What’s in your bag?

We had a thought provoking speaker today at MOPS.  Christine Anderson joined us and talked about the burdens we carry.   She was open, raw, and honest about her own journey through motherhood and the burdens that she once carried.

She started by telling a horrifying and laugh inducing story about the mischief that her youngest boys got into one day.  It was the kind of story that every mom of preschoolers has lived at one time or another.  While the details may be different, the story is the same.  Children are amazingly adept at causing messes quickly.  It may be Legos flung all over a room or dog food being dumped in the dog’s water bowl, but the end result is the same.  As mom cleans one mess, another is in the works in the other room where the troublemakers are.   That’s how life in the preschool lane sometimes goes.  Most of the time, we moms can laugh about it later as we regale the tale.

But what if it is hard to find the funny in the life you’ve been dealt?  Do you put on a happy exterior and seethe inside?  Christine admitted that , while she has been a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, that was NOT her original plan.  About the last thing she wanted to do was be a stay-at-home mom.  She went to college, earned her degree, and planned out a future that involved children…as long as they went to daycare while she pursued her career.   Life didn’t work out according to plan.

She found herself as a stay-at-home mom in a new city, in a new state.  While she tried to put a good face on it, she said it was like she was carrying a pretty bag full of rocks.  Looks good on the outside but the inside was not so good.  Those rocks were the burdens she carried.  Anger, hurt, exhaustion, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, anxiety, unrealistic expectations….  She prided herself on being able to take care of herself.  She didn’t want to bother anyone with those burdens.  She could handle it.   So the burdens increased.  The rocks piled in and the weight of it all put pressure on her more and more.  Her family bore the brunt of her inability to carry her burdens.

All the while, she was volunteering at church and going to Bible study.  She was doing the “Christian thing” but it wasn’t changing the person she really was.  She knew that the real Christine was not Christ-like.  Then she had an epiphany of sorts.  She realized that she knew about God.  She knew many of the stories in the Bible about what God says he like.  However, she did not really believe them.   If she believed that God is in control, then she wouldn’t hold onto the burdens of disappointment and anger that her life took a wrong turn.   She would know that He had a plan for her life that was far better than anything she could plan herself.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

When Christine began to really believe the truths about Jesus, her bag of burdens began to empty.  She recognized that God doesn’t give us a bag of rocks.  We take on those on ourselves even if someone else hands them to us.  We take them on.  They wear us down and wear us out.  We cannot get our husbands, friends, or children to carry them for us.  We cannot even carry them ourselves.  Only Jesus can carry the load.  Only He can take on the burdens we carry.   All we have to do his take on the light burden he gives to us.  We need to believe in Him and trust in Him, not ourselves.  True freedom follows.

What rocks are in your pretty bag?  Do you need to meet the One who can carry your load?  His arms are open.  Find rest in Him.