Life at home with your family can be a little nutty. Circumstances surrounding you can make functioning feel impossible. Notice that word “feel.”
I’m going to let the cat out of the bag and just say we all have a crazy woman inside ourselves. You know her, that woman who comes out when the pressure is a bit too much. Maybe it’s been raining for three days, maybe your husband is out of town, or it’s an emotional time of the month, or you’re hungry. She threw a plate that one time, and maybe kicked a hole in the wall, or locked your “normal” husband out of your room. Maybe your kid just needed help with a zipper and the crazy woman lost it.
We like to pretend she doesn’t exist, like Rochester’s crazy wife who he locked up in the attic. We may keep her locked away, but she’s still there and one time she just might set fire to our house!
Maybe you do a good job at keeping her under control physically but she is persistent and talks to you all day. You have her voice constantly telling you how bad your life is, how unfair the work you have to do is, how unsympathetic your husband is, and how you don’t deserve any of the hard things in your life. She is your cheerleader for self-pity and always ready to give a “there, there” as you lock yourself in the bathroom and cry. Sometimes she feels like your best friend and the only one who truly understands.
This crazy woman is just your sinful self. Yes, there are two of you in one body. The Bible calls it the flesh and the spirit. You can read all about it in Romans 7:14-25 and all of chapter 8. You should go read it. Then come back.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am NOT practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15
“So, now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” Romans 7:17
If you have accepted Christ, you have now entered into a war for your own soul.
“I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind …” Romans 7:23
This is what happens when you want to be a godly wife and mother and live a life pleasing to God. You want to obey. You know you should show love and patience to your child who is struggling to grasp the concept of basic addition, so you sit next to him and take a deep breath, but ACK THE CRAZY WOMAN! Your sinful self freaks out and fights against your pursuit of holiness.
Once you open your eyes to your own sin, it can feel utterly hopeless. Every day you may fail in the exact same way. You may pray before bed for love for a particular child and then be woken up at 5 a.m. by said child, only to fail before the sun even comes up. You cry out with the apostle Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24
You should actually come to this point in your fight against sin. As you see your growing need of a savior the next verse is absolutely glorious.
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” -Romans 7:25
How do you fight the crazy woman? You determine to put her to death and live to Christ.
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”-Galatians 5:24
“Crucified” seems pretty brutal. This is why life is painful. It is hard to crucify our sinful desires. Once you have children, it doesn’t mean that you will suddenly be the perfectly godly mother. We have to take our sin seriously and join in the fight. When given the choice between sitting down with our ice cream or giving attention to the child crying in bed, we crucify our selfishness. When our crazy woman sinful self wants to tell us how impossible life is, we cling to God’s promises to supply our needs.
“His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness. . .” 2 Peter 1:3
When we feel like no one understands and so alone in the struggle, we tell her to shut it and call someone on the phone and pray.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Ephesians 5: 18-19 “But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”
Our sinful self is humiliating, but it is this very humility that makes us cry out for a savior. As the hymn puts it, “My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.” Beneath the Cross of Jesus
So, look your sinful self full in the face and refuse to listen to her. Pray that God would give you His strength and be vulnerable in sharing your struggles and sinful behavior with a godly woman. The crazy woman will want you to be generic, “Pray for me. I got mad at my kids.” Don’t listen to her here either. Confess the actual words, the specific thing you kicked or ate and it will be much more helpful.
Enter into this internal struggle that is the Christian life. Say with Anne Bradstreet:
“Be still, thou unregenerate part,
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vow’d (and so will do)
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must
Until I see thee laid in th’ dust.”
-Anne Bradstreet “Flesh and Spirit”
You should read the full poem here, but not until you’ve read Romans 7 and 8.