Today I am sharing a valuable lesson I learned years ago: I am not able to cover all the bases in life, but when Jesus fills in the gaps, it CAN be done. I simply need to let Him.
Are you struggling to ‘be it all’? To ‘do it all”? Are there gaps you can’t seem to cover??? The truth is no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot fulfill such a tall order.
I know the theme songs to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Frozen, Blues, Clues, Toy Story, Strawberry Shortcake, AND Wonder Pets by heart.
I’m talking verbatim.
I know when sandwiches must be cut into triangles or squares on any particular day and I know which child insists upon which shape. I know that bedtimes stories must be read with theatrics that would rival any Broadway play.
I also know that in order to coerce a certain toddler princess out of a ‘mood’, it is imperative to speak in “Sing-Song” for at least 10 minutes straight to ensure that the “new, good and sparkly” mood remains… thus rescuing the household from an hour of tantrums and total meltdown.
I can perform the infamous ‘get-out-of-bed-like-a-ninja’ roll so that the other princess will remain peacefully asleep- most of the time.
I know how to assume the role of a short-order cook in order to fulfill every whim of each patient when sickness blows through our home and to satisfy any level of pickiness.
I can be a scholar when necessary so that the children are taught a broad spectrum of material and their education will be deemed by the experts as “well-rounded”–except math, we have a computer program and my freakishly smart husband for that.
I’ve gone into doctors appointments and PAID them the usual doctor’s fee only to to be the one telling them which tests they should run to determine the illness I am pretty sure my child had and needed treatment for, and having to endure quite a bit of nonsense just to get to the part where they are actually helping my child!
Most mothers around the world can all say the same things I am saying- not because we are just ssoooooo perfect…but because we have the built-in tenacity to do whatever it takes to raise these babies right.
Motherhood. There’s so much more to it than just making and HAVING the baby. (can I get an amen?!)
I’ve struggled to understand these mini-humans at times. They are so much more complex than they appear to be. And I have become so much more complex as their mother.
I remember the days when my greatest worry was whether or not I would get off of work on time to meet up with my friends…or whether or not I could get the kind of car I wanted… or whether or not I would score some tickets to the latest concert of my favorite band. (To be young again, am I right?!)
But when I became a mother, my worries extended into an abyss that I myself don’t fully comprehend!
Just making sure that they were fed, cleaned, and on a schedule were the least of my anxieties! Immunizations, salmonella, E-coli, jaundice, influenza, sharp objects, and various contraptions daily threatened their survival.
Did we choose the right form of schooling for them, are we telling them enough about Jesus, do they have enough friends…Did I take a shower today???
Are they involved in the right extra-curricular activities for proper brain and physical and social development, are they having the kind of childhood they should be having, do they feel genuinely loved…when was the last time I ate???
Are we teaching them a proper view of God, themselves, and the world around them???
And the perpetual list goes on…and on!
I speak about motherhood a lot because I have seven children who are my heart and soul 24 hours a day. But I haven’t even begun to talk about the pressure to be a “good and godly wife”, friend, church and community citizen!
My point is, most of us women start out the moment we say “I do” feeling like we have so much to accomplish and to prove.
If we’re not careful, it becomes a strangling, suffocating yoke– a burden on our shoulders that we cannot bear up underneath, no matter how hard we try!
If I were talking to the first-time mother, and new wife, of myself years ago as the wife and mother I am now, I would tell her, “You will NEVER feel like you have it all together because, quite simply, you don’t– But Jesus does and if you place your trust in Him, you WILL feel like you are doing the best you can and that WILL be enough.”
Oh, I AM a much better wife and mother than I was back then, but it isn’t because I am so wonderful, skilled, qualified or wise–
It’s because God has made me so…and then He graciously and mercifully makes up for what I am not.
Back then, I worried that I wasn’t choosing the right diaper or formula brand, and whether I could actually keep a baby ALIVE. (My thoughts were consumed of the gazillion houseplants that had died by my hand…how could I possibly be qualified to raise children?!)
I’m the type of mother that woke up several times a night to check whether or not their little chests were rising or falling as they breathed.
I’m the one who has the first aid kit in her minivan AND her diaper bag (herbals too!). I’m the helicopter that hovers while the kids play to make sure no one is choking, drowning, or falling off of something.
In the past, I worried about whether or not I was choosing the best curriculum, the best health care, the best church, the best reading material, the best people to be in our lives…the BEST.
Because– isn’t that what we really want as parents? The BEST for our children? I kicked myself for not taking that second parenting and marriage class at church even though I was completely sleep-deprived from the newest baby addition to our growing family and wouldn’t have been able to retain any of it anyway.
I lamented that we didn’t get together with other couples our age for date nights, even though there were no available and affordable babysitters for our already super-sized family of five (now EIGHT!)– was our marriage going to fall apart because we couldn’t go to dinner and bowling till 11 pm at night?
I mean, shouldn’t I DO SOMETHING for our marriage, our life, besides just survive??? Oh, the pressure I put on myself! The guilt of not being able to measure up to what others (and my own self) thought we should be doing at every stage of our life! I’ve since repented of such craziness.
As the years have come and gone though, I’ve realized that life isn’t so much about giving the best of everything to our families and ourselves as much as it is about BECOMING the best of ourselves, with God’s Help, in every way– and then, to humbly, allow Jesus to fill in the gaps of what we cannot be and what we cannot give.
I can teach that child every scripture in the good book, take them to church, and surround them with God-fearing people — and I should– but they must decide on their own to follow hard after Jesus.
I can give my child a college-level education with experiences to more than cover the ‘well-roundedness’ that the experts say I should–and I certainly should… but the child must decide how far he/she will go with that knowledge.
I do my best to provide ‘the best’, but sometimes in life I become limited…but Jesus, Jesus is never limited by my mere efforts. He can go into the places I cannot- the mind, the heart, the spirit. He fills in the gaps.
He can also provide when I cannot. The time we couldn’t afford to send our son to a camp he really desired to go to and needed to go to? God provided with a scholarship.
The time we needed clothing for the littles and money was just too tight to make it happen in the way I would have liked? A bag of really nice gently used hand-me-downs in my boys’ sizes ended up on our doorstep.
He filled in the gaps.
When I was concerned that my boy wasn’t learning the joy of service and the reward of servant-hood with just my parental lessons, God filled in the gap by giving him an opportunity to serve alongside God-fearing men of integrity in our church.
Why couldn’t he just learn from his father and me? I don’t know, but I do know that as I prayed, Jesus filled in the gaps that we couldn’t reach to accomplish His Will in our son’s life.
I’ve since learned to trust Jesus daily to fill in the gaps for all the things I cannot do. And you should too my friend.
“…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8
Instead of running around like a madwoman trying to meet all my family’s needs and my own needs, I’m ever learning to simply ask and allow Him to meet our needs. I do what is in my power to do and leave the rest up to Him.
The days when I feel like I am a ping pong ball between my children and husband and, no matter what effort I put into trying to make sure that all the bases get covered, at the end of the day there are still needs and things on the to-do list left undone…
I now close my eyes with the simple prayer, “Jesus, fill in the gaps…”
When I realize at 3 in the morning that I forgot, again, to mail out that bill, answer that email, return that phone call, write that friend, make that donation, etc…
I breathe out the whisper, “Jesus, fill in the gaps…”
When I am overwhelmed at how I am going to raise these young people into God-fearing, productive adults in a world that is increasingly hostile to the family unit and the faith we proclaim…
while falling on my knees, my heart’s cry is, “Jesus– fill in the gaps, the gaping holes that I cannot accomplish in my own strength!”
When I realize, after a week of quick hugs and pecks on the lips, that my husband and I haven’t had a full, uninterrupted conversation in what feels like years and how I ache for more connection with him (even though he’s 100% right there in the trenches with me and I know he feels the same)–
the words erupt from my lips– “Jesus–sweet, burden-bearing, easy yoke-giving Jesus– fill the gaps…” Maybe you need some gaps filled too?
Maybe the checklist of daily life and self-imposed Superwoman expectations have left you weary and tired and you just need Jesus to come in and fill in those gaps that you can’t reach no matter what kind of effort you put into it?
2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Some versions read, “…all things pertaining to life and godliness…” If I believe what the scripture tells me here, then I’ve got to believe that, as I walk in obedience to Him the best I know how, He will honor His end of the bargain and impart ‘all things’ as they are needed!
It’s a delicate thing to rest in and trust the Lord, that He is watching over us so much more than we are… and that He is more than willing to fill in those gaps that worry us so.
Dearest daughter, the next time you feel like you’re blowing it or not measuring up to whatever standard you’re holding yourself to, try this instead: breathe in deeply and exhale the prayer, “Father- won’t you please come take my burden?
Come fill in the gaps that I am powerless to fill on my own. Reach the places I cannot reach, meet the need I cannot meet, provide what I cannot provide… In Jesus Name, fill in the gaps.” Jesus–sweet, burden-bearing, easy yoke-giving Jesus– fill the gaps...
He told us to come when we were weary and heavy-laden– I have to assume that He meant what He said, right? So, let’s take Him up on His offer this week, let us allow Him fill in the gaps and let’s find rest…tranquil, refreshing, beautiful REST.
Completely His, Nicci