“D…..on’t. I try to stammer out before my two year old finishes chugging a whole can of coke. It was like it was all happening in slow motion. He looks at me with these wild, smiling eyes just waiting to see what my reaction will be, but pleased that he got the whole coke down before I could stop him. And I couldn’t move, I had a newborn on my lap with a bottle in his mouth. Not to mention I was on the phone with their doctor trying to make an appointment. And just when I thought the moment couldn’t get any crazier, it did. My newborn started puking, and I’m not talking about a little spit up, I’m talking full blown puke all over me, himself, and the couch. Ryder (my two year old) just looks at us and starts cracking up. I look at him, back at my newborn, my clothes (which by the way hadn’t been changed in two days), and back at my phone (which had a nurse on the other line still talking) and just like any good mom would do, I just sat there. I stared in a daze as my toddler continued laughing, my newborn began to scream and the nurse started spouting off facts that I didn’t hear because I was in my own world. A pretend world far, far away. A world where cans of coke didn’t exist, babies didn’t cry or puke, and mommies woke up beautiful without makeup, showers or a change of clothes. I was just enjoying this moment when, bam. I feel something wet on me. This can’t be happening I tell myself. This REALLY can’t be happening, but it did. My newborn peed through his clothes and it was now leaking onto me. Pause right there (if you can).
I’d only been a mom of two for a week. A week. And already I was done. This wasn’t the life I had pictured when I first met that cute, hazel-eyed boy with dark hair wearing that Cardinals hat my freshman year of college. I didn’t even plan on meeting him, much less being googly eyed over him. I mean, he was wearing a Cardinals hat for crying out loud. When I got to Central Bible College in 2008, boys were not on my radar. In fact I wanted nothing to do with them. I wanted to be far away from them. I had my mind set on pursuing a degree in some type of theology and traveling the world writing books and speaking at conferences. I had dreams—big dreams—and nothing was going to get in the way of those. I met my husband that same year, the big year of no boys and pursuing my dreams. I fell in love with him before we even started dating. I knew he was the one. He was in every one of my classes my freshman year and he had a twin so it was hard not to know who they were. I also ran against him in our class council election, he won but I claim it’s because I pulled out (that’s the story I’m sticking to). I joke about how cute he was, but he really is cute. Really cute, but that’s not what caused me to fall in love with him. A couple of people I knew were talking about how he would wake up before classes and walk the quad every single morning praying. I had never met a boy like that until then. I simply said half under my breath and half out loud, “I’m going to marry a guy like that one day.” Then I happened to see him upstairs in one of our buildings on my way to find our professor about a theology paper. I didn’t know it at the time but he was cleaning toilets on the custodial crew. When he asked me who I was looking for I got so flustered because for the first time I noticed just how cute he was. My heart skipped a thousand beats, my face got red I’m sure and I mumbled something and hurried and left. Great first impression, but hey it worked.
We got married my junior year of college and started working as youth pastors just two weeks after our honey moon. Two years later, we had our first son, Ryder. We then moved again and became Children’s Pastors in his home town, Henderson, Kentucky. Two more years later and we find ourselves with another precious baby boy, Gabe. Pause.
Now, back to my morning, because believe it or not it gets better. I finally get off the phone with the nurse. I began to change my newborn and he starts pooping (can I even say that on here?), yes pooping all over me and the couch (how does that even happen?!). And it’s right here that I had a moment with Jesus. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was ugly. I began to let Him have it, because after all, it was his fault. It was his fault that I graduated with a Bible degree, had dreams and goals in life and that instead I was getting pooped, puked, and peed all over, literally. It was his fault that I wasn’t always happy about starting another Monday because it meant another long week of changing diapers, feeding, praying my toddler is in a good mood, and somehow getting enough sleep in between the night feedings. It was his fault that we ate out way too much, I gained way too much weight, and I had piles of laundry in my utility room. We won’t even mention how long it’s been since I cleaned my floors. It was all His fault.
And it was during all this being mad and blaming God that He just gently said to me, “what if this right here is what I’ve called you to do, Summer?” I sat there. He can’t be serious. Poop, really?! Clearly God can’t see my struggle, clearly He doesn’t know how bad at this whole mom thing I am. Clearly, He doesn’t recognize how little time I have to even spend with Him. He would choose for me to do something different if He did.
Even as I was saying all of those things, I knew deep in my heart that He did. He knew. He’s always known. I made a vow a long time ago to go wherever He would send me and do whatever He would call me to do. What I really meant was if He would send me to the nations to write and teach. And here I am, right where God has placed me but I’m struggling because it doesn’t look the way I thought it would or should. Cleaning up poop is not glamourous, but it IS important. Being a mom is hard. So hard. But, being a mom who teaches her sons about God’s love, grace, and character is even harder. I realized in that moment that I needed God more now than I ever have or possibly ever will. I don’t just need God when I’m writing books, preaching, or teaching in His name. I need God in my every day. I need him when I’m disciplining my toddler, I need Him when I feel like I cannot possibly give one more ounce of me to another human being, I need Him when I feel as though I’ve failed as a mom, I need Him when my newborn is crying uncontrollably and I can’t soothe him. I need God desperately because my children need God desperately. My precious mother-in-law once said to me, “Summer what if God has called you to be their mom because THEY are the ones to change the world?”…What if?
What if that’s my purpose. What if I never write a book or speak at conferences? What if I only clean toilets at the church and change diapers at home? …What if?
I sat there still covered in poop, puke, and pee and I cried out to Him, “I desperately need you, God. I’m so inadequate, I fail every single time…I have absolutely nothing left to give.” And, I really didn’t. There, I had said it. I was empty. I had nothing.
So I say to you today, whether you are at home covered in poop, at your workplace overwhelmed, in the midst of a financial struggle, feeling inadequate, or simply just tired, tired from the struggles of life…cry out to God and start living your life fully. Live life fully knowing who He is and who He has made you. You, my dear, are the apple of His eye. And rest assured, God is using you right where you are. You, and you alone, were created for such a time as this. Today, rejoice in those poopy messes. We may not know what our tomorrow holds, but we sure know who holds our tomorrow.
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I graduated from Central Bible College in 2011. I am now a wife to a cute, Godly man, and stay at home mom to two precious, rambunctious little boys, Ryder and Gabe. We are serving as Children's Pastors full time at Henderson First. I'm an avid Cowboys fan (don't hate:)). Give me a good book, some coffee, and a pretty fall day and I'll be lost for days. I love to play sports and I strive to be a long distance runner, but I'm definitely not there yet (as I'm waiting to catch my breath). I'm passionate about seeing the lost and broken come to know Jesus Christ and his amazing love for them. Someday I aspire to become a Christian author and speaker.
Connect with Summer on Instagram (@summercrowder).