Last summer, I visited Magnolia Market for the very first time. If you haven’t heard of Magnolia, it’s become a famous home decor store in Waco, Texas, owned by the even more famous couple Chip and Joanna Gaines.
And if you haven’t heard of Chip and Joanna, they've won a place in the hearts of human beings all over the world through their endearing TV series “Fixer Upper”.
So you can imagine that people travel from near and far, willing to stand in line for hours - just for the chance to shop in their store.
When I walked into Magnolia, I felt complete sensory overload as I took in beautiful merchandise everywhere I turned. Eventually I wandered to the back part of the store, where I was instantly magnetized to this sign hanging on one of the walls...
I could not believe what I saw before me. Right there in the most unlikely of places, I was struck with one of the most profound treasures. This treasure wasn’t a “beautiful thing”; it was a beautiful calling - a reminder of my vocation - a surprise kiss from Christ deep in the heart of Texas.
"I am not afraid. I was made for this." St. Joan of Arc
Those words etched on a piece of metal reached out and took hold of me.
My soul stirred with intense emotion. I felt something rise up in me - a strange twist of humble conviction and bold strength. In both my calling as a mom, as well as my calling to the mission of the Mother’s Prayer Companion, fear was a Liar, who had called out to me and "robbed my rest" far too many times.
Never before had I heard or seen this quote from St. Joan of Arc, one of history’s most fearless Christian women. I stood there in that store, so deeply moved, and found myself repeating her words over and over in my head. I am not afraid. I was made for this.
I desperately wanted to buy that sign and take it home with me, until I saw the price tag. Then I decided to take home a mental image of it instead. ;)
There’s a reason I wanted that sign so badly, because it spoke right to the heart of a lie that gripped me - a lie that grips many of us moms - especially at the beginning of the summer. (and yes, sometimes all year long)
I think it’s summer’s #1 lie...
I can’t do this. I just wasn’t made for this.
I remember the first time I ever heard that lie. It actually came out of another mom’s mouth. It was many years ago, when my oldest daughter was little and taking dance. As all of us moms sat and watched our little girls through the glass twirling around on the dance floor, I overheard a mom say, “I just wasn’t made to stay at home all day with my kids. I can’t do it. They drive me crazy.”
I felt really judgmental toward that mom that day, until my own day came, when I started to hear that lie too.
… the lie that I don’t have what it takes; that I’m just not cut out for the job of being a mom; that I can’t handle it; that I’m not enough, that my kids are too much.
I remember the day I lost it on my husband. “I suck at this job! Sometimes I just want to QUIT!”
When we give voice to the lies that we weren’t made for this, not only do we suffer from the confusion and unrest it causes, but our kids suffer too. Whether spoken from us or not, our children can hear confusing lies too: “You weren’t made to be my mom? You can’t handle me? You weren’t cut out to take care of me and be there for me? Because I’m too much? So you’re just going to quit on me? Is something about me causing you to act/feel this way? Do you wish you weren’t my mom?"
After reading Joan of Arc's quote for the first time, I decided to do a little digging. And I discovered that the words on that wall sign in Magnolia Market, while incredibly powerful, are actually not the full quote from St. Joan of Arc. Here are her actual words:
“I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come,
I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to messire the Dauphin.
It was for this that I was born!"
Let’s make sure we get the full picture here. St. Joan of Arc was in a battle. As moms, each and every day we are too.
And in the midst of the battle, when fear grips us and we wonder if we can go on, we need to do exactly what Joan of Arc did. We need to cling with confidence to God, our Lord, who will make the road open to us, who will clear the route for us to do what we were born to do.
And mamas, we've got to know how to wage war against these lies that threaten us and our families by rewriting them with God’s truth:
Lie: I don’t have what it takes. Truth: God has what it takes, and He will give you what it takes.
Lie: I can’t do this. Truth: God called you to this, and He will equip you with every grace you need to do it.
Lie: I’m not enough. Truth: You are enough, because God is enough.
Lie: My kids (my husband) are too much. Truth: You kids are not burdens you carry; they are gifts God has given you to love and embrace, be present to, pray for, and praise Him for.
I am so thankful to my friend for introducing me to this powerful phrase:
“We can do hard things.”
Man, I LOVE this quote!
It doesn’t matter what the hard thing is - whether it's persevering in the midst of a difficult marriage; enduring sleepless nights and exhausting years with toddlers and babies; holding on to hope for a struggling teen; selflessly caring for a child with special needs or an elderly parent. Whether it’s a hardship in your “job” as a mom, a wife, or even at work - hard things are hard.
But we can do hard things. YES, you can do this. Even if “this” is hard. You can do it, because you were made for it.
And you need not be afraid, because God is with you - to help you do it.
Being “made for this” isn’t about believing in ourselves, it’s about believing in God. It’s not about what we can do, but what He can do in us and through us. That popular line “just believe in yourself and you can do anything“ – that’s a load of crap. We need to believe in God, because He’s the One who can do anything.
And friends, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is why we can’t survive, much less strive or thrive, without prayer - without a relationship with our Father who loves us and made us for this. He's written our story, and all the days ordained for us were written in His book before one of them came to be. (from Psalm 139:16, NIV)
If He's made us for this, then His grace will be sufficient for this. Like Stef reminded us in her blog last week - His power is perfected in our weakness, and His grace is sufficient for us. For when we are weak, then we are strong. (from 2 Corinthians 12:9,10)
And like St. Joan of Arc reminds us now - Even in the midst of the hard, we can cry out with confidence to God, who is ready and waiting to give us every grace we need to do what we were born to do!