When Tears Remind Me to Pray

Meagan and her family.

Today has been rainy. I felt glad to be awakened by the sound of so many raindrops hitting the windowpane. I love the smell of clean air and damp earth. Rain reminds me to slow down. Venturing out in it is a different story, however, but venture out we did.

After our spontaneous trip to Phoenix last week, my daughter Ella began to complain of a painful earache upon our return home. Since she spent most her time in Arizona swimming with her cousin and sisters, I wrote it off as a minor case of swimmer’s ear combined with the pressure changes of flying in an airplane. We went about our business and it wasn’t slowing her down enough to keep her from playing outside with friends until yesterday. She came to me and said that her ear was oozing, and upon closer inspection, it did appear to be leaking dark brown fluid—eek! This was slightly alarming to me, and the intense pain she was in kept her from getting much sleep (although, when I decided to paint her room she didn’t mind staying up ’til midnight to help.) I have never dealt with leaking ears so I made an appointment at the pediatrician to err on the side of caution, which led us out in the rain today. After her appointment, we all loaded back into the van, getting soaked in the process, and headed to the store to get Ella’s prescription filled.

Meagan & Ella—who had the ear ache.It can be overwhelming to keep an eye on three children in a large store, especially when one of them is moaning in pain and overtired, another is bouncing around and talking a mile a minute while doing the potty dance, and child number three is prone to wandering and completely oblivious to anything and anyone around her. It can get real messy, real fast if you don’t keep your wits about you. Thankfully, we managed to get the prescription filled, the potty dance was dealt with, and I treated them each to a cookie with an iced coffee for me.

On the way home, I was surprised when my eyes started to tear up and I felt a wave of exhaustion crash down on me. It wasn’t that the girls were particularly mischievous or wild at the doctor’s office or the store, because they weren’t. They can’t help that there are three of them and one of me.

They can’t help that they aren’t older or quieter or calmer. They are children, and this is part of raising them.

This is what life looks like with kids, and I used to to read a lot of blogs and articles about motherhood, looking for comfort and camaraderie in “the mess.” The only reason I stopped was due to the fact that most of them were chock full of complaints, thinly veiled in sarcastic humor, sometimes at the expense of the blogger’s own children. It became wearisome and less than comforting. Yes, being a mother is HARD, excruciatingly so. However, lest I fall into the trap of complaining and become blinded by the hardships, I have to remind myself of the difficult truths. One of them is: self-sacrifice done with a grumbling attitude is not really self-sacrifice. I don’t want to belittle this season with a complaining spirit. I don’t want to accept my lot with negative sarcasm. As a close friend put it, I want to do well with what I have been given.

This whole thought process happened in just a few seconds as I drove home and let the tears fall. This is my season to be tired. This is my season to be awakened by sick kids who are in pain. This is where God has placed me, these are the people He has placed in my stewardship, and this is the season for tears of many kinds: happiness, discouragement, relief, anger, exhaustion. I cry all of them, often. Crying reminds me to slow down. It reminds me to pray.

Meagan and her husband Dave.Meagan is a homemaker and mother to three daughters. She has a heart for homeschooling and can’t say no to good literature. Her days are spent trying, failing, repenting, and loving her husband and children deeply. She has become well acclimated to the crazy that happens whilst raising little ones and has joyfully embraced a life that is very full of messes and fun and just a smidgen of sleep.