On sanctification and night driving

Confession: Sometimes I hate what I am doing.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. By the kids’ bedtime I was frazzled and ready to snap.

Here is one of the holy escapes I have found: I head for the road.

I call it a holy escape, though the sins that lead to it are certainly not, because Ryan approves and what I do is this: I drive into the night and I cry out to Jesus, and when I have gotten as far away as I need to I turn around and come back home.

You see I am not as sanctified as one would hope.

Night driving is best without a map or a destination, exploring roads you never have before. Part of the thrill is novelty, part is discovery, part is navigation. Bonus points for finding a fresh route of return.

Last night I got a medium Shamrock shake from McDonald’s and a small pack of salty fries. The latter was to die for; the former (which I usually love) had been minted with an over-generous hand and tasted like medicine. Armed with these, I headed down a long straight road, for once too tired to explore, and began talking to the Lord, who was riding shotgun. Sometimes I shouted at him. Sometimes I whispered to him. Sometimes I cried. Halfway to nowhere I pulled over by the side of the road and made a list.

Times I Hate Being a Mom:

  1. When my personal space and dignity are violated
  2. When I have nothing left to give, but must go on
  3. When child x is being out-of-control bad, and I am afraid I’m raising a demon or a criminal
  4. When I have big, beautiful, intoxicating ideas that I must lay aside for motherhood

You see I am not as sanctified as one would hope.

Times I Am Most Happy As a Mom:

  1. When my children gain new independence or learn new skills

seeing Aarick sing in his school program

watching Regan read

enjoying Kelly’s growing vocabulary and sense of humor

2. When we five are engaged in a family activity, especially outdoors, and everyone is healthy and happy

3. When I step back enough to get an outside perspective, and count my blessings

I thought I had equal numbers on each side of my scribbled McDonald’s napkin, but I see that my weariness deceived me. I must think of another happiness.

Then I turned my car around and drove home, praying that the Lord would keep me awake as my body relaxed and my eyelids sagged.

On the way I thought what I need for the times of hate is this: Faith. Is that true?

Faith to believe that if I submit to the petty indignities (snot on my shoulder, coughs in my face, no part of my body left sacred) God will take them to himself and turn my meaningless sacrifices into something worthy?

Faith that all God’s ways are good? That he can sustain me beyond what I am capable of?

Faith that God created each of my children for a specific purpose, and that one of these days, he wants to unleash them on the world to build his kingdom?

Faith that God gave me my dreams for a reason, and that someday this time of silence-chaos will make sense…?

You see I am not as sanctified as one would hope.

Do you have ways of escape? How does Jesus meet you and call you back?

Sometimes I think we each have the life we want, just not quite.

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12 years ago

We all need our ways to debrief with Jesus…and driving/exploring is a great way! Your piece makes me realize maybe moms and I aren’t really that different. 🙂 You are a good, honest writer, too, which makes your blog a joy to read.

12 years ago

Been struggling lately– not with the huge of life, but just with the smidgets. Why do they ruin all else, and make me look down on the big picture? I just taught in SS “but if God be for us, who can be against us?” So comforting on the good days, but distressing on the bad– “IF”? I know in the context of verses the “if” makes sense, but somedays I go “if You are for me, God…” Yeah, I know, faith and the night-driving bring me around too. (Not night-driving for me… but maybe I should look into that.)

Marlene Stoltzfus
12 years ago

Thanks for the blog, Shari. You’re encouraging me to continue growing and learning in a variety of ways.

Mom Coblentz
12 years ago

I’ve nothing profound to say, Shari. But just so you know, I’m crying.

12 years ago

I thought I was the only crazy woman who drives away from it all when it gets too hard and I need to be alone with God. Those times are always so precious! I can relate from one end of the post to the other. Even the part of being scared you’re raising a demon or a criminal. 😛

mama zook
12 years ago

so glad that Jesus brings you back home again with a vision of the happiness of life and “faith that God…”!! I love you, Shari!!

12 years ago

i am not a mom but i understand. and i too am crying. i have been a ‘step’ mother and it was tough. the battle they put your body through and they don’t know it. they don’t mean to. the spilled drinks and bowls of food, the snotty noses rubbed into your shoulder, and the list goes on. right now i have the “privilege” of living in a house hold of adults. but its not as simple as you think it should be. however, it does mean that i can bawl my eyes out and no children are distraught with what is wrong. the adults may ask, or just give me my space.

my way of escape is finding a soft seat and crying. crying as long and hard as i want. praying the whole time. just a very frank and open talk with Christ. and then i usually do some Bible reading and journaling. for right now tears and prayer seem to be my escape. some days i can’t even control myself while in town.

12 years ago
Reply to  minnie

Thank you for responding! I hope this is not too personal… If you are who I think you are, then I don’t remember seeing you since you were five years old. But I’ve never forgotten the way you dealt with grief then. You grieved clean, with open hands, completely free of the festering and bitterness that so many of the rest of us experience. Bless you!

LaDonna Nice
12 years ago

I love your honesty and can so identify with this post! There are many times motherhood seems overwhelming to me, and I wander if I’m up to the job. I also struggle with some of the very same things.
The other night we were having a conversation with Jenson that just made me want to cry out to God and I did, “Please Lord reveal yourself to my children.” Beyond anything I can say or do this is my heart cry, and yes much faith is needed that He will do so. Wish we could all get together and talk. The journey of motherhood wow…what a process!

12 years ago

Well. I would like to join you on a late night drive sometime. My tendency is to “stuff it and buck up”. I do not see it as being an honorable trait of mine. I love the way that you are inviting Jesus to transform you into a Grade A Mom!

12 years ago

I have not done a long, cry out to the Lord drive since I am married. Maybe we will pass each other on a dark road some night soon 🙂 I love that last line. I also would love to know more of the big, beautiful, intoxicating ideas!

12 years ago

Dennis told me to come read this blog!!He seemed quite pleased that his wife wasnt the only one that a husband is ok with driving around in the night till peace and calm and Gods presence invades my being enough to go home exhausted !! Being a mom is HARD work but worth all the struggle,prayers,tears –Funny thing is that it is so different then I imagined it being when a young girl!! My thoughts of motherhood was of satisfaction,delight,pride in my darling children,etc but in reality God allows it to be so difficult that we have to cry out to Him in desperation and despair over and over!! Blessings on you Sherri!!

12 years ago

Ah, I could totally relate to this post! Your lists for why you hate and love being a mom were so similar to what I would have written had I written them. I knew motherhood would mean giving but I definitely didn’t realize just how much giving it would take!

My way of escape is to usually head to the coffee shop that is several blocks away while my dear husband takes care of the children. (Thank God for understanding husbands!!) Then I put in my earphones, block out the world and journal away on my computer. Sometimes I wind down by doing something totally relaxing (and mindless) like playing solitaire.

It’s amazing how much it helps to just get my thoughts “out on paper”. Kind of puts things back into perspective for me. And yes, God and I have had some intense moments in that coffee shop!

I’m loving your blog. 🙂

Rachel Shenk
12 years ago

Refreshingly honest and real. I think every mom feels the moments of absolute inadequacy and believes every other mom is probably doing so much better of a job at mothering than she is. Wow, great post.

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