Survival mode. It seems to be the modus operandi of motherhood. The constancy of need and demand, the pitting of wills, of character training and potty training. Of school runs and school holidays. Meals required. Every. Single. Day. The relentless barrage of laundry and holding back the tide of utter lego anarchy. The tenuous excitement of the promise of a few moments of nap-time to actually achieve something on the ‘to-do’ list, giving way to your own sheer exhaustion. You wonder whether the deep yearning to use the bathroom alone will ever be realised, let alone stringing together coherent thoughts.
Then you have those epic Johnson & Johnson commercial moments, when you would just die not to hold that child in your arms, where you feel the core of your being completely and eternally ruined with love. You peek in on that sleeping baby and gaze into that angelic face, your memory entirely erased of the screaming banshee that interrupted your deepest sleep the night before. You watch as they get their tongue completely twisted around a big word and you could just melt with the cuteness of their new addition to their vocabulary. They master skills and make friends and begin to make their mark on the world. Before you know it, you’re watching them at the bottom of an aisle, waiting for their bride and just about bursting with pride. And wondering how on earth you got here so quickly.
Survival mode. It’s astonishing what you actually achieve in all that surviving. For all that treading-of-water parenting that you know you’re doing, with no clue when you might feel the bottom of the pool again, somehow we get there. I’ve been reflecting on my 23 years of ‘surviving’ and realising that there’s been plenty of thriving going on as well. I’ve been marvelling at the goodness of God that He’s actually been championing me this whole time, wanting and willing me to succeed.
Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” What a faithful God that He would provide a will and a way for me to succeed!
So I recall those deep surrender-sighs that had me acknowledging my need for Him. And His example of selfless sacrifice. And the model of a perfect Father. And the precious gift of the Holy Spirit who continually empowers me and produces Heaven fruit in me. And how often I would have to cast myself on His grace and mercy to forgive my own poor form and help me be better tomorrow. And I realise that He has never failed me in all these years.
Perhaps my modus operandi is really just one that has learned to trust that God has got this. He’s got me. He’s got my family. He is my modus operandi. And it’s working out pretty fantastic after all.