Motherhood threw a curve ball that knocked me flat on my face.
I sat in the dark room, sobbing and begging God for help.
My first-born lay beside me, eager for his midnight feeding.
As looked into his blue-grey eyes, I grieved as feelings of resentment swept over me.
Guilt, shame, exhaustion, and a consuming darkness quickly followed.
What kind of mother feels resentment toward her child?
A terrible one!
At least, that’s what the enemy whispered to my weary soul.
The devil cast a chain around my heart: You’re a horrible mother.
Breastfeeding was not the beautiful bonding experience I eagerly anticipated.
It seemed the harder I tried, the more I failed.
Friends nursed their babies with ease and delighted in it.
What was wrong with me?
The dagger to my heart came when a few people blamed my lack of success on my lack of really trying.
I tried everything!
The sad truth is pre-term babies don’t always develop the reflexes to nurse and nursing can also exacerbate postpartum depression.
Bottles became my shame. They stole my hope and my self-worth.
The devil placed a brick upon my shoulders: You’re a failure at mothering.
These lies pressed their full weight upon me and nearly destroyed my first year of motherhood.
It didn’t help that dreams of giving birth naturally were also shattered; Toxemia forced an emergency C-section at barely-36 weeks.
While I was overjoyed that our pre-term son was born healthy, I drifted into an unexpected depression.
The enemy expected it, though—with great anticipation.
As the weight of failure echoed in my newborn’s cries, the devil set his snare.
As tears fell, I pleaded to God: “Why can’t I do this? First a Cesarean and now this?”
The sixty pounds still clinging to my petite frame (a parting gift of Toxemia) added to the literal weight crushing me further into despair.
At my weakest moment, the enemy taunted me with an old demon. (You can read more about my struggles with Bulimia, here.)
And that was nearly my breaking point—the moment I felt I might be defeated by the guilt and shame.
I thought my baby deserved a better mommy than me.
There’s a Proverb that talks about being knocked down.
“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. (Prov. 24:16, HCSB)”
In the Bible, seven represents perfect completion.
In other words, this man had endured hardship to the full measure.
And yet, he rises again!
What a powerful testimony to the strength we have in the Lord.
Satan doesn’t just want to defeat us, he wants us to believe we are defeated.
Life is hard, and everyone falls down. Yet, stumbling isn’t the same as falling.
Stumbling happens by carelessly racing ahead, without anticipating obstacles or danger.
Then, when trials come (and they will), the enemy catches us off-guard and unprepared—a perfect snare.
Satan wants us to stumble and then crumble under the weight of hard circumstances.
If our hope isn’t in the Lord, we run the risk of doing just that.
But God says that is the way of those who hope in themselves or in the world.
They stumble into ruin.
With Christ, we don’t have to stumble through life.
We have a lantern for our feet and the mighty Sword of the Spirit.
The weight of the world can knock us down to the full measure, but we can be armed and filled with the power to get back up.
As I prayed and pleaded for God’s help, He was faithful to provide.
My shame was replaced with His love, acceptance, and truth.
God knew my limitations and failures, yet He did not despise my weakness or withhold His blessings.
God knew I wouldn’t be able to give birth naturally.
“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. (Psalm 121:1-3, HCSB)”
I choose to praise Him for surgeons and medical help.
God knew I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9, HCSB)”
I choose to praise Him for giving me strength to try and for formula when I couldn’t continue.
God knew the mistakes I would make.
“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4, HCSB)”
I choose to praise God for His unfailing mercy and persistence to teach me better ways.
God knew the weight of these burdens would not crush me.
“A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12, HCSB)”
When we choose to seek strength from the Lord, He gives it!
God knew my shortcomings and still gave me children.
And he chose you to be the mother of your children, too.
Don’t ever forget it!
Here are three simple steps you can take to get the upper hand on the enemy today:
- Do you feel like you are stumbling through hardships? God says that trouble will come, but that we have hope in Him. Read John 16:33 and write down some ways you can better anticipate troubles.
- What are the specific circumstances weighing you down? Name them! Expose the enemy by bringing your burdens into the Light. Ask God to give you strength over each specific one. (see, Psalm 81:7)
- Have you armed yourself against spiritual warfare? Don’t underestimate the craftiness of Satan, or neglect the power of Christ. The Armor of God protects us with truth, righteousness, readiness, peace, faith, power, salvation, and the help of the Holy Spirit himself! (see, Ephesians 6:10-18)
God knows what you are going through.
He knows the secret struggles, the hidden battles, the wearying wars you fight behind closed doors.
Today I encourage you to trust Him—even when the weight of the world is upon you, choose to praise Him.
It’s time to remind the enemy that our strength comes from the Lord.
We might be knocked down, but we will not be defeated!
RebeccaLynn Dikeman is a wife, mother of two, and a woman whole-heartedly seeking her Savior. She is a blogger and proud member of COMPEL, a Proverbs 31 writer’s training program. She wants her readers to know that being a Christian is not living a perfect life, but a devoted one. You can connect with RebeccaLynn on her blog at www.rebeccalynndevotions.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rldevotions.