Looking back over the years of my momhood, I have so often felt overwhelmed and exhausted—sometimes mentally, sometimes physically, sometimes both—since the beginning of my very first pregnancy. That was over fourteen years ago. It feels like I’ve often been stretched to the limit and and that I’m hanging on by a thread. What has kept me going? Why haven’t I collapsed? How have I had strength each day to carry on?
A few years ago, I found myself questioning God. I’ve been growing in the faith that God is good. He is so good, but life is really hard. Even when everything is great, life is still really hard. If you’re so good, God, then why is this so difficult? Does it really have to be?
After praying and pondering for a while, I came upon an answer. It’s to show us that he can make even the most difficult things easy, that he can give us strength to carry even the most insurmountable burden. In this way, we can learn how powerful and good he is. I can’t think of anything harder than life, but when we lower our shields and let his light immerse us and his grace carry us, it can become easy.
When I was going through a very difficult time a few years ago, I told a friend that I felt like I was drowning and couldn’t keep my head above water any longer. I couldn’t keep swimming; I couldn’t even keep treading water. She said, “I know that feeling. You put your head back and float.”
Those were words of wisdom, and the image of floating on the overwhelming sea of life has stuck with me. Just float. The current will carry me to only God knows where; waves will push me up and down; and sometimes I’ll get a nose full of water from a particularly big one, but I can keep my head back and float on God’s love.
I have to resist the temptation to struggle on my own. I will soon become exhausted if I do that. I’ll soon drown. Only God’s love can keep me afloat in the long run. Only God’s love can make difficult or seemingly impossible things attainable, and sometimes even easy. God uses the difficulties of life to teach us about his power and trustworthiness, to teach us to float on his love. Will we learn to rely on him? Or will we stubbornly insist on doing it on our own?
“Come to me, all you who labor and have been burdened, and I will refresh you . . . For my yoke is sweet and my burden light” (Mt 11:28-30).