Visiting the beach with a child is very different than visiting the beach without one, especially if said child is a ten-month old. It takes an obscene amount of time to get said little one coated in non-toxic sunscreen that is as thick as mud, and even more time trying to get them dressed in UV protected clothing. I have no experience growing up on a farm, but I can imagine this part of my morning is similar to trying to grease a pig. Who knew a kid could wiggle so much? And this does not even count the massive amount of time it takes to cover myself (aka Casper the Friendly Ghost) in sunscreen. It feels so futile knowing that half of it will be rubbed off as I lug my freshly greased offspring down to the beach. Do you know how great of a workout it is to walk in thick, hot sand with an extra twenty pounds on your hip plus a beach bag on your shoulder?
Nevertheless, it is all about memorable experiences right? So we toddle down towards the waves that meet the shore in their soothing rhythm. It is all going well until the waves pull back, tugging the sand out from under our feet, moving my sweet boy from a place of balance to a place of instability. Cue the whimpers and the whining, as he turns and grasps to be lifted up out of the water. He is instantly quieted in my arms, as he stares apprehensively at the ocean. We walk back up towards our towel, where he inevitably eats some sand before we pack up and head indoors for nap time. Naturally, my child is a fan of eating sand over real food.
Sam’s first experience with the ocean reflects my own life experiences in many ways. Often I find I am feeling good and doing well until my firm footing feels more like sand disappearing beneath my feet. Whatever foundation I was placing my full weight and balance on starts to shift, fueling the growing sense of insecurity within me that gives birth to whimpers of fear and doubt. Like my ten-month old is learning to find his balance on his two chubby legs, I am learning to find a balance in this new season of life, of motherhood. The majority of the time I have no idea what I am doing, or I feel a great uncertainty over the decisions I am making for this little creature when they look so vastly different from the great mothers around me. It really does not take much for the sand to shift beneath my feet when I place my full weight on unstable foundations; when I attach my identity and self-worth to my performance as a mother, the temperament or behavior of my child, my physical appearance in a bikini, or the opinions of others around me.
I am so thankful that God faithfully and gently presses His finger on this area in my heart, not just through the blessing of observing Sam, but through His word as well. As I have been overwhelmed with insecurity and anxiety this week, I have also been steeping my mind in the beginning of Exodus where God calls Moses and sends him to deliver Israel out from slavery in Egypt. God calls Moses to return to Egypt, to boldly call on Pharaoh to set Israel free, and to lead a nation out from slavery and into promise. Oh, but the excuses Moses gives God as to why he is unfit, unqualified, and unsuitable for such a task! God is undeterred, as He consistently reminds Moses that He is the I AM for every one of Moses’ insecurities and weaknesses. When Moses meets resistance (which God promised he would), we see him turn back to all of his insecurities and question God’s ability, calling, and power. God remains confident and consistent in His choice: Moses is His guy.
Moses was so focused on his insecurities and weaknesses that he elevated them over God’s power, ability, and character. The more he focused on them, the more overwhelming they became until they appeared greater than the Living God. Moses believed his insecurities disqualified him from being used by God, but God wanted to use even that which Moses was insecure of to deliver a nation. Over time, Moses would learn to place the full weight of his trust on God’s power, ability and character as his firm foundation of security.
Friend, God has not placed you in this season of life haphazardly, nor has He called you without considering your insecurities or weaknesses. Those things that we feel God can never use, those things we feel disqualify us from God’s calling on our life, are often the very things God wants to use to bring about His purposes in a beautiful display of His glory. Like Sam reached for me in that place of instability, we can be lifted into the arms of Father God and find a firm footing in his power, ability and character. We can go one step further than admitting we do not have this life thing all together and acknowledge that we know the One who holds all things. We can walk forward confident in our calling, not because we are sure of ourselves, but because I AM walks with us.
God chose Moses to deliver Israel. God chose me to mother Sam. God chose you and placed you in this season, at this time, with divine intention and purpose. Not because we have it all figured out, but because He does.