In my previous posts in the “stay at home mom-life” series I shared my experience of God as a mother, with regards to His names. Though God is known by many names, I specifically chose 7 for a reason. My Christian life began with a bible study about the 7 names of God. To this day my faith remains intact because of that bible study. The Holy Spirit often brings me back to it, when I need a reminder of who God is, and whom I trust my life with. So it seemed right, that I use these names to share how God has sustained me in my motherhood journey, and enabled me to find complete and utter satisfaction as a stay home mother.
Today, as I end this series, I want to share the 7th and my most beloved name of God; “Jehovah Shammah: The Lord who is there”. This is perhaps one of lesser-known, at times forgotten names of God, but to me, this is how I know Him. More than a father, more than a provider or healer and every other name, I know my God as the Lord who is there. He is my companion, my friend, the Lord who abides in me as I Him, ever present, by my side, forever. At the highest mountaintop and in the darkest, deepest valleys of life, in strength and in weakness, in my joy and my pain, in company and in loneliness, my God, my beloved living Lord is ALWAYS there.
“…And the name of the city from that time on will be:the Lord is there.”- (Ezekiel 48:35 NIV)
This wonderful name of God was first revealed to us in a vision God gave prophet Ezekiel of His temple. Ezekiel wrote at length about the dimensions of the temple of God, that is to come, and God then names this temple “The Lord is there”. Names are important. When we name our babies, we always choose names that are good, that declares goodness and purpose over their lives, and shape their character.
Among the many names He could have used, God chose this as the name of His dwelling place. I think it is because being with us, among his creation has been the deepest desire of His heart from the beginning. From Genesis to revelations, you find this desire of God threading its way through History, giving reason and purpose to everything God has done, and is going to do.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God (Revelation 21:3, NIV).
God wants to be with us, to be among us, and He has done everything in His power to make it possible. He started with the Garden of Eden and then the tabernacle of God, and finally fulfilled His desire and purpose through His son Jesus Christ who is called “Immanuel, (God with us) (Matt 1:23,)”, who gave his life, so that we may be reconciled to our God. We are created for God, and God desires to be with us in complete unity.
It is our sin, and rebellion against God that separated us from Him. We strayed from the purpose for which we were created. We changed. We left Him. God remained faithful. God didn’t leave us. He stayed. He is still there regardless of whether we acknowledge His presence.
About 10 years ago, I had an encounter with the Living God. It was a difficult time for me and I was going through some hardships and intense spiritual battles. God was teaching me much about himself through his word, and I diligently did whatever the word of God instructed. But I was still a new Christian and trying to understand where God was in my life before I became a believer. I had a somewhat traumatic childhood, and I often wondered why God allowed it. I found it difficult to understand the mercy of God in trauma. So I prayed a simple prayer “Lord, show me who you are, and who you are to me, help me know you”. The encounter that followed, was the day my faith became personal and I knew him. He came to me and looked at me. That look changed my life. In an instant I became aware of everything wrong I had done, and the wrong that was done to me. Then it struck me. The mercy of God washing over me, covering every cell of my body, every wounded part of my soul, and filling it with His love.
As I remembered my sin, and the trauma of my past, I realized that He was with me through it all. He loved me through it all. He was there giving me courage and strength to overcome, comforting me by surrounding me with people who loved me and pointed me in the right direction where I ultimately found him and His church. Even in the trauma, He was there, sustaining me, protecting my life. The realization that He was with me through it all and that I was never alone, made me burst out in tears and cover my face, because I knew that I was not deserving of it. I fell to the ground, no longer able to look at his kind, loving face, and as I was falling, He held my head in his hand and said, “I am always there. The Lord is there”. I have never been the same since.
GOD’S abiding presence in motherhood
The Lord is there. It has been the constant reminder to me throughout my Christian life. As mentioned in my very first post, my mom-life began with a reminder of God’s enduring presence and help that enable me to raise the children God has trusted me with. As a stay at home mother, one of the aspects of mom-life that surprised me the most was the isolation and loneliness that came with it. Mothers themselves don’t talk about it, and no one really asks. Many just assume that mothers are busy taking care of babies and that they don’t really need company. They may think, “Where is time for any company, when you have that full laundry basket, hungry bellies, overflowing dishes in the sink, and diapers that need changing?”
As a stay at home mom, I did have laundry to do, bellies to feed, dishes to clean and diapers to change. I am busy. But I also got lonely. The circle of friends got smaller and changed into mommy friends. The meet ups got rare because mothers are busy, and sometimes going out with babies to meet friends is not as easy as it sounds. There were days I missed my old life as a working professional. I missed uninterrupted conversations, conversations that involved topics other than mom life and babies. I missed my pre-mom body and freedom. And I confess, I was ashamed on these pity-days. But I kept it to myself, because I didn’t want to sound ungrateful.
But God is not satisfied with such silence. As I went about being busy with mom-life, He would often lure me into his presence to confront my shame, and reveal my hidden self-pity. I would cry out to him, complaining about all that I missed, and confess my shame at longing for my past life without kids. As I talked with him openly, God not only showed me His mercy and forgiveness, He also comforted me. He gave me His peace that calmed my emotions, and gave me wisdom to change my perspective to see motherhood as a ministry unto Him.
At the end of my conversations, I found that my laundry was done, dishes were cleaned, and food was cooked. God showed me that these seemingly lonely chores were precious moments where I could use to talk with him, lean on Him and receive His help. I couldn’t do that so easily while hanging out with a friend outside. Overtime I began to truly value my so-called “isolation” where it is just God and I having a heart to heart. These moments of intimacy has truly refined me as a believer, a wife and a mother.
Time to time the enemy would gnaw at my emotions and make me feel inadequate and unaccomplished. But he doesn’t get very far anymore. The Holy Spirit would remind me that God is with me, and His abiding presence in my life, make me enough. He reminds me that in Christ I am called, favored and equipped to do all things God has called me to. Motherhood is a ministry that I am blessed to be a part of. I get to raise men that will go on to serve him and advance His Kingdom.
What could I ever do that would amount to such a privilege? His companionship remains true through everyday of mom-life. I will always have help, protection, and wisdom to overcome every trial because God is with me. I am never alone, never helpless, never inadequate, or incompetent as a mother. God’s companionship gives me wisdom and confidence to raise my children. It gives me comfort and rest in the lonely hard days. It gives me strength and victory as I battle for my family. As my God is there, my ever-present help, and companion, I am enough. I am fulfilled and I am satisfied.
I started this series to encourage fellow moms to cling to God in motherhood. It is my hearts desire to help my sisters to find fulfillment in being a stay at home mother. I hope my experience shared here has helped to do so. I pray that as we continue in this journey of raising men and women for God, may we never forget that Jesus our Lord is our source, our drive, our purpose and our destination. May we never forget that God is always there. We are never alone. He guides us, He equips us, and He shows us compassion. He is gentle and kind. Let us trust in Him, and trust in His love and all that it entails, so that we may thrive as mothers. You will be satisfied. You will be fulfilled.
I am a wife and a stay at home mother. I am enough. I am satisfied.
To God be the glory forevermore.