Take heart, mom—Jesus is not embarrassed by your weakness

Written by Kristen Wetherell
Published on March 22, 2022

Motherhood introduces us to realms of weakness we might never have otherwise known. 

From the moment the pregnancy test reads positive and a little life inhabits our womb, we embody one of the most intimate forms of hospitality, and our limitations loom large. Many of us begin by worshiping the porcelain goddess or struggling to keep our eyes open throughout the day—and even if we avoid these symptoms, every mother knows the sinking feeling of not being in control. 

We wonder, Will God provide for me? What causes you to ask this question? 

When you wake up in the morning already drained from a night of feedings. When your whole family comes down with the flu. When everyone is crying at once. When you endure another miscarriage. When another adoption fails or your foster child rejects you. When chronic pain makes its home in your body. When tragedy tears your heart in two— 

Will God provide for you? Does he even want to? 

Jesus’s answer is undeniably, resoundingly yes

Jesus knows your limitations 

Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels tell us how his disciples had just come back from a busy ministry season. They had been healing diseases, exorcizing demons, and preaching, and they must have been exhausted. So Jesus takes them to a “desolate place” (Mark 6:31) and tells them to rest a while. He knows their limitations and that they can’t run at such a pace forever: 

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples (John 6:1–3).

How many of us long for a desolate place after an extra-tough morning with our kids or busier-than-normal week? (We’ll even welcome the desolate place called our bathroom if it means being alone for one beautiful moment.) 

Take comfort in this: Jesus knows your limitations because he was also limited. When the Word of God became flesh, he was “made like his brothers in every respect” (Hebrews 2:17). Being hemmed in by a physical body that underwent the same kinds of weaknesses and temptations as yours and mine (Heb. 4:15), Jesus knew what it was to be tired, hungry, and weary. 

So in this moment, he knew what his disciples were feeling. And in our depleted moments, mom, he knows what we’re feeling too. 

Added to this, Jesus knows your limitations because he created them. Far from what we think and want to believe, our limitations are God-given. They are not mistakes, but are tailor-made by our Creator. Why? So we will know, without a doubt, how much we need him, which is the best place we can be. 

Consider some of your limitations and how these expose your need for the Limitless One:

• We need sleep; God never shuts his eyes (Ps. 121:4).

• We can only be in one place at a time; he is everywhere present, always (Ps. 139:7–12).

• We don’t always have the depth of understanding or the answers we need to help with our kids’ problems; God perfectly searches our hearts (Ps. 139:1) and is the definition of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding (Job 12:13).

• We can adequately handle one or two of our kids’ needs at once (maybe three, if we’ve had enough practice); he is upholding the entire universe, right now, by simply speaking (Heb. 1:3) and is actively caring for all his creation (Ps. 145:16) while making sure every single one of his plans comes to pass (Is. 55:10–11).

Take heart, friend, because Jesus knows your limitations. He created many of them, and he experienced them himself, in his own body. He is not surprised or embarrassed by them like you are, nor will he waste a single one. 

Instead, your weaknesses and limitations are exactly the kind of raw material he loves to work with. 

Jesus feels compassion for you 

Suddenly, Jesus sees a crowd approaching, and he feels for them (John 6:5–6). They are in a desolate place, a wilderness of sorts, a place that Jesus himself knew when he went without food and was tempted by the devil for forty days. And, mom, when you are in a place of need, even a place of outright misery, Jesus’s heart fills with compassion for you because he too knew that place of weakness when he walked the earth. 

Here’s the good news: when your limitations reach Jesus’s compassionate heart, what pours out is grace, the lavish generosity of God for the weak and weary: 

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted (John 6:8–11).

In motherhood, our needs and weaknesses are often tests of faith. We wonder along with the disciples, What are my limited resources for so many needs? The true question is, how might God want me to depend on and experience his limitless grace in this moment of need? 

This is the humble kindness of God—this is grace—not to give us what we want, but to give us what he knows we most need. And whatever he gives comes from the heart of a loving, servant-hearted God with a perfect agenda for us. 

You can depend on Jesus 

With incredible needs looming large in the tiny little people before us, we tend to forget about the big picture. We forget what God the Son has already done and how he has already cared for us: 

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:48–51) 

Eventually Jesus will lay down his life for his people. And if he gave his life to give us himself for eternity, can we not depend on him to give us what we need for today? 

 

This article is adapted from the book Humble Moms: How the Work of Christ Sustains the Work of Motherhood


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Kristen Wetherell

Kristen Wetherell is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer, and speaker. She is the author of Humble Moms, Fight Your Fears, co-author of the award-winning book Hope When It Hurts, and editor of 12 Faithful Women. Kristen lives in Chicagoland with her husband Brad and two kids where they are members of The Orchard.

Read more about Kristen

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