When Motherhood Leaves Me Empty
As we left the kids with my parents and in-laws (we now have to divide them up since we have five kids), I felt a sense of relief, like a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. My husband and I were going out of town without the kids. Freedom. We both giggled like newly weds as we drove off. We spent our vacation sleeping in each morning, relaxing by the pool, and talking with no interruptions. I didn’t have to cut up food or get five other plates ready before sitting down to my cold meal.
When we wanted to just sit, I could close my eyes and enjoy the quiet, without having to keep an eye on a little one. For seven days we enjoyed talking to each other, reading, and eating together in peace.
Only, that’s not my regular life. In fact, my house is pretty loud and crazy in this season right now. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. For you new moms out there, I feel you. The routine of it all is enough to cause our hearts to be restless. Did we really sign up for this? Day after day the same seemingly empty tasks feel incomplete. Leaving us feeling empty.
The endless meals, dirty clothes, and decisions can make us feel useless. All we want is an escape. I’ve been guilty of surfing the internet, flipping through social media, and watching pointless videos all to escape the reality of the moment. Motherhood can leave me empty.
The natural tendency of my heart is to feel empty. Immediately I want to fill it. Frantically I look around. Maybe buying more things, planning more trips away, exercising, or having a job will fill my emptiness? Only it doesn’t. The void I feel in motherhood is not because of my children or the day-to-day duties. The emptiness is because I am fallen and in need of a Savior.
My need is for a daily Savior to fill me up. My children will never fulfill me. My husband will never be enough. A job, a hobby, things, or food will never make me feel – ENOUGH. It is only when I root myself in Christ I find true contentment.
The empty feeling motherhood can bring is ultimately because I’m discontent with my life. And rightly so. If I’m spending my time working, fixing, serving, and not soaking in the Savior – I WILL feel empty. When motherhood leaves me empty, its actually a good thing. It means I can turn away from the temporary (even motherhood won’t last forever), and look at the eternal: God Himself.
I love Moses’ description of God in Psalm 90:1-2: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
God is from everlasting to everlasting and Creator God. Since He made me, He knows me. And only He can fulfill me. How? By praying and reading and dwelling in Him. It sounds like abiding, doesn’t it? Jesus says in John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Abiding in Jesus will fill my emptiness. How do I know? Because I was the mother who filled her days with other things, and neglected the One Thing. Psalm 27:4 says: “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”
Until I began to put Jesus first, the working, food, and things in my life became an idol for my empty heart. It is easy to put aside the dishes and laundry and feel like it is pointless. It’s not easy to take up our cross and follow Christ.
Motherhood is about service. When my heart is rooted in Jesus, I can serve with open hands. I can fold and put away each load of laundry with joy knowing I’m providing a clean house for my sweet little ones. The meals I cook may not be appreciated, but I’m feeding them with more than physical nourishment. I’m showing my boys how to provide and my girls how to serve.
Motherhood isn’t easy, and I still have a LOOOOONG way to go with this, but I’m learning it is not futile to live my life in routine. It is normal to feel restless, but I can find my true rest in God.
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