MaryBeth Eberhard considers how comparing our lives robs us of the beauty of the suffering moment.
I’m wishing upon a star tonight. Leaning on the edge of my deck looking into the bright country sky where God displays His artistry, I sense His presence. Perhaps it’s not a star I’m wishing on, but rather a door I’m knocking upon. I often do that in prayer. I visualize my encounter with God.
Tonight I’m knocking. It’s an unexpected visit. I hadn’t intended to go out in the crisp night air and pray but just as I suddenly break into conversation with my husband, I feel the need to just start conversing with my Lord.
Today has been a full day. Every person within this large family of mine has needed me in big and small ways. From drinks of water to close the door and can I talk to you serious conversations, the onslaught of need was intense today and all the while I felt as if I couldn’t keep up.
For me as a mom of many and adding in the special needs of my family, life is very fast-paced and fluid. We have physical, occupational, assistive technology and aqua therapy. We have speech and sensory. We have counseling, and durable medical equipment appointments. I am constantly checking skin breakdown and bones are brittle around here. I am Chief Operating Officer of Eberhard Inc. and it can be a daunting job indeed. When you add in the schoolwork, outside activities and our commitment to place our church activities first, one outburst or unplanned trip to Urgent Care has the potential to throw the day into a tailspin.
My younger son recently broke his arm and the turn around time to the car was less than 7 minutes. My kids know this drill and executed the plan flawlessly. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to wallow in the what ifs. It’s ever so much harder to accept what is and take the next step forward.
A friend once referred to this danger zone of comparison as the Land of “If Only.” If only I had a smaller family. If only I didn’t have kids with special needs. If only we had this or that. Comparison is the thief of joy, said Teddy Roosevelt, and I wholeheartedly agree. The slippery slope of comparing our lives to the lives of anyone else robs us of the beauty of the suffering moment.
Some of my most powerful encounters with Jesus are in my suffering and surrendered moments, on my knees in my room by my crucifix or kneeling in front of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by our family altar. This is where Jesus heals me constantly. He heals my feelings of inadequacy. He heals my self doubt. He fills my heart with His grace like I fill my car with fuel.
I am so gifted to know who I am and whose I am. My creator and redeemer stand by my side with every breath and are from that realization I draw my strength. God promises us enough manna for today, and from that truth we need to draw our strength and comfort. In our home, when momma looks overwhelmed and maybe a little teary eyed, actually if anyone in our family feels this way, we call them moments. If you are overwhelmed, have lost your self-control, or made the wrong choice, it is just a moment. Our days are filled with moments, good and bad. Let our hearts be led by mercy, for others and for ourselves.
Traveling to the Land of “If Only” is not a mental vacation spot I advise. Instead, I draw strength from the realization that as a mom of this incredible family of mine, God has revealed His plan for my path to heaven. I am sanctified in every “moment” by my “Yes Lord!” and my “More, Lord” (Both of which some of my children now call out loudly when things go a bit haywire ... I think they are a wee bit mocking me, but we plant seeds as parents, right?)
These are our fiats and the consistent reminder that by disciplining our minds and hearts to live in The Land That Is and see its transformative beauty, we can enter the gates of What Will Be with trusting hearts and the assurance of hearing the beautiful affirmation from Mathew 25:23: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Copyright 2020 MaryBeth Eberhard
Image: Jonathan Borba (2019), Pexels
About the Author
MaryBeth Eberhard spends most of her time laughing as she and her husband of 22 years parent and school their eight children. She has both a biological son and an adopted daughter who have a rare neuromuscular condition called arthrogryposis and writes frequently about the life experiences of a large family and special needs. You can read more of her work at MaryBethEberhard.com.