When Mom Is In a Downward Spiral

There’s a crack in my windshield. My husband and I are on edge with one another. My daughter has a cavity. My dog has an ear infection. The ice-maker stopped working last night.This morning I opened the fridge to get the milk for my tea. No milk.I find myself feeling Eeyore-like with a black cloud over my head and a target on my back. My already full plate doesn’t seem able to hold anything else and I’m speeding down the slippery slope of self-pity. At the same time, I’m exasperated with myself for my despondency.I realize that none of my frustrations are tragedies. The windshield is fixable. I love my husband; we’ll work through our disagreement. The dentist will fill the cavity and the vet has medicine for the dog. Our refrigerator is still under warranty and milk is one grocery store trip away.

My understanding of the relative good news of my bad day pushes me even closer to the brink. Is my faith so weak, that I lack joy because I have no milk in my tea for one day? Is a crack in my windshield enough for me to doubt God’s goodness to me? Why do minor illnesses feel like burdens too heavy when others are diagnosed with life-threatening conditions? The mundane frustrations of my first world struggles provide further evidence of my failures. I am the toughest of clay in the Potter’s hand.

And so the spiral proceeds downwards.

Even in the midst of a good life, it’s a broken life. Schedules are delayed, feelings are hurt, and material goods are in the constant habit of breaking down. Sometimes it’s not the huge trials of life that sink us, but the constant pressure of many small burdens that cause us to stumble.

I want to walk through these mundane moments with grace but it’s a fight against the hardened attitudes in my heart. What can we do when we see ourselves succumbing to grumbling and complaining in the daily grind? There are four truths that I find helpful to consider while asking the Lord to rescue me from my descent.

Name it

If I want to fight against my grumbling and complaining, the first thing I have to do is call a spade a spade. I need to call my wrong attitudes by their appropriate name: sin. I don’t really want to do this at all. I want to sit and stew and pour myself a nice warm cup of self-pity. But, if the Israelites were kept out of the Promised Land for forty years because of a grumbling and complaining spirit, then I have a neon sign sized warning that a discontented heart does not please the Lord. It’s an act of treason, a claim that I could rule better if given the chance to be sovereign over my life. The first brake on the slope of discontent is to admit to myself the sinfulness of my own heart and attitudes.

Confess it

Melissa Kruger
Melissa Kruger
Melissa Kruger is a wife, mom, and the author of The Envy of Eve and Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood. She enjoys teaching women the Bible and serves on staff as women’s ministry coordinator at Uptown PCA.

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