Truthfully, I could relate to the writer of this chapter. I, too, have "those" boys. They have ALWAYS been incredibly active. Truthfully, I never wanted to discipline that out of them. I know other moms and family members thought I should, but they learned so much because they were curious and active. And their little personalities were so vibrant. I just couldn't discipline the activity out of them. I did feel embarrassed sometimes by their antics. I did get angry out of that embarrassment. I did feel like the writer in today's chapter. But now, at 15 and 13, I'm so glad I didn't discipline the activity and curiosity out of our boys. They are gregarious, interested, and hysterically funny. Most days, they are a total joy to be around. So my advice to this broken mama of highly active baby boys is, "Hang in there!" "It DOES get better!" "Let them be who God made them to be."
As I continued to read through the chapter, I thought about a time before children. I was in a bathroom stall at a job I didn't enjoy. We were hoping to get pregnant and that didn't seem to be happening. I was concerned about LOTS of areas in our lives and the lives of family and friends. So I took all my burdens to the bathroom. I sat in the stall crying out to God about all my burdens, when I felt His voice in my heart saying, "Trade Ya'!" My heart took me to Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV):
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.He wanted to take my burdens and give me His because His was light.
How many times have you held your son or daughter's literal burdens? I learned early to bring an empty tote bag with me whenever we go out for any amount of time. Our boys always accumulate things: neat rocks, bottle caps, papers, you name it. All those treasures are handed to me with a "Mommy, will you hold this?" I gladly take their burdens so they can continue to seek more treasure.
And that's why God wants to take our burdens...so we can seek more treasure. Our burdens weigh us down. Our burdens make our steps heavier and keep our eyes from seeking the joy in life. But the Lord wants them. He wants to take our burdens. The burden He gives us in exchange is full of Joy, Beauty, and Praise (Isaiah 61:3). Now that's a burden I want to carry.
In our chapter today, the writer encourages us to embrace and admit our weakness. As our boys rapidly approach college and career age, my weakness is HUGE! Oh, Lord, how can I ever prepare them for all they will face in this cruel, competitive world? Oh, Lord, when will You reveal your plan for them? Oh, Lord, what can I do to keep them pure in this vile society? Oh Lord...I am weak. Oh Lord...I don't know what to do. Oh Lord... I think sometimes we think that these cries end as the children age. They don't end. They just change. As toddlers, I cried out for their physical lives. Much later in life I am crying out for their spiritual lives, but there is still the concern for their physical safety. I am not equipped for this. I can't keep them safe. I can't sit beside them and encourage right choices. I am a clay vessel. And God knows it.
So, He trades me because His burden is light. He gives me beauty for the ashes in my burden. He gives me the oil of Joy for my mourning. He gives me a garment made of praise in His burden, for my spirit of heaviness in mine. And His burden doesn't weigh a thing!
And now, let's trade a bit of encouragement and prayer here today. How can we share each other's burdens? Is there weakness you need to admit? How can I pray for you? Let's talk!