Less Than Perfect Motherhood

Do You Ever Feel Like You Struggle To Be A Perfect Mother?

Tim Lundy
May 13, 2019    39m
As we celebrate Mother's Day, we recognize the struggles and challenges many mothers face, especially in a our society today. However, it is important to understand the real is not ideal in life. Instead, we can find hope and peace through five truths found in Scripture which we'll explore in today's message. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy (00:00):
Well, I want to say to all in this room and all who are watching online, Happy Mother's Day. I want to extend my personal greeting celebration to all moms. This is a day worth celebrating. It really is for all that moms do. You know, we've celebrated as a country for over a hundred years now. A hundred years ago, there was a woman named Anna Jarvis who loved her mom and at a memorial service for her mom, she gave out carnations to all the women there in recognition of her mom. And that trend started filtering across the country. And finally in 1914, Woodrow Wilson, president at the time, made a declaration of Mother's Day. Said always the second Sunday of May. And I just having been raised by a Godly mother, I'm so appreciative. Having a Godly wife who is a Godly mom in our home, I'm so appreciative. And so I think it is good. It is good today. Scripture calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice. And we want to rejoice over you moms. And so can we take a moment and just thank all of us who are appreciative for our moms or if you're currently a mom in your home? Yeah.

Tim Lundy (01:20):
I want to recognize in that as well, you know, there's two parts of that verse. It says rejoice with those who rejoice and also, weep with those who weep. Because Mother's Day can be a challenging day, especially when your reality doesn't match that ideal. It's kind of an ideal that's on the card, the ideal around it. And for a lot of people, that's not real for them. You know, I experienced that in several ways this last week, the realities of life and the hard part of motherhood. Thursday when we were at the funeral for my niece and I looked and saw her mother, Dana, young mom who's burying her second child, seven year old. Two years ago, she buried another daughter. And I'm so appreciative, I'm so thankful for your prayers for our family and travel. We were there for the funeral, participated in it and it was so good to be there. And we've seen God show up in amazing ways for Frazer and Dana and their daughter Ann Carlyle. In fact, Dana said, that day, she just felt like the arms of Jesus were around her all day and all around them as a family. She knows when she wakes up today, Mother's Day will never be the same.

Tim Lundy (02:40):
Experienced it a little bit differently the next day as I went to visit my mom who's now bedridden and dementia is robbing her memories. But it was a good day. She could remember much and it was good to visit. But it'll never be the same. And some you know what that's like. You've said goodbye to your mom or you've been through that long goodbye and the journey in it. There's others today that you wake up and you're a single parent and it's days like this that remind you it may be the most, that if you're going to be celebrated today, you probably need to be in charge of it.

Tim Lundy (03:22):
And the reality of that sinks in and that's hard. Some of you grieve a child that you've lost. Some of you grieve the child you wish you could have. We went almost nine years before we had our first child. And those were hard years, especially the years of infertility and the pain of Mother's Day that would come around every year. Today's a day to celebrate because moms need to be celebrated. But it's also day to weep, to connect with all in all seasons of life. And so I want to take a moment before we just even move in the message and just pray. Just pray for today. Pray for moms and pray for those who want to be moms and pray for those who miss their mom. Will you pray with me? Father, we do thank you. We thank you that you meet us in every season of life. We thank you that you call us to celebrate what is good. Motherhood is good. We want to rejoice today. I pray that moms who are serving, moms who give their lives away in so many ways would know today how much they're loved.

Tim Lundy (04:44):
Lord, you also meet us in the hard parts of life when the real is not ideal, when a day like this is filled with pain too. Lord, I pray that we would model what you do, that we would love well in both the highs and the lows. Lord, thank you that your Word speaks to us. It speaks to all of us. And so I pray even now you would speak through it, that you would use the stories from the past to help shape our stories and know that you were there. And we pray these things in Christ's name. Amen.

Tim Lundy (05:28):
Well, as we are in this series of No Perfect Family, I wrestled even today about looking at the topic of speaking to moms. And you know, I speak a lot to men. I do men's fraternity, man to man, different things. And so that's more my wheelhouse. But I thought it'd be good today to as we've been looking at these stories of just the reality of life. And the more I started walking through this story in particular, I realized each of the truths from it don't just apply to women. Now I want to try to make it a point to really apply specific things to mom today. But as you look in your notes there, I've got five truths for mothers and others. And I'm one of those others because every one of these truths applied to my life. In fact, we've been looking at these stories of real families, and I want you to, if you've got your Bibles, you can turn to Genesis 16. Story of a mom and her real is not ideal. This is a poor, young woman who finds herself in a really hard situation.

Tim Lundy (06:35):
Genesis 16, we're back in the story of that family of Abraham. I highlighted it for a moment last week, how Abraham and Sarah had been promised a child and promised that the world would be blessed through them, not just a child, but multitudes that would come. But it was taking a long time. God was patient in the process. And so along the way, Sarah comes up with an idea, Abram's wife and she says, I want you to sleep with my handmaiden, Hagar. And then if she gets pregnant, we can have the child through Hagar. Just a terrible idea. The worst of ideas. An idea that had ramifications till this day. But he does it. And Hagar, this servant, gets pregnant and she thinks for a moment, maybe my lot in life is now improving. I'm going to have the child. And in fact, she starts looking down on Sarah. And Sarah feels it. And in that moment, she's jealous and she starts mistreating Hagar. And Hagar in an act of desperation, she runs. She just runs out into the desert.

Tim Lundy (07:57):
Read with me, starting in verse 16 or verse 7 actually. The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness. The spring on the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going? She said, I'm fleeing from my mistress, Sarai. Now look at this. The angel of the Lord. This is a term, when God showed up in the Old Testament, before Jesus came and took on an incarnate body, remember God was spirit and is spirit. And so when God would show up, He take on the form. And this term, the angel of the Lord is the pre-incarnate God who would show up and speak and interact. And I love this fact that here's Hagar. She's not a part of the original plan.

Tim Lundy (08:52):
Remember the original plan is it's going to be Isaac. It's going to be Sarah. The whole concept of what they did was a mistake of epic proportions. It'd be easy to just kind of relegate her to the side note of what shouldn't have been. And so now she's out of the story. She's gone. Good. Good riddance. But that's not how God sees her. She's out in the desert and God goes and finds her. And I love how He approaches her. Notice what He does in it. He asks her questions. Now, remember God's omniscient. He knows everything. So when He's asking a question, it's not like He's coming and going, hey, Hagar, where are you coming from? Hey, where are you headed to? He knows the answer.

Tim Lundy (09:41):
In fact, when God asks questions, it's not for His sake, guys. It's always for our sake. If you read through the Bible, it's interesting how many times that's God's approach, to ask a question. Instead of just showing up and telling her, Hagar, you just need to get back there. Stop this. He approached her gently and says, hey, Hagar, where are you coming from and where are you going? And she says, oh, well, I'm coming from an abusive situation. Notice she doesn't have an answer for where she's going because she doesn't know where she's going. You know, when you hit these hard parts of life, it's good to stop and listen. And I've found in my own life, especially to listen when God's using questions in my life.

Tim Lundy (10:32):
Here's a point I would say out of it. The point is turn to God help you understand the questions of your heart. Turn to God to help you understand the questions of your heart. I can't tell you how many times when I finally get still with God in prayer or different times that God will intervene in my life and questions will come up. Sometimes God asks me, why are you so frustrated? Seems like that's happening a lot. What's going on there? Why does that person bug you so much? And I'm quick to go, well, but let me tell you all the reasons they bug me. But as I sit with God, I start realizing, oh, it really is not about them. It's really not about the situation. Sometimes God will ask me, what are you afraid of? And I always try to man up with Him a little bit. I'm not afraid. I'm just stressed. I'm just this. I don't want to call it anything but what it really is.

Tim Lundy (11:39):
And God in his gentleness says, what are you afraid of? What's the worst that's going to happen here? I would encourage you in your prayer life, learning to just sit still with Him, to listen. Because when God asks, it's not that He doesn't know the answer. It's that I don't know the answer. You don't know the answer. And He helps us discover it. I'd say especially for moms, there's a lot of questions that come in motherhood. In fact, one mother said it this way. She said before I was married, I had three theories about raising children. She says, now I have three children and no theories. And you look at all that is placed on moms and women today. It's unbelievable. The expectations that are so high, that you have to conquer in all arenas now. You got to conquer as a woman, you got to conquer at work, you got to conquer as a mother. And all of it, it just stretches you beyond what anyone could do.

Tim Lundy (12:58):
And then those questions that start gnawing at your heart, the ones that aren't from God, the ones that come out of your own fear of am I a good mother? Am I screwing up these children? Is this my fault? Can I do this? I would just encourage all of us, no matter your season, whether you're a mother or father, single, wherever you are, I would encourage you, take your questions to God. He's the safest place to actually process the questions of the heart. It's interesting. We want to pull back from Him when He is actually the one who knows your heart better than anyone else. And learning to just sit with Him, to listen to Him, to listen when He asks and to listen when He tells. Because at times He will speak into it and say, hey, I'm going to tell you the answer in this.

Tim Lundy (14:02):
He does it with Hagar. Look in this passage as it continues on. The angel of the Lord said to her, return to your mistress and submit to her. The angel of the Lord also said to her, I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for the multitude. Two parts of this. The first part is really hard to hear. It's not what she wanted to hear. You need to go back. You're not going to make it out here. In fact, when you go back, you actually have to, and nobody likes this word, you have to submit. You got to submit to somebody you don't want to submit to. Look at the promise though. Hey, I'm going to take care of you. I'll multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered. The very promise that had been given to Isaac that there would be this multitude is now going to come to your child too.

Tim Lundy (15:08):
I'd encourage, and here's the principle in it. All of us have to trust in God with where He's placed you in life. You got to trust God where He's placed you right now. And even as I say that, hear me, I am not saying just accept it. That's your lot in life. You're stuck where you are. You're not stuck. But sometimes He asks us to stay, to stay in a season we don't want to stay in. To stay in a season as a parent or as a mother that's hard, that's stretching you, that costs something. To stay in a season of singleness longer than you desire. To stay in a season where you don't have a baby yet and you don't understand why. But you're there. And as you do that, hear me, don't ever stop telling Him the desires of your heart. Don't ever stop laying that before Him. He invites that. But as you pray, there's certain parts you cannot control and I cannot control. And while He has me in that season, I lay out my requests. But as I do so, I do it like Jesus did. Remember what Jesus said? He said, Father, here's what I want. But not my will, your will.

Tim Lundy (16:33):
I'm going to trust you in this time. I'm going to look to you in this time. I'm going to believe that you can work even in this season. And as you do so, sometimes God shows up in amazing ways and gives you the desires of your heart. But even if He doesn't do that, here's what you'll find in it. He reveals Himself through it and He reveals you through it and you grow through it. Look what God reveals to Hagar in it as the verse continues. I love her response. So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, you are a God of seeing. And she said, truly here I have seen Him who looks after me. This is one of my favorite verses. You got to remember, this is very early on in God's interaction with humanity. He's revealing Himself. They didn't have the Bible. They didn't have what we have.

Tim Lundy (17:33):
And so each part of the revelation was an amazing thing. And one of the greatest ways that God revealed Himself was through his names. In fact, if you've ever studied the names of God, you learn so much about His character. This is a name of God. It's not been revealed before. Actually, what she says is you are a God of seeing. It's Elroy is what it says in the Hebrew. Elroy, the God who sees . You're the God who's actually noticed me. The God who actually cares about me. And I think it's so important in this amazing verse and here's a principle I would say for each of us. Look to God knowing that He actually sees you. He sees where you are. He sees what's going on. He actually pays attention to your situation. You know, as a mom, I think sometimes as men, we forget how much a mother sacrifices in a home. And sometimes it's just the sacrifice of herself, even her identity.

Tim Lundy (18:45):
I was reading an essay by Nicole Johnson. Listen to part of it. I love the title of it. She says I am invisible. That's how she feels in the home. She writes, it all began to make sense. The blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, can't you see I am on the phone? Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone or cooking or sweeping the floor or even standing on my head in the corner because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. Some days I'm only a pair of hands. Nothing more. Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands. I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask what time is it? I'm a satellite god to answer what number is the Disney channel? I'm a car to order right around 5:30 please. I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated. But now they had all disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

Tim Lundy (20:04):
She's going, she's going, she's gone. You ever feel like that as a mom? You ever feel like just part of me disappeared? Who was that person that used to conquer the world? And now I've got a thousand things that I just can't stay on top of. You ever feel that? All of us. Where you go does anybody know notice what's going on? As a single person who goes home alone and cooks alone and cleans the house for yourself and you look up and you go, does anybody notice this? As a dad who's trying to sacrifice, as a grandparent or an empty nester who looks up and goes, man, what happened to our house? God sees. He sees every single day. Now I know when I say that, for some of you, you go, Tim, that is not comforting me. Because He sees all the junk and He sees what a lousy job I'm doing and He sees how many times I lose my temper with the kids and He sees how many times I'm ready to pitch it off and pitch it all and just run. He sees.

Tim Lundy (21:31):
Even when I say that, some of us, we have this thought of God that He's always looking and here's His expression. Mmm, Mmm. Oh, saw that. Let's write that down. You know, there's a great verse in Numbers. It's a great verse because if you look in the context, God comes to Moses and He says, I want Aaron to pray this over the people. Not because they're such great people. Not because they've succeeded in so many ways. But they need to hear this about His character. Look at this blessing from Numbers. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Look at the parts of it. Now go back to the verse again if we can go back to Numbers. Look at the parts of it. The Lord bless you and keep you. This phrase here, make His face shine upon you. That literally means in the Hebrew to give you His attention, to just you feel the attention of His face.

Tim Lundy (22:45):
You ever been in a conversation with somebody when they're always looking past you? You're kind of like, they don't really want to talk to me. You ever done it as a parent? I remember one time I was reading the paper in the morning. One of the boys who was a little guy. He was about three years old and he was trying to tell me something. He's like dad, dad. And I was like, yeah, yeah, go ahead. Finally, he grabbed the paper and he pulled it down. Put both hands on his face and he goes, show me your face. I want your attention. God says you have my attention. And then I love the second half of that. He says, may the Lord lift up His countenance. You know what that phrase actually means? Smile. That when He sees you, here's His expression. It's not hmm. It's ah, I'm so glad to see you. Do you believe God smiles at you? Do you believe that God, He looks and He knows and He sees and when He sees, He smiles?

Tim Lundy (23:55):
And I know even when I say that, the immediate place in my heart is to go, yeah, but I give Him a lot of reasons not to smile. I do a lot of things that are not smile worthy. Maybe you feel that. And I would say, of course we do. But here's the beauty of the Gospel. This is why it's so important to have a relationship with God through Christ. See, because I relate to the Father through Christ, because I believe Christ died for me, He rose for me, in that moment, my relationship with God changed. And He doesn't just see me as me. He always looks at me through Christ and Jesus gives Him a lot of reasons to smile. And so each of us that's a child of Christ, if you don't have that relationship, that's why I'm encouraging you. You need to come to Him and receive that so that you can feel, feel the face of God upon you, feel the attention of God upon you and feel the smile of God upon you. And those of you who are His kids, embrace the reality. He's not frowning at you. He's not down on you. He's not forgotten you. He smiles at you. He's thrilled about you. He knows, He sees, He cares.

Tim Lundy (25:35):
Now I wish I could say in this story, everything's fixed. After this moment, Hagar goes back and Sarah looks at her and says, Hagar, come here. I shouldn't have treated you that way and gives her a hug and nurtures her and takes care of her. But that's not how the story goes. That's usually not how life goes. Hagar went back. Sarah still resented her. Hagar has her son, Ishmael. Thirteen years later, Isaac is born. And once Isaac is born, Sarah looks at Hagar and Ishmael and says, I don't want that boy anywhere around my son and tells Abrams, send them out, get rid of them, be done with them. And God assures Abram, I'll take care of them. But in another hard day, Hagar finds herself back in the desert. And now she's with a 13-year-old son and she's preparing to die.

Tim Lundy (26:42):
In fact, you look over in Genesis 21, in the next passage here in Genesis 21, she went and she sat down opposite her son, Ishmael, a good way off, about a distance of a bowshot, for she said, let me not look on the death of the child. And as she sat opposite him, she lifted her voice and wept. It continues on in the passage. And God heard the voice of the boy. I love this phrase. Heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar from Heaven and said to her, what troubles you Hagar. Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up. Lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation. Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Tim Lundy (27:42):
I love this verse because look at the picture again. They're out and they're in the desert and they're about to die. And God looks down and He goes, Hagar, I didn't just hear your voice. I heard his voice too. Here's what I love about this picture that you get in it. Ishmael and Hagar, they were never supposed to be part of the story. Abraham and Sarah were supposed to be patient and wait on God and it was only supposed to be Isaac. By human estimation, you would look at it and go, this whole part of the family, that's just a mistake. Shouldn't have been there. Good to get rid of them. Guys, life gets off script sometimes and God still shows up and God still cares. God doesn't look at the boy and just go, well, he's just a mistake. He goes, no, I hear his voice too. I care about him too. And He said, because I care, Hagar, I'll provide what you guys need. And in that moment, she looks up and what she needed the most, just water. And they go and they drink.

Tim Lundy (29:03):
Here's the principle I'd say for each of us. You can rely on God that He will provide what you actually need. Maybe not what you want but what you need. Maybe you look at it right now and you go, God, I just want a different life circumstance. I'm sure Hagar did too. But in her circumstance, in her story, God keeps showing up and He provides enough. Remember what Jesus, what He taught us to pray? When he turns to our actual needs in the story, remember what said? He said, you just pray to God, give us this day, our daily bread. Notice in it, He doesn't even say weekly bread. He doesn't say monthly bread. He doesn't say yearly bread. I don't get to store up. I just ask what I need today. Can you give me enough today?

Tim Lundy (30:05):
I really would encourage, especially you moms, some days you don't think you're going to make it. And God gives just enough. Just enough wisdom for another day. Just enough patience before you almost lose your mind. Just enough sleep. And sometimes it doesn't even feel like it's just enough. Just enough. It's not overflowing. It's not overwhelming. But if you look up and you look to Him, you find out just enough is enough. And it gives you the opportunity, whether you're a mom, whether you're a dad, whether you're alone, whether you're longing, whether you're hurting, when you learn to rely on God in this way and He keeps showing up with just enough, it teaches you a dependency on Him and a growth with Him that no other season will. It's sometimes in that season of just enough that you go the deepest with God and you realize He does care. He is there. He does provide. Maybe not all I want, but He's provided what I need.

Tim Lundy (31:29):
There's one final verse in this. I want you to look at what it says about the boy. It continues on. And God was with the boy and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness. He became an expert with the bow. I love that we get more of the story because God didn't just show up when she was pregnant and He didn't just show up when they were lost and he's 13 years old. God keeps showing up. God stayed with him. God gives him the ability, makes him an expert, does things in his life. I think this is important because a lot of times when you go through this and you go, I trust God, I trust God. I can trust Him with what he did yesterday. I trust Him with today. But here's the challenge. Can you trust Him with tomorrow too? Can you believe He's going to be there tomorrow?

Tim Lundy (32:27):
Here's the principle I'd say. Rest in God, knowing that He'll be there tomorrow too. The God who showed up today, He'll be there tomorrow. And I think parents need to hear this. Moms need to hear this. There's few things that bring more anxiety than tomorrow. The future, especially in a changing world. What's it going to be like? Is it going to be enough for tomorrow? Do I know what to do tomorrow? And all the challenges. And you can find tomorrow bringing more anxiety today. And you have to step back and go, okay, did God show up today? I'm going to trust He'll be there tomorrow. I'm going to trust that He will not leave. He'll show up.

Tim Lundy (33:15):
You know, one of the things Scripture celebrates about moms, moms have fierce love. There's a maternal bond that you can't break. Moms are there. And I know we often sing about the fact that God is a good, good father because he is father. You know, Scripture also points out that all those good fierce maternal instincts, you know where they came from? They came from the fact that women were created in the image of God too. In fact, I love Isaiah 66 says, as a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you. You do hear what it's saying? The same way that a mother's there for the child, God's there for us. There's another verse in Isaiah. It's interesting. It says, can a woman forget her nursing child that she should have no compassion on the son or the child of her womb? And the phrase there is saying, man, a woman that has nursed a baby she's always connected to that child. But he finishes the verse and God says, even women may forget at times, but I'll never forget you.

Tim Lundy (34:26):
I mean you want a promise to take to the bank. Look what it says in Hebrews, in the verse on the screen here, for He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. His love is dear, is God's. He will be there today and tomorrow. You know, during World War II, the atrocities of it, read a story the other day of a family, the Rosenberg family. Solomon Rosenberg. Jewish family who found themselves at a concentration camp for no other reason than the fact they were Jewish. And the rules of the camp were pretty clear. If you worked, you lived. If you couldn't work anymore, you died that day. Very quickly, Solomon saw his parents taken off and executed because they were too old to work. And his fear every day was for his youngest son, David. He had two boys and David was very frail and every day Solomon worried about David. And he would go and they would take him out and work. And at night, he'd come back to the barracks and he'd look for his family. And when they would gather together, the four of them would just huddle together, cry and pray.

Tim Lundy (35:51):
Until one night, Solomon came back to the barracks and he didn't see his family. He saw his son, Joshua sitting in the corner crying. He said, Joshua, what happened? He said, Dad, they came for David today. He said, where's your mother? He said, Dad, when they came, David was so afraid. The mother stepped forward and she said, take my hand, David. You don't have to be afraid because you won't face this alone. I'll go with you. A mother's love is fierce. There's a bond there that's hard to describe. But hear me, God loves you more. And He's made a commitment to every one of us. I will never leave. I will never forsake no matter what you face. Nothing can separate you from the love of God, neither life nor death, nor disease, nor sickness of any kind nor angels or demons or powers, things high or things low. Nothing separates you from the love of God.

Tim Lundy (37:26):
In fact, to add to that, neither motherhood or fatherhood or singleness or divorce or infertility or anything that you face separates you from the love of God. Look to Him, process the questions of your heart with Him, trust that He'll provide what you need. Believe that He actually has His face directed at you. You have His attention and He smiles when He looks at you. And know the God that has showed up today will show up tomorrow and the next day and forever. Let's pray. Father, we thank you. We thank you that you love us in a way that we can't even fathom. Lord, we thank you that you show up on the good days and the hard days and everything in between. Lord, I pray for those who need to know that today. I pray for those whose hearts are heavy. They're struggling.

Tim Lundy (38:49):
I pray they would have a sense of both your presence, but even more, your smile. Lord, thank you that we can have this relationship with you because of Jesus. Because He went through the worst of days. Because He was willing to go and be sacrificed for our sake. Lord, when we doubt your love, I pray we would always look at that expression. Lord, I pray specifically today for all the women who hear this in every season of life. I pray they would have a sense of both your presence and your voice, that how you define them, how you look at them is how they would see themselves. And we pray these things in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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