Not Enough

Contemplative key of d

 

When your belly’s beginning to bulge with new life, and you’re having one of those days where you can’t put the baby down without him bursting into tears, and the bigger one is refusing to sit on the potty, or take a nap, or eat his dinner, you sometimes wonder deep down if you really have what it takes to mother another little life.

This was a fear I wrestled with during my last pregnancy. I know other mamas wonder if they’ll have enough love for a new baby—that question never once plagued me. My question was always, “Am I enough to mother this one and that one and be a good wife and do all the other things I feel called to do?”

While this question still pops up every now and again (like today in the middle of my toddler’s ear infection and my big boy’s will-wielding), I’m glad God clearly showed me the answer to this during my last pregnancy. When I asked Him through the tears one night, big with new life, scared to death of what was to come, my seemingly simple question, “Am I enough?” He didn’t exactly answer with the reassurance I was hoping to find. He answered, “No, my child. You’re not enough.”

He whispered to my heart the truth: You’re not enough to fill these little ones with all they will ever need. You’re not enough to mother them without failing them often. And no, there won’t be enough of you to go around, nor will there be enough of you left when the day is done.

You are not enough for them and you aren’t enough for your husband and you aren’t enough even for yourself. You—the one I myself fashioned and formed in your mother’s womb—you were made dependent. You were made needy. You were made to find your completion and wholeness and strength and power only in Me.

If you were enough for these little ones, they would never sense their need of Me. If you never failed them or let them down, they would put you in my place, and they would never sense their longing for Me. If there was enough of you for them, they would not learn their need of Me and of the community for which I fashioned them. If there was enough of you left at the end of the day, you would never turn to Me at all, but you would rest in your self-sufficiency and languish in your loneliness.

So don’t worry my child, you won’t be enough. But I will be. I will be enough to meet their needs. I will be enough love for them. I will be enough to always hold them and never let them go. I will be enough to never fail them. I will be enough to go around. I will be enough when the day is done. And when eternity dawns, I will be enough.

And I will be enough for you too, my beloved daughter. I will be your strength when you feel you have nothing left to give. I will be your love when you feel bone dry. I will be your patience when you’ve lost every last bit. I will be your resting place when all you need is someone just to care for you. I will be enough for you.

Listen my child:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9 a)

And I agreed with the saints of old:
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9 b)

And this is my prayer for you, dear reader, because all of us no matter our calling in life wrestle with this question:

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” (Eph. 1:18-20, bold mine).

I pray that as you look squarely at your insufficiency that your eyes will also be opened to His incomparably great power—a power that raised Christ from the dead—that is available and alive in you if you belong to Christ. By His strength, and in your weakness, His power will be made perfect in you for whatever task He calls you to do. Rest in that and not in some false notion of your own strength and abilities. You are not enough. But He is and He will manifest that power through you if you turn to Him in your weakness.

 

Like what you’re reading? Consider getting a copy of my new devotional journal for expectant mothers: Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting. It’s the perfect gift for that baby shower or new mom you know who needs encouragement. And with Mother’s Day right around the corner, what better excuse to shower some mama you know with a little extra love.

Graveside: Resurrection Sunday

Risen

Along the seam of time
And eternity, there is a tear.
Along the fault line of temporal
And everlasting, there is a rupture.
A sliver of sky, a gash in the earth,
The size of a single human soul.

On the outer rim of beauty,
On the cusp of consciousness,
Between wakefulness and sleep
Is the waking wonder of a hope
Beyond dreaming.

It is a glimpse of the long-awaited.
It is a sigh of rest–
An unbreakable wholeness,
An impenetrable wellness,
An impermeable happiness,
An unstoppable rightness.

Somewhere on the outer rim of beauty,
Somewhere on the cusp of consciousness,
Somewhere between wakefulness and sleep,
The reality of a dream is dawning,
Breaking time with eternal light.
A first gleam growing brighter,
Across the horizon,
Beauty bleeding in the color of resurrected life.

The Valentine’s Box: A Reminder That You Are So Deeply Loved

The Valentine's BoxI’m ashamed to admit it but by the age of ten my heart was already aflutter with the thought of boys. My crushes that year had flitted from here to there like a butterfly. And my best friend (Elaina, are you reading?) and I held many a late-night pajama-clad conversation over the cutest or the funniest or the sweetest boy of the fifth grade class. So when it came to Valentine’s Day, my heart was full of hope that amidst those silly Snoopy and Transformer’s Valentines and the chalky candy hearts that there might be one that had a real message, a declaration of profound “like” for me, even me.

Deep down I knew I wasn’t even close to the prettiest girl in class. My brown hair cut in a bob with bangs that curled around my too baby-like face. (I was still a baby after all). How glad I was that those same brown locks covered my rowdy ears and that my dimples somewhat distracted from my teeth that begged for braces (thank you Mom and Dad).

And so the stage is now set: a tender heart full of hope, an awkward girl poised on the brink of all the changes that would catapult her from a girl to woman, and a class of utterly clueless boys (and rightfully so—ah were we young).

Now enter stage right: my mom.

I opened my eyes that Valentine’s morning to something that totally surprised and delighted me. My mom had wrapped the lid and the bottom of a shoe box in bright red wrapping paper. Then she had carefully cut out the most exquisite array of delicate white hearts and arranged and pasted them all over the outside. Finally, she’d cut a slit on the top for a “mail opening.”  It might not sound extraordinary, but I’d never seen anything like it before and to me, it was the most beautiful, thoughtful gift I could imagine. My heart swelled with pride at the thought of carrying it into class. I loved that box from the moment I laid eyes on it and saved it long after Valentine’s Day had come and gone.

Once I got to school, the details of my memory grow fuzzy. I vaguely remember my disgust at receiving a “Garbage Pail Kid” Valentine (anyone remember those?) from someone who I had my eye on at the time. Other than that, all I can remember is the feeling of disappointment and however vaguely of not being chosen. Whatever message of favor I’d hoped to receive that day didn’t make it to my mailbox. But while, I left disappointed with the contents of my box, I still held my chin high. After all, I had the loveliest Valentine’s box of the fifth grade class.

As I think back on that now, I realize how much that mattered. I was so full of my mother’s love (and my father’s too—I could tell you about the Daddy-daughter Valentine’s dance he took me to or the place of welcome I always had in his arms) that I didn’t feel the full sting of that “empty” box.  I was loved; so well-loved that my mom knew my tender heart and stayed up late decorating a pretty little box for me, delighting in surprising her little girl.

Now just a few years into motherhood, I’m seeing what a big part of the job description this is: filling our kids with our love so that the stings of this world don’t have the full venom. I’m not talking about stuffing them with candy or toys or over-the-top praise. The box was special because my mom had paid enough attention to the stage of life I was in, to know how to fill me up. It was special because it had cost her of her time. It was special because she’d created something of beauty because her love for me was (and is) something of beauty.

And as I think of that beautiful Valentine’s box and the love I was filled with that day before I ever walked through the school doors, and I think about how great the Father’s love that He lavishes upon us (1 Jn. 3:1). I know my parents’ deep love for me; I know the love of an amazing husband; I know the ache of tenderness my own heart swells with for my husband and two sweet boys—but these are but droplets compared to how our Father in Heaven gushes with love for us. He delights over us with singing (Zeph. 3:17). He cannot bear the thought of giving us up (Hos. 11:8-11). And He showed the extent of His love for us in the most costly, extravagant gift anyone could ever give (1 Jn. 3:16).

He pours out His love for us. It is a never-ending spring (John 4:14), a waterfall, a flood (Isaiah 66:12-13). If we allow Him to fill us, how can we ever truly feel empty? It’s my job to open my eyes this morning and see the gifts of His Son, of salvation, of presence—with the pure delight of that ten-year old heart. By His grace, I want to wrap my mind and heart around the depth of His love for me so that no matter what comes my way, I walk with the confidence of a girl who is deeply loved, of a girl who has received that special message of favor from the One who matters most. I want to remember that He didn’t scrawl His love on a Valentine of paper, but on arms pierced and stretched wide. My name is graven on His hands (Isaiah 49:16). Let His love be always graven on my heart.

Dear Reader, do you walk with confidence as one well-loved? Have you spent time lately filling yourself with the knowledge of His deep love for you? Let it soak in.

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