I’ve written recently about the sticky error of comparing ourselves to others. But it must be said that I am often encouraged in what a commenter on this blog recently called “the good and messy and crazy fight of motherhood” by engaging in another kind of comparison. It’s comparison-that-hopefully-leads-to-emulation.
This past autumn was a hard season for me. I was expecting my third child, feeling exhausted all of the time, and crippled by constant sciatic pain. Getting around Oxford (of all the lovely places) with two little children and no car in such a state was often challenging. My mother lives on another continent and I did not expect her to make it for the baby’s birth. I was feeling sorry for myself and, I am sorry to tell you, I was complaining a lot. Then I heard from a blog reader. This girl, also with two little kids, was about to have her third child. In Senegal. Where the weather was daily over 100 degrees (38 C). I was feeling a little regretful and nervy about having the baby on this medical system (at one of the world’s top hospitals, two miles away). She was about to undertake an exhausting journey to Dakar, the nation’s capital, to reach a hospital there. She never said a word of judgement or comparison, she just identified with me and thanked me for writing! But I was so challenged by it–by her. God used her uncomplaining obedience to convict my heart.
Noting our two different situations side-by-side provided some very helpful perspective for me. Not just a could-be-worse, could-be-harder kind of mentality but a reminder that, as Psalm 18 puts it, “by my God I can leap over a wall.” It helps to see some wall-jumpers in action.
Christian mommas, what we all really want to do is follow Jesus. And he leads us each on different paths. Not every one is led so far afield. But living and mommying away from home, minus (all) extras, can focus our lens on what’s really important. It can give us a much more biblically grounded vision for motherhood than we had before we left.
I’ve asked this mommy in Senegal, and several others I know that are like her, to be part of a series on this blog. They each graciously agreed to answer some questions for me despite being in busy and challenging seasons. There isn’t one of them that thinks of herself as anything special–but they were all eager to share about Christ’s sufficiency in their circumstances. The answers have mostly come in and I’ve been so blessed–and challenged–by their words. I’ll be putting up an interview every five days for a bit. Would you read them? Would you sit down and really read them? If you would, please pray for these faithful, hardworking mommies and leave a comment to let them know it if they’ve encouraged you.
First up: Cara, in Senegal . . .