wonderful and I won’t change it for anything in the world, but it is so much harder than what I thought it would be.
And we are conditioned to believe that we just need to be strong because God won’t give us more than we can handle. We are moms. We are strong. We’ve got this, right? I read another motivational quote and put on my “big girl panties.” I get things done.
Somehow, we plough our way through each day. Perhaps we remember speaking to the Lord a bit before we dose off, telling him about how hectic our day had been – like he hadn’t been there all throughout. Sometimes we don’t even have the energy to speak to him. We had been strong. We had handled it all, all day long. There is nothing left to give, and Jesus stays tucked deep in our hearts.
Have you considered that the saying that “God won’t give us more than we can handle” is unbiblical? Implying that we can handle life is the opposite of what the Bible says:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced … We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. – 2 Corinthians 1:8–9
Don’t we all need Jesus right there beside us for that reason? Let’s be honest – the pressure is beyond our ability to endure.
It’s almost like we walk around with Jesus “in our hearts” but live our lives without him. We try to be strong, but we feel overwhelmed and exhausted. The truth that we seem to forget is that Jesus IS right beside of us all day long. We do not have to handle it all alone.
He is there when we don’t know whether to ignore or discipline a tantrum. He is there when we need to plan the month’s budget. He is there when two of the three kids are crying – even when all three are! He is there when you don’t know how to handle sibling rivalry. He is there with the 3 a.m. fever. He is there when you get stared at when your children misbehave in the park. He is there even when the laundry has been sitting in the washing machine for three days. He is there and we can rely on him.
I love my son’s prayer. I love how he grasps what we tend to forget. He acknowledged his need for Jesus, which is an answer to my prayers. But he also reminded me of my need, and the fact that Jesus is right there beside me in motherhood.
René Lubbe lives in South Africa with her husband and three small children. Life is a circus at the moment and there is lots of craziness and lots of beauty. She writes about motherhood with honesty, practical guidance and inspiration on InspiredMom.me and enjoys designing pretty quote images for Instagram and Facebook.