"The Great Wall of Motherhood"
"With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall."
Psalm 18:29 (NIV)
Maybe I could fake being sick.
Or pretend to twist my ankle.
I just have to think of something that will get me out of this! The voice inside my head uttered words of panic.
It was my freshman year of college, and I stood staring at it — a legend on campus. "It" was made of wood and stood tall in the Midwest countryside. They called it simply: "The Wall."
The legend was also a tradition, one that every freshman must take part in: Scale the 10-foot beast, assisted only by the 12-member freshman "core group" led by one upperclassman.
On the backside of the wall was a platform, near the top. Once you were over the wall, you could lower yourself and stand solidly on it. From there, you could reach back over and assist classmates who’d yet to experience the thrill of conquering this wooden monster.
Getting the first person over was the hardest, since no one was on the other side to help to pull them over. Usually the tallest, thinnest and most athletic guy went first. Others hoisted him up on their shoulders, and then he diligently tried to pull himself the rest of the way and topple over to the other side.
Then, one after another, more students lifted, hoisted and pushed until they all made it safely to the other side. I did my part to help others over, but I dreaded my turn. I tried to speak positively to myself: You can do this. Focus. Jump high and grab on tight! But those words of encouragement were drowned out by my thoughts of fear and doubt.
I backed up, took some running steps toward the wall, and then leapt upward with all my might, praying someone’s strong arm would catch me.
After a brief moment of panic, I felt the hand of a teammate grab hold of mine and grip tightly. My team then helped me to the top and I gingerly set my feet down on the other side. Sweet relief. We had done it! We had scaled The Wall.
Three years after I was married, I learned I was expecting our first child. I was excited to be carrying a new life. However, I also felt fear as I stared at the massive wall of motherhood I would have to scale — mostly because I thought all the weight was upon my shoulders to be my child’s everything.
Caretaker. Provider. Cook. Teacher. Nurse. Social director. Counselor. Coach. And probably something else I hadn’t even thought of yet. How in the world was I ever going to be able to do all that?
Thankfully, today’s key verse assures us God is near and ready to come to our aid when we are afraid. He can enable us to scale whatever walls of life we face. And now, a quarter-century into my mothering, I see God’s hand and help. His hand has been there to guide me as a mom. And He’s sent help in the form of other mothers who’ve taken my hand and shared both victories and struggles.
I still talk negatively to myself at times, doubting my abilities as a mom and berating myself for the times I blow it. Maybe you do, too. But what if we stopped listening to the voices inside our heads — the ones that fear and fret and worry? What if instead we reached up and out? Up to God who is waiting to tightly grasp our slipping fingers and out to other mothers who have yet to scale the wall?
God is ever faithful. Always nearby. Full of love, compassion and beautiful second chances when we aim high and come up short. God — the perfect parent — will help us parent our children for His glory.
Yes, moms, with God and each other, we can scale the wall of motherhood.
Father, when the voices of fear and doubt threaten to send me into panic, may I hear Your gentle whisper telling me that You are near. Help me reach out to You, and to other moms on this journey, for help in parenting and in life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 56:3, "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you." (NLT)
Psalm 56:11, "I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" (NLT)