April 25, 2016
The Treasures God Longs to Give a Mom
“And I will give you a new heart — I will give you new and right desires — and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love.” Ezekiel 36:26 (TLB)
“I don’t even know who I am anymore,” my friend moaned as we sat side-by-side on a park bench at the end of a long summer’s day. “It’s like these kids are stripping away the old me, and I just feel hollow inside.”
She jostled the baby on her lap and dabbed the tears streaking toward her chin. Then she turned her head to gaze at our crew in the sandbox.
“We’re gonna make the biggest hole ever!” exclaimed one of our preschoolers, as he plunged his chubby fist into the gritty grains. The other kids echoed his enthusiasm and dropped to their knees to dig.
My friend stared at the cavern in the sand, and my stomach churned with empathy. I pulled my friend into a one-armed hug and tried to formulate a comforting response. But my thoughts were quickly interrupted by a squeamish squeal.
“Eowww! There’s garbage in here!” My daughter waved a dirty drinking straw in the air and flung it over her shoulder.
Sure enough, the deeper the kids dug, the more debris they discovered. Their gritty fingers unearthed soggy brown leaves and grimy grey rocks, twisted twigs and long-forgotten gum wrappers.
And that’s when I realized that my experience of motherhood has been a bit like a dirty sandbox dig. Simply put, motherhood is an unspoken invitation for God to excavate our souls.
I never knew what lurked in the depths of me until I became a mother.
I didn't realize the expanse of my own impatience; I wasn’t aware of the parameters of my pride. I didn’t recognize the breadth of my selfish ambition or the width of my weakness, until God asked me to lay down my life for the children He’d entrusted into my care.
Let’s face it … kids expose our hearts on a whole new level. And in His infinite wisdom, God our Maker uses the daily demands of motherhood to excavate the garbage in our souls.
Selfishness? It’s uprooted piece by painful piece each time we rise in the dark of night to feed a baby or comfort an anxious child. It’s unearthed every time we hold a bucket in front of a sick child, mop a muddy floor or tackle a tower of dirty laundry.
Perfectionism? It’s shaved sliver by sliver as we trade firm abs for stretch marks and spotless windows for smudgy handprints; as we stumble through grocery aisles with spit-up on our collars and wailing ones on our hips. It’s steadily shredded as we embrace our tweens’ goofy mannerisms and our toddlers’ peculiar fashion sense.
Pride? It’s uprooted every time we admit that we don’t have all the answers and we can’t do it all. It’s eradicated when we choose to listen rather than lecture, to compromise rather than control.
It’s humbling — this heart dig — and harrowing at times. It can leave a mama feeling insecure and confused, conflicted and strange.
But what if this soul excavation is more than just an identity crisis? What if it’s a holy hollowing?
Our key verse, Ezekiel 36:26, reminds us God is in the business of making things new — including our hearts. He’s committed to scooping out the impurities within us so we have room to house more of His Spirit, a greater portion of His love.
The process may be painful, but here’s the good news: When God empties us, He doesn’t leave us that way. He offers to fill our purged places with something new. God’s excavation is always intended for transformation.
The chasm in the sandbox resembled a moon crater, and the kids stood back to admire their work. Suddenly, eyes brightened. “Hey, that hole’s big enough to hold treasure now!” a little digger declared.
And in an instant, our scoopers turned into scavengers. They scattered across the park in a flurry of excitement and began to search for hidden treasure.
My friend shuffled the sleeping baby in her arms and flashed me a subtle smile. And as our kids filled that huge hole with playground pearls, I wondered if a mama’s soul excavation is just God’s merciful way of carving out more room in her heart for the treasures He longs to give her.
Dear God, do whatever it takes to make room in my heart for more of You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (NIV)
John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Invite God to reveal an “impurity” He’d like to extract from your life so He can grow more of His Spirit in you. Commit to cooperating with His holy hollowing today.
Ask God to show you someone who’s “empty” and needs encouragement and prayer this week.
© 2016 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 25 April 2016.