“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
When I was pregnant with my first child, I prayed that the baby would be healthy and strong. God heard my prayer and answered it with a dose of humor: He gave me a strong-willed daughter. Perhaps I should have been a little more specific!
There have been numerous times over the past seven years where I have felt completely weak and incapable of being her mother. I’ve asked God how He picked calm and passive me to raise this fierce little girl.
One particular day, I put myself in “Mommy Time Out,” where I lock the door and escape to many a mother’s sanctuary — the bathroom. I sat on the toilet sobbing because I just didn’t know what else to do. Lila, three-years old at the time, had blatantly disobeyed me all morning. She wouldn’t listen and nothing I did convinced her to comply. I was mentally tired and my patience waned.
Behind the locked door, the tears would not stop. In the midst of weeping, I cried out, “God, being a Mom is so hard. I’m such a failure. How can I do this?”
A short while later, Lila found my hiding place and knocked on the door.
“Mommy, I have a sticker for you,” she announced.
I tried to shoo her away. But she persisted.
The conversation repeated a few more times. Bothered, I eventually opened to door to see that she had placed the sticker on my bathroom mirror and ran off. Great, I thought, now I’m going to have to clean up the sticker residue it will leave behind.
As I approached the mirror, I noticed that she had found a box of dollar-store stickers I purchased when we were potty training months earlier. They were encouragement stickers that had stars with sayings like, “You’re Number 1!” and “Go for it!”
The sticker she had chosen for me said, “Keep Going!” Of all the sayings in the box, she unknowingly picked the one I needed the most in that moment.
I broke out into tears again—what an answer to prayer that sticker represented! It reminded me that I don’t have to know all of the answers on this motherhood journey. I just have to keep going, one day at a time, one moment at a time. I scooped her up in my arms and held her tight, grateful for the prayer she helped to answer.
Over time I’ve realized that perhaps God chose me to be her mother because my weakness is a perfect match to His strength. In my many moments of uncertainty and weakness, I have no other option but to rely on Him. And when I do, His grace and power can flow in me and through me. I don’t have to get it right every time or feel discouraged when I mess up, because His grace is sufficient.
When I find myself in that place again, wondering how to get through the day with all of its demands from raising two children, I remember that sticker. I pause, take a deep breath and I keep going.
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Her blog: www.andreafortenberry.com