By Erin Mullen
What matters most?
Is there truly one answer to that question?
As a mom, I feel that I could make an endless list of things that matter most. Everything must be done. Now. Immediately. And with perfection. Prioritizing the things I do and how I spend my time would be practically impossible. Everything remains urgent. Plural. Fluid. Mounding.
You see, this season of life has me doing a lot of thinking. To be honest, this season of life has only just begun to rise out of a very dark place and into a place of stability. I did not realize that I had allowed myself to tail spin into a pit and I certainly began to sound a lot like King Solomon.
I observed everything going on under the sun,
and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.
Ecclesiastes 1:14 AMP
All the tasks of motherhood became futile and worthless. I found myself bluntly putting all my cards on the table:
I never wanted to grow up and be a house cleaner.
A maid. A babysitter. A cook. A dishwasher. A chauffer. An accountant…..
You get the point.
I felt like I was waking up everyday to do all the things I hated and never wanted.
I went searching for new hobbies, new talents. I attempted to start things that I thought would bring purpose to who I was as an individual. Nothing filled the void.
In God’s providence, He shut each door. He was gentle with me, but I hit rock bottom hard. It took me awhile to see where I had landed. It was not a good place. Isolated. Hopeless. Apathetic. Empty.
I had lost my North. My hardwiring was twisted and misfiring.
There were days my internal voice was a broken record that persisted, “I’m sad….I’m sad….I’m sad…I’m. Sad.”
At that point, what mattered most was surviving one day at a time, but the cluttered house, mounding laundry, and needy children made surviving…well, overwhelming.
I was needed, but I was paralyzed and dried up.
The Lord, in His great mercy, placed stepping-stones in my path. Looking back He was active. Present. Gentle. First, He gave me a podcast where I got to hear Tommy Nelson’s testimony of his struggle with depression. In it he mentioned his book, Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowning, and Charles H. Spurgeon’s, Evening and Morning. Two day shipping and the reading began.
Next, He gave me the strength to be honest and reach out. I knew that bringing my situation into the Light and through the support and prayer of the Body of Christ, mentors, and, yes, even a therapist, I believed the grip that had left me weary and void would lose it’s power.
I also began reading through Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings. I struggled to clear the fog around what the Lord would prioritize and what He would bring to an end. I wanted detailed application. Steps to take. Answers. Many of Cloud’s statements left me circling back: “Accept that life produces too much life,” “Pain by its nature is a signal that something is wrong, and action is required,” and “You are going to have to be in the letting-go phase all through life.”
I even did as he encouraged, “write down the things you cannot control that are affecting you” and “the things you do have control over.”
I filled a page.
When I sat back and compared my list, the list of things I could control was straight-forward and even gave hope for a peaceful family life.
Not very many days later, while listening to a sermon by Matt Mason, the Spirit spoke, bringing clarity and truth. It was like my list of “things I can control” had the life-giving Gospel breathed into it.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
The overwhelming aspects of my life had been my focus. I had let routine and results define my reality. I was seeking out the wrong things and left the uncontrollable in charge of my well being.
We have a world (even a Christian culture) that is saying “Girl, pick yourself up” …“Girl, all you need is you”… “Girl, you can have it all.” But my willpower, resolve, dreams, and talents could not lift me out of the pit I found myself. If those things were the answers, then there would not have been a need for Jesus.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
Dear Momma, “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). What matters most should point us back to the eternal reality that seeking God brings us all we need in this life and the life to come. If you have lost your way, He is near. If you are empty, He brings abundance. If you want to just give up, He will never let you go. He is holding on.
Listen below to King of My Heart by Sarah McMillan. It speaks to me every time.
Erin Mullen is the wife of her college sweetheart, James, and the mother of three beautiful and energetic preschoolers, Addison, Levi, and London. She is a stay-at-home mom who is daily walking through the ups and downs of discipling her children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. She has taught violin for 11 years, led small groups in her church’s women’s ministry, served on the leadership team for her church’s satellite campus, and played weekly in the worship band. Most people do not know that she is also a very talented and creative wedding florist and photographer. She and her family have recently relocated from Memphis, TN to Birmingham, AL where they are working through what life in a new city brings. One of the things she looks forward to the most about being in a new city is the opportunity to disciple a new group of ladies through chronological Bible study. She experiences no greater joy than digging in and processing through the depth God's Word brings to a believer's life.