I have often heard mothers of adoptees say one of the weirdest comments people make to them is, “Oh, I could never do that! You are amazing!”
It is strange to them because they do not see themselves as heroes, doing anything out of the ordinary. They are mothers. They are struggling. And they are amazing, but not for the reasons you think.
The same goes for foster parents. “I could never do that, it’s so hard!”
The same goes for working moms. “Wow, I can’t imagine. What a tough job!”
The same goes for stay-at-home moms. “Whew! I would go crazy. That is too much for me.”
People act like someone living a life different from her own is something impossible. As if the person called to that life is somehow special, a superpower, extra-human, and living with some alien-like strength they could never obtain or fathom.
It is not to say that the lives we lead are not difficult, nor that we are not worthy of some kind of acknowledgment of our hard work. The strange thing about it is that we are not heroes. We are not super strong. We are blessed and gifted and strengthened by our Lord.
One of the most commonly misquoted verses in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 10:13. People often summarize the passage and tell you, with a good heart, in a time of need, “Don’t worry, God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
It’s nice, but that is not what the verse says, or even what the verse means. What people are trying to say is that you, on your own strength, can and will get through this storm.
I know people are trying to be nice, but it is wrong. It is the opposite of the truth. God will give us and allow us to be subjected to more than we can handle. It happens all the time. And it doesn’t mean we are weak (although we are), it means even the strongest can’t do it on her own. That’s the whole point.
When we are weak, he is strong. We would never lean on his strength unless we were given more than we can handle.
Isaiah 40:29 says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…”
Exodus 15:2 says, “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
So are moms of all kinds and lifestyles probably trying their darndest and working really hard? Yes. Are they heroes for that hard work? Yes. But are they doing on their own? I hope not. We can’t. We will fail. I will and do fail. It is only by God’s grace he can patch together any good out of my shortcomings. It is only by God’s strength that I can endure the storms. When I feel like I can’t do it anymore, when I am doing much more harm than good, the Lord gives me peace. He reminds me that it is not me. It is a shower of mercy.
I could never do that. I think to myself.
No, you can’t. The Lord whispers. I can.
–D. E. Barbi Bee