By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

Battling discouragement September 7, 2007

Filed under: spiritual growth — Marissa Henley @ 9:13 pm
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Since this is supposed to be my honest blog, I guess I better confess that for the last couple weeks, I’ve felt really discouraged. I am completely focused on myself, wallowing in self-pity, and generally hating my life and disliking everyone (read: husband and kids) who make my life the way it is. When this happens, poor hubby bears the brunt of it–I vent all my unhappiness to him, along with any small transgression he has committed in the last few months. Poor guy. This happened to him last week, and at one point he stared at me in bewilderment and said, “Maybe you should read your own blog.”

He is so right. And that is one reason I’m writing this blog, because it doesn’t take me long at all to forget the lessons that God teaches me. I start yearning for my own comfort and desires, rather than desiring nothing else but that God be glorified by my daily life.

So in the midst of my discouragement, I’ve turned to one of my favorite books–Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss–because I know that believing lies is at the root of my emotional turmoil. She writes about many lies women believe that lead to loneliness, discouragement, lack of faith, burnout, guilt, fear and depression. She also counters each lie with the truth of Scripture. Some lies that I’m struggling with right now are (lies are verbatim from the book, parenthetical remarks are my application to my struggles):

1. “If I feel something, it must be true.” (So if I feel like I never accomplish anything, I am a terrible wife and mother, and my kids are disasters, then it must be true that my life is futile.)

2. “If my circumstances were different, I would be different.” (Maybe if I had a part-time job, my kids wouldn’t drive me crazy when I was with them.)
3. “It’s all about me.” (And I seldom get to do what I want to do! Why does Will always wake up from his nap at the exact moment I finally collapse on the couch to rest for a minute?!?)
4. “I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings.” (I deserve to have all of my needs met by those around me–appreciation, comfort, privacy on the potty, etc.)

The truth is that most of the emotions I’m feeling right now are not rooted in truth; my circumstances have changed dramatically in recent months, and all my issues stayed right with me; it is all about God and for His glory; and I will always have unfulfilled longings this side of Heaven, and the most well-behaved children and adoring husband could never meet all my needs.

I’m still in the midst of battling this discouragement, but I’m trying, by God’s grace, to take each thought captive and make it obedient to Christ and His truth (see 2 Corinthians 10:5b) . I’m seeking to set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things (see Colossians 3:1-2). And I’m reminding myself that God has called me to spend these days serving my children so I can have daily opportunities to share the Gospel with them and teach them about their need for a Savior and how God has provided for that need by sending His Son. And when I don’t think I can endure one more afternoon of whining and tantrums, God’s grace is sufficient for me (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 43:5

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3