By Heather O.
The other day I had a desperate mother moment. You all know the kind I mean. The kind when you honestly think, “I can not do this. I can not do this. I can not do this. I need help.” Usually, I stink at calling people for help, meaning that I never, never do it. This time, as I sat in my misery and pain, for the first time in my life, I prayed for a name of somebody I could call to help me. I knew DH was unavailable, so I needed somebody else. Having grown up on the Ensign and Sacrament meeting stories alike, I imagined my VT would show up at that moment, or something equally miraculous would happen at this moment of need. Not only did I imagine it, I actually fully expected it.
I prayed again, fervently, whispering that I couldn’t do it anymore, that I needed some help.
Again, nothing happened.
I felt myself getting a little bit angry (’cause you know, I’m such an emotionally stable gal normally), and thought, Hey, cut me a break! I just need a little help. Who can I call? Who is available? Of all the countless people who have ever said to me, “If you need anything, let me know!”, whose favor can I call in?
Again, nothing. I felt completely and utterly alone, and I finally realized that this was it. This was my answer. No one was coming, no one to save me. I had to figure out how to get through it myself.
So I started praying for something different. I started praying for strength for myself. And somehow, I knew then that I was not alone, and somehow, we got through it.
Our church is a church of service. We talk about it, we preach about it, and most of us, I think, try to practice it. I love giving service, when I can, and frankly, I love receiving it, especially when I didn’t ask for it, which we’ve already established I suck at. Service strengthens our faith, it gives us a sense of life beyond ourselves, it bonds us to the ones we serve.
But often, I think God requires that we go things alone.
How else can we learn to completely rely on Him? How else can we build our faith in His power? Also, how else can we be forced to turn inward and pull something out of ourselves that we never knew was there, and probably would never have found otherwise? How else would we know what it truly means to ‘endure to the end’?
I think motherhood can sometimes be very lonely. Has anybody else felt that way? There is a paragraph in the book _Expecting Adam_ that has always resonated with me.
One of the great myths of our society is that when women are left with small children, they are not alone. The truth is that a mother left with babies is far more alone than she would be without them; every bit of energy, attention, protectiveness, and care she might use to meet her own needs must first be directed toward the needs of her children. That’s why the Bible always laments the fate of “those who are with child and those who give suck” in the middle of war and disaster. The authors of the Good Book knew perfectly well that a woman alone can fun, fight, hide, but a woman with babies is toast.
Think what you will of Martha Beck, you have to give her this. She has a way with words.
And yet, as lonely as it is, I’m not sure there is any other way to do it, to make us in the people and parents that God wants us to be. Sure, you can have sitters and daycare and friends and family, but at the end of the day, you are still the mom. You are the one who has to figure out how to get through it. And there will always be some times when all that help is unavailable, and it’s just you, your kids, and God. Those are the times that try our souls, and those are the times when we have to turn to God to make sure we don’t come up short. Or at the very least, we have to turn to Him to make sure we come up at all.
Any other thoughts on motherhood and loneliness, strength and building faith through simple endurance?