A Guest Post by Lisa Braziel
The crying started before I was fully dressed and before I was able to have my first cup of coffee. I sigh, “Why Lord, must they wake up so early every single day?“.
From the moment my feet hit the floor, demands from my two children begin. My hungry 5-year-old spouts off his “big man” breakfast order while my two-year-old rejects any breakfast item put in front of her.
I look back at the clock. “How Lord, will I ever get them out the door this morning?“.
I focus harder on the task at hand.
It is time to put clothes on, and my toddler thinks it’s a game. It feels like a triathlon just to get her in a new diaper and I have no clue how I am going to get her pants on.
The harder I try, the worse the toddler meltdown becomes.
She is kicking and screaming, throwing herself and the pants down on the floor.
I feel my own despair and frustration rising. “God, I really don’t know how to get her to put her pants on, please help!“
Eventually, she settles down and lets me put her pants on. Eventually, I get the kids to school, and miraculously I arrive at work on time.
Even though I make it through these type of mornings on a regular basis, these everyday struggles leave me feeling defeated, worn down, and a bit in despair.
Maybe you can relate?
I’m regularly tempted to throw my own toddler-style tantrum about the fact that God has not yet delivered me from this difficult season of toddlerhood (or at least given me some insight into how to survive it without so many battle wounds).
Every time my daughter cries, a part of me (sometimes literally) also cries. As she screams, a part of me also screams to God.
I find myself asking questions like: “What purpose do toddler meltdowns have in advancing the gospel? What good could God make out of situations and everyday struggles that feel so pointless? When will daily life give me a break?“
Since I am still in the thick of my second round of terrible twos—I want to share a few of the lessons God is teaching me about His purpose and provision in the midst of the daily battles with my toddler.Hey Moms! Are everyday struggles leave you feeling defeated, worn down, and a bit in despair? Read this...
Toddler Meltdowns Teach Us How to Pray
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16 ESV
Since my kids wake up instantly needing something, the idea of having my morning quiet time with God ended five years ago with my first child.
While a part of me still yearns for a peaceful quiet time with God first thing in the morning, God is showing me in this particular season how to bring small 1-2 sentence prayers to Him from the moment my feet hit the floor to the moment my head hits the pillow after putting the kids to bed.
As I continue on my journey, I have found encouragement in the simple idea that God may be using these everyday struggles to break down barriers I created in my prayer life.As I continue on my journey, I have found encouragement in the simple idea that God may be using these everyday struggles to break down barriers I created in my prayer life.
No longer is prayer regulated to a specific time in the morning, but it permeates across my entire day.
Not because I’m super spiritual, but most often because I’m super needy.
These daily struggles have given me plenty of reasons to pray continually.
God Transforms Our Despair Into Dependence in Him
“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? – Jeremiah 23:23 ESV
I know from previous experience that toddler meltdowns won’t last forever. My son had all sorts of phases that he’s now outgrown.
Even though I know this intellectually, emotionally struggle with despair as I wonder, “When will this phase be over?”, “When will God deliver me from yet another toddler meltdown?”.
The less immediate relief I feel, the more often I question, “Does God care about me in this particular moment?”.
Slowly and somewhat reluctantly, I’m learning this important lesson: God doesn’t always provide deliverance exactly when we ask him for it, but He always provides His nearness.
When I focus on His nearness to me, I don’t feel like He’s holding deliverance over my head, but I see Him as an understanding Father that knows what I and when I need it better than I do.God doesn't always provide deliverance exactly when we ask him for it, but He always provides His nearness.
In Everyday Struggles God Challenges Us See His Provision
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Often I hear older, wiser women remark that I will one day miss these moments when my children are small. While I’m sure they are completely right, this advice often makes me feel extremely guilty that I’m not somehow enjoying these moments more than I am.
But the reality is this: all of us struggle to see the goodness in our everyday struggles.
God’s word shows a that God’s people have always struggled to see the goodness of God in their daily life, even when they were experiencing the miraculous hand of God guiding and providing for them in the wilderness.
So instead of conjuring up sentimental feelings toward my cute but determined little toddler, I’m asking God to help me focus less on my lack and focus more on His provision all around me.
I’m coming to Him to help me see the eternal significance in things that often feel insignificant or even irritating from my human perspective.
It’s prayers like these that help me trust in the unseen and in promises that He can use these messy moments of daily life for my eventual sanctification.We can ask God for eyes to see the eternal significance in things that often feel insignificant or even irritating from a merely human perspective.
God Reminds Us We Aren’t Alone
Like I said, I’m still learning. I’m in the messiness of everyday life where someone in my house is always crying, and I’m often one of them.
Through my chain of text message prayer requests with other moms I do life with—God gently comforts me with the reality that I’m not alone.
Our struggles and stages may look very different, but God designed us to do life together.
Maybe you aren’t struggling with a toddler, but a teenager. Maybe you are struggling with the everyday silence you once wished for. Whatever your everyday struggles look like—you aren’t alone.
I encourage you to bring God a million “help me” prayers in your everyday life. Ask Him to remind you of His nearness and goodness. Challenge yourself to look for His provision, even when you are tempted to wallow in despair.
Finally, I hope that you’ll share your daily struggles with others so that they can pray for you and encourage you. If you need a place to start, head over to our Facebook page or visit our prayer wall so that others can encourage you to have faith that God is working in each and every day.
Lisa Braziel is a working mom with 2 kids who is in constant need of more coffee and even more of God’s grace.