Amid the struggles of life, relax in the arms of Jesus.
by Tammie Head
That mom you’ve been comparing yourself to… don’t let anybody fool you. She probably feels just as inadequate as you. Being a mom is hard. Just ask any older mother you know. She’d likely tell you, “Cut yourself some slack.”
And she’d be right.
Each of us, no matter our ages or stages in life — whether changing diapers or helping make preparations for a wedding — need God’s help engaging confidently this wild and worrisome thing called mothering.
There was a time when I believed if my husband and I tried hard enough at raising our children, like God wanted us to raise them, then our kids would turn out near perfect. Not that I ever voiced my ridiculous notions. But I thought it. And I worked very hard at it, too.
As our daughter grew, that notion was shattered. Today my husband and I are living a nightmare; we’re living the nightmare of having a prodigal daughter. Not only is this season horrendously baffling, but it’s also emotionally excruciating. Especially when you go to sleep at night not knowing where your twenty-year-old daughter is. Talk about hard.
But you know what? Jesus is teaching me to trust Him by faith more fully than I ever have before. This kind of newfound faith fell particularly hard on me after having a conversation with a godly counselor. When he said to me, “Tammie, do you trust God?” his words pierced my heart and caused tears to stream down my face.
Then he continued, “If you trust God, you have to believe He has her. Often, as Christians, we say we trust God, but we don’t. Our actions tell otherwise. To be honest, much of the time, we’re what some call ‘atheist Christians’. We trust God for salvation, but what do we trust Him for after that?”
Then he asked again, “Tammie, do you trust that God has this? That He has her, and He’s in control? That you can let her go?”
I wanted to say yes, affirmatively, but I was struggling. All I could think was, Dear God, this is my child! What if something tragically awful happens to her?
It took some time to let her go by trusting God, but today I’m deeply grateful for my conversation with that counselor. It caused me to fall on my face before God and admit to my fears, my mistakes, and how I lacked faith in entrusting my precious daughter into His hands.
Jesus offers a better way than bucking up, hardening up, and living as victims of our circumstances or taking a survivor’s stance. But to attain this kind of living in Christ, we must commit our hearts afresh into His trustworthy hands. We must fling wide-open the doors of our hearts and invite the light of God’s loving presence into every secret nook and cranny — bravely withholding nothing, exposing everything, where all secret places and spaces are welcome to His knowing, His forgiveness, and His cleansing.
With God’s help, these days I’m learning how to choose life in this season of great heartbreak instead of the ditches of darkness, defeat, and despair. Each day I find if I willingly choose to trust in the love and care of my Heavenly Father, He will faithfully drench me in His peace. Because, the truth is, our worries as mothers run much deeper than our thoughts. What we desperately need deep in our guts is a Savior who will take us by the hand and lead us in our callings as mothers.
The problem is, our culture has raised us to dress up in happy faces — for a good performance is highly esteemed — especially as mothers. Our society applauds the strong and scorns the weak. We favor the rich and look down on the poor. We elevate the wise and learned and look down on the uneducated, the homeless, and the marginal strugglers of society. We raise up big girls and boys who buck up, and step up, and despise all signs of weakness, as ones who are approved. And we’re miserable inside, always comparing ourselves to other mothers who seem to be doing a superwoman job.
Many of us are like I was: Undone and overwhelmed by our life’s circumstances.
To find a sense of freedom, we must let down, admit to our mess, and allow God to love us to life in Him. We must let His love in all the way.
FREEDOM IN GOD’S PRESENCE
I wonder if the Lord is longing to do the same for you as He’s doing for me? Pursuing you? Longing to liberate you? I’m not just talking about liberating you in the sense of changing the course of your eternal destiny. I’m talking about having a living and active relationship with God where He is personally involved in your day-to-day affairs — so much so that you live in a supernatural fullness of His ongoing liberating presence.
That’s what becoming a walking miracle looks like. Where the life you’re living in Christ is such a far cry from the life you would be living without Him. What I’m talking about is a life that walks in the supernatural power and presence of God daily. A life not bound by the fallen nature anymore. A life on an adventure with God.
We were made for more.
Do you know this is why Jesus came? Your life means more to Him than you think. If you throw open your Bible and bury your nose in it, you’ll discover this. The Bible isn’t just another book, it’s the redemptive plan of God. There’s something said for laying the Bible open and reading the whole thing. You’ll soon discover what the Gospel of Luke states: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
My family actually committed to reading the entire Bible together in a year. We’d each read the same selections from a chronological Bible, although my husband, Erin, was the sole survivor. The other three of us fell out at different times, but I assure you I did observe some recognizable truths: We’re a messy people, but God is a patient God. All of us desperately need Him, and He longs to liberate us.
Not only did Erin read the entire Bible in a year, he did it again. And it changed him. Like I said, there’s something said for laying the Book open and discovering God’s redemptive plan for ourselves.
THE LORD WHO SEEKS AND LIBERATES
In the New Testament, particularly Luke 4:16–21, your heart will stir with emotions. God came to earth, in the form of a man, Jesus of Nazareth, finally here to save us: “He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.’”
This can be fulfilled in your life today, too. Are you feeling captive in areas? Inadequate in areas? Oppressed in areas?
Hear this good news personally today: Jesus releases people from walking messes to walking miracles.
FAITH IN THE GIVER OF LIFE
Never in my life did I conceive we’d be walking down this heartbreaking road. Not when my girl was a miracle baby. Not when I begged God for her. Not when it took a miraculous healing of God to bring her forth to life. But God is teaching me more and more how to walk in His divine power instead of fear, anxiety, condemnation, and the self-destruction of my flesh. God says, “See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. … Choose life so that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15,19b). And that’s what I’m doing — I’m choosing life.
Jesus came to give us God’s abundant life, a relationship unlike any other — a relationship consisting of deepest love, amazing redemption, and one with a crazy promise: With Me, you can live a triumphant life, a life you’ve never dreamed. All because I live in you. Jesus gives us the ability to walk and talk and live as free people — enjoying God forever.
Did you know God has announced His love for you in the cosmos, where angels and demons dwell? Indeed, He has eulogized you — you are His.
He has taken your every yoke onto His person, bearing it Himself. And He has exchanged your captivity for liberty — in heart, soul, mind, and strength — by Himself.
You need not worry. You need not compare. You need not fret.
Sit down. Be still. Look up.
Jesus is the One who satisfies you. He’s the One who approves you. He’s the One who releases you, and takes you by the hand to lead you. The more you relax in His arms, the more you shall live and breathe, and be a source of Him not only to your children but to the world — the world where He has apportioned you to live and give away His life and love. Know this, you’re His joy. You’re His delight.
Relax, Mama. Be refreshed in His presence, and let His love in. He’s got you.
Tammie Head is a living miracle. God has taken her from utter depravity to living a life she never dreamed of. Tammie’s desire for God is insatiable, and she can’t keep Him to herself. The effect on others who come in contact with her is usually the same, Christians and non-Christians alike: they want to know God like she does.
This article originally appeared in HomeLife magazine (February 2016). For more articles like this, subscribe to HomeLife.