In the middle of the night; another feeding. Tears from a dramatic toddler. Peanut butter in curly hair. Spit-up down another shirt. Reflux screams. Selfish whimpers. Repeated instructions. Constant discipline. The kitchen is a mess. Again.
I live with a whirling tornado and a screaming banshee.
I love them. They're adorable. This job of mommyhood is amazing.
And sometimes completely disgusting, exhausting, and wearing.
There needs to be a word for "something I would never trade, that I prize greatly, and that exhausts me mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally."
Oh, wait... that word is "mommyhood."
As I waded into this adjustment period, I knew that fatigue, the possibility of physical illness, and spiritual dryness would attack me at every corner. I filled up my nights with prayer, my note cards with verses, and my Spotify with encouragement. And I got ready for the onslaught.
But a verse that I never planned on is the verse that God brought to mind...
It attacked me. It lodged itself in the crevices of my thinking and it wouldn't go away. We call that the "Holy Spirit."
This verse has become a mainstay. "What benefit" could easily be paraphrased, "So, explain to me how you look good if...?" On a daily basis, I'll ask myself:
"What benefit is it to me, if I'm patient when my child has done nothing wrong?"
"Explain to me how I look good, if I'm joyful after a full night's sleep?"
"What benefit is it to me, if I keep my temper when everything is going my way?"
What benefit is that to you?
The answer? None.
There is no glory gleaned for the Father. No self-discipline gained. No dying to selfishness accomplished.
You are not modeling Christ's love and God's mercy.
You're just acting like a reasonable human being. Congratulations, you're not a sociopath. Yippee.
So, when that peanut butter gets everywhere (seriously, how on earth does it get everywhere?), and the toddler disobeys again, and dinner isn't yummy, and the most you accomplished all day was folding one load of laundry (which said toddler enjoyed flinging around the room after it was folded)... do you smile when your hubby walks through the door? Do you cuddle the toddler and teach him "no" in a loving way? Is your voice sweet and your words sweeter?
Because that's when you make Him look good.
And that's when you're being true mercy in a world that desperately needs His love.