Sometimes it’s not just the children who want to throw a tantrum… check out this 30-second video clip:
Yes, there comes a point in the life of every mother (and most fathers, too) when they feel like throwing a tantrum…
…maybe it was the “adventure of the dirty diaper” when your toddler decided to paint the walls with a certain smelly brown paste they found in their drawers after a nap,
…or perhaps it was the seventy-ninth time you pierced the sole of your foot on a tiny Lego block,
…or maybe it was the third burnt dinner (with the fire alarm going off) while you were trying to bathe your kiddo after an “accident” – and your husband walks in the door…
…or perhaps it was the fifth time your rambunctious 5 year old flushed a toy down the toilet and successfully plugged it up and created a flood on the bathroom floor for his Little-Tikes Noah’s ark…
…or maybe it was the plate of dinner flipped over onto the carpet…
…or perhaps it was the giant stain that somehow appeared on your favorite shirt (and you have know idea how it got there!)…
…or maybe it was having to break the vacation piggy-bank in order to make end’s meet…
…or the missing sock, the missing shoe, or the missing Chimpanzee in the zoo (just making sure you’re listening)
…or MAYBE it was when another mom posted on Facebook a giant list of everything she and her perfect little kids accomplished in one day – and you aren’t even sure what happened at all that day!
…or perhaps it was when another woman saw your kids, your sometimes messy van, or cluttered house, and gave you “the look”…
And you’re overwhelmed and trying harder but you still feel like you’re treading water.
Under the weight of everyday mishaps, tantrums, and accidents, I’m convinced most moms are overwhelmed and compounded by expectations to be a Super-Woman-Super-Mom.
Most moms I know regularly feel like the frazzled woman pictured on the left (below) rather than the smiley-dazzled “super-girl” on the right:
Everyday moms have all the charts and books and courses (available on Amazon or at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore nearest you) to “make” them Super-women:
They need to use the right kind of organic baby food, use natural cotton skin-sensitive diapers (or if you’re the extra super-mom you re-use cloth diapers). Super moms never have toddlers who perform temper tantrums on the floor in the grocery store, they never miss an alarm clock, never have melt-downs in the church bathroom, and never forget to have a perfect meal ready for their husband at 5:30pm. They never get depressed, always post happy thoughts on Facebook, always live with a big smile, always are on time for every soccer game, never miss a PTA meeting, and never even need a second cup of coffee!
But with all these totally unrealistic expectations, what can everyday moms know is true about God and true about how He works in all of us (today, especially moms) when we feel so “everyday” in a “super” world??
Five Everyday (even messed up) Moms
God’s Word highlights five women in Matthew 1:1-16 – women who had obvious flaws, struggles, and sin-issues, yet all were in the line of Jesus the Messiah-King. In a very shocking way, God’s story in their lives tells us what is true about Him and what is true about how He works with and through moms… even today. Let’s take a look:
“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham . . . Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram…” (Matt. 1:1, 3)
1. Tamar acted as a prostitute with her father-in-law, Judah, after he reneged on his commitment to give her to his youngest son, Shelah, after he came of age. (Gen. 38:6-30). Tamar first married Judah’s firstborn son, Er, who died because he was evil in the sight of the Lord (v. 6-7). Judah then told Onan, his second-born, to have sexual relations with Tamar to carry on the name of his brother in covenant loyalty (acting as kinsman-redeemer). However, Onan rejected covenant loyalty and acted in deception by refusing to impregnate Tamar. As a result, God took his life (v. 8-10). Judah then promised Tamar marriage to his youngest son, Shelah. So Tamar dutifully returned to her father’s house to wait it out. However, Judah didn’t fulfill his promise. So Tamar played on Judah’s sexual lust and seduced him like a prostitute in order to force him to make good on his promise (apparently he didn’t know it was her because her face was covered behind a veil). Tamar became pregnant by Judah with twins: Perez and Zerah. And Perez would ultimately be in the line of David and Jesus the King.
This story is like the worst of the Lifetime Network Soap Opera shows…it’s one giant mess of sin, deception, and death! Yet through this mess God works in unexpected ways through messed up, ordinary people to display His extraordinary grace… in the coming of Jesus the King. Now don’t misunderstand me, this doesn’t make this mess of sin “right” or good, but it displays God’s radical grace to people who don’t deserve His love and yet He works out His plan despite their issues.
“Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab…” (Matt. 1:4-5a)
2. Rahab was labeled a prostitute, a “harlot” (Josh. 2:1) and was a Canaanite pagan from Jericho. But God, by His sovereign grace, turned her heart to make this bold confession of faith: “the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Josh. 2:11). Her faith in the LORD (YHWH) also saved her and the rest of her family from death when the Israelites invaded Jericho. But even more shocking is the fact that Rahab would marry an Israelite named Salmon and give birth to a baby boy named Boaz… (Matt. 1:5).
God is displaying His radical grace… turning tables…redeeming. God works in unexpected ways through ordinary people to display His extraordinary grace.
“…Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.” (Matt. 1:5b-6)
3. Ruth was raised a heathen, a Moabitess (Ruth 1:4). The very label “Moabitess” was sprinkled throughout the book of Ruth to drive home the point of God’s grace to people outside ethnic Israel. Ruth, no doubt, would have been considered a societal outcast in Bethlehem. Yet God draws her to believe in Him, the God of Naomi (1:16-18), and follow her empty-handed and bitter mother-in-law out of Moab and back to Bethlehem (1:19). Then in a whirlwind turn-of-events, Ruth, the Moabitess, by God’s plan, married Boaz and gave birth to a son named Obed, and Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse… was the father of David the king of Israel. And again, God proves that He works in unexpected ways through ordinary (and even unusual) people to display His extraordinary grace.
“David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa.” (Matt. 1:6b-7)
4. Bathsheba was the former wife of Uriah, one of David’s fiercely loyal warriors. But King David took Bathsheba in adultery, and then plotted Uriah’s death (2 Sam. 11:2-27). If you thought the giant mess-of-a-story with Judah and Tamar was maddening and depressing, this one will set your teeth on edge. David’s lust-driven treachery ends in a train-wreck of darkness, death, and tears …but God again displayed His shocking, radical grace.
“…Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.” (Matt. 1:16)
5. Mary was a very young woman who’s story was, no doubt, surrounded by gossip, slander, and raised eyebrows around her small village. But through the agency of the Holy Spirit, this simple, ordinary, yet faithful young girl carried the incarnate Christ to full-term and delivered Him at God’s appointed time of light breaking through the darkness to bring the message of salvation to the whole world (Matt. 1:16ff).
God works in unexpected ways through ordinary people to display His extraordinary grace.
The Bible is so incredibly honest. God’s divine revelation contains no sugar-coating or glossing-over the real-life details and imperfections of God’s people. You see, it’s not a book of heroes or rules (as Sally Lloyd-Jones put it in “The Jesus Storybook Bible”), but a book about the ultimate Hero, God in Christ, who came in love to rescue us back from the darkness and death and sadness of sin.
A Savior for Everyday Moms
The truth is… no mom can be a perfect super-woman because all moms are sinners and live in a fallen, messed up world, just like all five women in the line of Christ. However, God displays His grace in unexpected ways through ordinary people, especially everyday moms. God always prefers to operate with grace through people who know they are not super or special or perfect.
My Everyday Mom: I recall my mom working her tail-end off to make her best attempt at homeschooling me. Ha! I was crazily energetic – some sort of mix between my German-Czechoslovakian bloodline and the jackrabbit at the zoo. She used to chase me around the house with a school book in one hand and the phone (with my dad on the line) in the other hand.
But you know what eventually got through to my thick skull and stubborn, rebellious heart? My mom’s consistent, obvious dependence on God’s grace. She openly admitted her failures and faults. She often requested our forgiveness. She always spent significant portions of the day in prayer. Why? Because she knew she could not handle me without God’s power.
So maybe right now you’re overwhelmed with expectations, burn-out, or fear of the future. Perhaps your rambunctious toddlers are now wayward teenagers. Maybe you’re coping with an angry husband, loss of a job, or the extreme challenges of single-parenting. Through all of these difficulties, trials, and fears Jesus has a message for you.
Come and Rest.
Because God works in unexpected ways through ordinary people to display His grace, you can come to Him and rest. Really.
In the first century A.D., the everyday Jew was weighed down by an unbelievably long list of unrealistic rules and expectations enforced by the Pharisees. So through the haze and sweat and fear, Jesus the Christ announced healing, hope, and rest in the grace of salvation through Him alone. Here is Jesus’ message:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
God promises rest for all who come to the Son. Because Jesus has finished the work, won the battle, and fought the fight, we can rest and hope and enjoy life again – in Him. But what does this mean for everyday moms? You don’t have to be superwoman because your life is sourced in the life of the supreme King, Jesus Christ.
The unrealistic expectations placed on women today to perform as the super-woman-super-mom are built around the belief that to be successful in this world is to be happy in this world. But that belief is a “master” who will never be satisfied and never fully happy. You will never do enough to satisfy the “master” of success or happiness. But Jesus is the Master who is gentle and humble. He bears our burdens with us. He brings us to the end of ourselves to do through us what we could never accomplish on our own. He is the Master who gives real healing, hope, and rest.
So Jesus beckons to everyday moms:
- Receive Healing from the sores of carrying the burden on your own.
- Take Hope in God when you’re overwhelmed by the fear of never being perfect enough.
- Find Rest from the labor of doing what only God can do.
God will always accomplish His plan to the display of His glorious grace, especially through everyday moms – not superwomen. Receive healing. Take hope. Find rest.
To Every Mom…
…struggling with dirty diapers and a messy kitchen, God offers His presence
…coping with a wayward child, God offers hope
…dealing with physical burnout, God offers rest
…grieving the loss of children through miscarriage, God offers comfort
…groping through emotional depression, God offers strength
…grappling with single-parenting, God offers community with His people
…worrying about not doing enough, God says Jesus Christ is enough
…battling against fear of the future, God provides peace in the chaos.
So moms, mothers, grandmothers… right now you may feel overwhelmed, inadequate, frazzled, and afraid, but know that God is working out His plan and He is King. God displays His extraordinary grace through the lives of ordinary and often very messed up people. And He just might be doing the same through you.
Have a joy-filled Mother’s Day.
Click on the play button below or subscribe to our iTunes podcast channel to hear my full message from Matthew 1.1-16; 11:28-30 (“Everyday Moms in a Superwoman World”), delivered on Sunday morning, May, 10, 2015 at North Park Baptist Church of Grand Rapids.