We talked last week at Bible study about depending on the word of God. And while I must say I barely paid any attention, due to the fact that I spent half the time rocking my baby and the other half feeding her, plus I was sitting in the back (also due to the baby), which I’ve realized is a death sentence for my attention span (no this sentence isn’t over yet), it did get me thinking about something I started to pray for in anticipation of the new baby.
As a mother, my children are completely dependent on me. And as a mother, as well as a Christian, it is my job to lay down my life for them, to give them everything I have, every day. As a human, that job is nearly impossible. It takes everything out of me.
Often, by the end of the day (who am I kidding, it’s every day), I’m spent. When Marshall gets home, he’s lucky to get a hello from me, let alone a hug or a kiss or a “how was your day?” Most of the time I have a list of things he can do to help me, to lighten my load. I depend so heavily on Marshall when I’m exhausted, when my children are taking everything out of me. I want him to pick up the slack. I want him to give me rest. And then, on my time, even though I’ve ignored and taken advantage of him, I want him to love me and make me feel better.
All of a sudden one day I realized that if I am going to survive being a mother to two young children, and if my marriage is going to survive it, I have to stop depending on my husband to fill me back up when I’ve given everything to my children. That’s not his job, and he’s not capable of bearing that burden.
I have to depend on God first, before leaning on anyone else. He, and only He, can fully carry my burdens. I can’t just give whatever I have inside of me to everyone else, hoping the next morning I’ll wake up with more to give. I need to go to God first, have Him fill me up, and let that overflow onto those around me. And at the end of the day, when I’m empty again, I must turn once more to Him.
25 My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart! (Psalm 119)
I don’t know why, but I love the first line here. “My soul clings to the dust.” I don’t know what it really means in context (cue Marshall’s theological exegesis of the passage), but all it does for me is bring this vivid image to mind of someone (me) lying on the ground, clawing at the dust, unable to rise up, hoping beyond hope that the dust that is falling through their fingers will help them. Without God, that’s all we can do.
But we don’t have to stay there, because He can give us life, according to his word.
In order NOT to be overly dependent on others, I MUST be fully and utterly dependent on Jesus. If I don’t cling to Him first, I will claw at everyone else around me until they are dragged down into the dust with me. I want to be able to give of myself, I want to die to myself every day not only to my children, but to my husband, my family, my friends, to everyone around me. And before I do that, I have to give myself to Jesus and be strengthened according to his word. He is the only one who can give me the strength I need to love them the way I am called to love them.
My husband is probably reading this thinking “Wow, coulda fooled me!” So don’t get me wrong, this is not something I have mastered, or even successfully attempted. Frankly I haven’t even been praying about it much recently, it just came back up last week. I think this is one of the hardest things for us as Christians to do, to seek God first in the day-to-day, every day. But as the psalmist tells us, this is what gives us life and what strengthens us the way nothing else will, so we have to keep at it, day after day, every day.