If you ever spend time around children you have probably read the book The Little Engine That Could. The last time I opened this book was a few weeks ago after attending a baby shower. To my surprise I had forgotten most of the story. But once I started to unfold the simple life lessons I slowly fell in love with the book all over again. As a child I didn’t pay much attention to the gender of the train. I am now fascinated by the inexperienced little engine and how she boldly faced a challenge that seemed impossible.
Life, much like this children’s classic, presents situations that can seem impossible too. Instead of a huge load of toys and cargo to carry over a steep mountain you might be carrying the weight of pregnancy loss, another negative pregnancy test, or the painful memories of the precious baby you only got to hold for a moment. Many times we do our best to scale the tangible mountain on our own. In public we put a smile on our face and at work we don’t let our emotions interfere with our productivity. Somehow we manage to get out of the house with lip gloss on and pajamas off. We continued to be social with our circle of friends but we revert to small talk that just skims the surface of our emotions.
In the quiet evenings when you are alone have you asked yourself if you are truly facing that seemingly impossible mountain; The battle for your thoughts? When you look in the mirror at the reflection staring back at you are you telling yourself you will get through this? Or have you allowed thoughts to creep in that are opposite of what the little engine would advise?
Instead of telling yourself:
I think today will be a good day… I think this hard season will only make me stronger… I think I should be honest with myself and others about how I feel… I think I am fearfully and wonderfully made… I think its ok cry… I think I can…
Have you chosen to accept lies:
I’m just damaged goods… I’m obviously not a real woman… I’m angry all the time… I’m sad all the time… I’m not strong enough to keep it together… I can’t share how I feel … I know people think I should be better by now… I’ll never find joy in this… I can’t do this…
I believe there comes a time in every woman’s road to motherhood she decides the self-defamation has gone too far. Your internal battle is the most challenging and necessary battle to face. So when you find the strength to sit down and intentionally try to change your thoughts remember this:
First, before anyone else can believe you are the little engine that could you must first believe it yourself. Believe regardless of your infertility, regardless of the painful longing, regardless of the crazy fluctuation of emotions, gained weight, dirty house, missed social outings you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are not crazy and you are not damaged goods- you are growing stronger every day.
Second, focus on being the best you and not the best her. Social media provides infinite opportunity to compare our achievements to what we think a “real” woman can achieve. But remember we all have our issues, our bad days, and our Pinterest projects that look NOTHING like the picture. Don’t compare yourself to the perceived perfect woman… it’s exhausting and quite frankly an unobtainable game of smoke and mirrors.
Lastly, did you know the other engine that got stuck at the top of the mountain was a female too? I like to think that the little engine noticed there was a women in need of encouragement. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you push a bit of cargo up the hill. Likewise, Don’t be afraid to reach out to a women that would find solace in a card or nice big hug.
There are a lot of great life lessons tucked away in children’s books. Sometimes it’s the simple ideas and the simple phrases we tend to forget. So if you are stuck on the bad habit of feeding yourself negative thoughts just remember to replace them with…I think I can… I think I can… (insert your positive thought here).
Having trouble coming up with something? 2 Corinthians 10:5 or Philippians 4:13 are good places to start.
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