The Little Engine That Could
Occasionally I feel like an engine... as I bet most mommas do from time to time. I feel like that “thing” hidden behind the scenes, working “under the hood” of the house, so to speak. I’m making sure the home is running smoothly — making sure there are groceries in the fridge, the family calendar is not conflicting, kids have rides to and fro, they get dental cleanings, etc. etc., etc. You guys know how it goes.
Sometimes, like an “older” engine with many miles on it, I feel a little worn, even greasy (“When was the last time I washed my dang hair?”) Sometimes, after going full-steam and nonstop for too long, I feel over-heated and ready to blow. And Sometimes, (I REALLY hate to admit this) ...but sometimes I feel hardened. ☹️
Thoughts of ‘woe is me’ lead to feelings of resentment. It changes my soft, mommy-like “servant heart” into a resistant, more rigid, less giving heart. I harden. I put up walls, grow quiet, and push through like a machine instead of a mom. I start “doing” and stop “living.”
This happened to me recently, and I hated that version of myself. So I took it all to Jesus one morning. I sat on my couch with my stupid-greasy hair, in front of my half-decorated Christmas tree, with fatigue so heavy it was nauseating... and I laid it all down at His feet, in my notebook.
And that morning Jesus showed me something about this little engine. He showed me I was running on empty because I was running on my own. In the busyness, I hadn’t gone to Him much. Not just in prayer but in thought or heart. So I was relying on my own strength and my own power to keep going — instead of recharging with HIS strength and HIS power (which is both unlimited and almighty).
He also showed me that because I strayed from Him, I lost sight of myself—who I am and what I’m made for. I was focusing on the engine, instead of the purpose. I only saw the work, not the reward. The fact is, God did make me an “engine” of sorts, yes... but not to burden me, rather bless me.
This is hard for some of us mommas (and daddies) to remember, I think. We are not just random machines, but chosen vessels—vital parts of a great and divine plan. The hidden work we do behind the scenes every day is not merely for the purpose of making things run smoothly... it’s for the purpose of shuttling souls to the Kingdom, and simultaneously carrying Jesus to the world. And we are not meant to work independently in this, but synergistically with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What a beautiful calling it is to be a momma engine!
I had forgotten all this recently and it took its toll on me. At first, I started beating myself up because I forgot. I was ashamed that Jesus had to remind me of something I already knew deep down. But then He also reminded me that I’m human. And that’s precisely why He calls us to recharge in Him. Yes, it is so He can fill us with His strength, but also so He can teach us, comfort us, encourage us, and remind us. Recharging is every bit as physical and emotional as it is spiritual.
So, here I am with my hair washed and recharged. I’m feeling like “the little engine that could” instead of an engine worn and ready to blow. It’s truly amazing what just a few quiet minutes in the presence of God can do for a weary soul.