For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV)
My husband, Rex, and I had been married a short time and one day while we were doing some regular, everyday sort of chore, but doing it together, I had this “feeling.” I didn’t really know how to express it so I took his hand, looked into his eyes and just said “I love you.” He naturally looked deep into my eyes, placed his hand gently on my cheek and shared his undying love in very poetic, flowery language…yeah, that so didn’t happen. He looked at me quizzically and said, hesitantly, “well…um…I love you too?” He wasn’t sure if he had done something wrong or right or if he had missed part of the conversation, but he guessed that might be the best response.
I experienced that “feeling” enough times to put a name to it. I would share that I felt “full” in those moments. An overwhelming sense of peace and contentment and joy and an all-is-perfect-in-the-universe sort of feeling. Once I got a word and explained it to Rex we could just look at each other, share a secret smile and whisper “I’m so full right now” and it made the full feeling even fuller!
Then we had twins. At first it was a little too chaotic, a little too messy and unknown. But eventually we got back to sharing with each other that we felt “full.” But our “fullness” now included two little boys. I don’t know that I ever felt “full” without Jake and Chad included in that fullness. Because to be “full” I now needed these small human beings that had been created by God with our love for each other. To be honest, without them, I never felt full. Then a third boy, Luke, joined our ever-fuller family.
Although life was more than busy, everyday more exhausting than the last, and everything needed to be stretched just a bit further, I felt full to bursting. Although I didn’t feel there was space for more “fullness” in my heart, God knew my heart could be stretched too. He gave us another blessing named Ben and all was well with my soul – I was “full” all the time!
While they were all young there were still many “full” moments. That shared smile between the father of my children and me. There were even a few times we tried to explain it to the boys and they would give us big hugs and tell us they felt “full” too. It brought tears to my eyes. This mama was only “full” with her man and all her boys.
It wasn’t sudden and I didn’t notice the shift, but I started to feel empty rather than full. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t my husband or my boys. I loved them with all my heart but I realized I was looking to them for that feeling. I felt unsatisfied, alone, incomplete. I tried to get the feeling from my family, I was a wife and mother after all, but it only drove me into further emptiness. I felt bitter. Resentful even. What happened to my life?
[She] who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Proverbs 27:7
I was hungry. I desperately wanted to feel full again and yet everything I tried to do to get that fullness seemed to make me feel even more empty. It was a vicious cycle of bitterness and disappointment.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
The “thief” is such a liar. The devil does some of his best work by taking the Lord’s blessings and twisting our hearts and minds in a way that God never meant for it to be. The Holy Spirit showed me, gently but seriously, that I had made my family my idol. God’s creations, his gifts to us, are never meant to replace Him. Yet I believe far too many well-intentioned moms do just that. We place our husbands or our children in the place of God. They become who we worship with our time and energy and love. They are our focus and our reason for getting up in the morning. We know God is there. We toss up some prayers when we’re desperate, we go to a bible study for moms, we share our struggles with other parents. But our eyes are on them not Him.
Sometimes I just have to wonder if God blesses parents with adolescence just so we’ll get on our knees. I had no other choice but to return to my “first love.” The details aren’t important, we all have details enough, but the Lord showed me I needed to turn my focus back to Him. I had no control really and if I wanted to be “full” again I needed to let Jesus fill me.
I had never been consistent reading the Bible, but I knew that was the best starting place. I had tried talking to friends, listening to radio talk shows, and messages on others’ views of the Bible. They did help, but they didn’t give me fullness. So, I started a new habit.
I had to make the time to add something new to my busy life, so I got up earlier and scheduled the time to spend reading the Bible and writing a bit in a journal and talking to the Lord. This has now been my daily practice for 10 years and it has literally changed my life. Maybe I should say it has saved my life?
I now feel “full” almost every single morning. Of course, there are times I am so empty that it takes the Lord a bit more to fill me up, but I seldom go to bed empty. I now “overflow” when I have all my man-cubs with me. And just recently my husband and I – all alone – shared one of those smiles with each other.
Thank you, Jesus, that with you we can be full. You came to give us life to the fullest! You are so patient and full of grace Lord, you never give up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. Thank you for your Word, the scriptures that gives us direction and guidance and fill us with truth so that we can see the devil’s tricks to pull us away from you and your blessings. Our feelings may not always be the truth, but You are truth and we can trust you. Fill us with Your love so we are always full enough to share it with others. In Christ’s Name, Amen.