Confession…I love my children, but the love I have for them terrifies me. They are the only people who can illicit emotions of both complete and total joy and intense rage…sometimes in the same 5 minute time span.
Stephen and Janet Bly provide this job description regarding motherhood:
No job on earth takes more physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual strength than being a good wife and mother. If a woman is looking for the easy life she might try teaching tennis, cutting diamonds, or joining a roller derby team. There is nothing easy about mothering. It can be back breaking, heart wrenching and anxiety producing. And that’s just the morning.
Truer words have never been spoken. I’ve been at this mothering gig for 13 years…yes I count the time I carried them as part of my mothering. Tell me you don’t start worrying, dreaming, panicking, hoping, and loving the minute you find you’ve conceived…I’m right. I’ve referenced the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney before and yes this post in another reference to it. I will continue to reference it because it is just that good. I recommend this to many of my girlfriends and now I recommend it to you.
Honestly ladies, this one is a challenge. I’ve been parenting one child for 12 years and the other for 10 and I still feel like there are days I’m not qualified to serve snacks let alone serve preteens! So, I struggled, while I read this chapter, not to feel like a complete and total failure. HOWEVER, thank God…quite literally I thank God…that His love is big enough to cover me and my failures.
Our society requires training for everything from cashiering at McDonald’s to properly washing your hands before you return to work. You’re even required to undergo years of training before you can even think about working with other people’s children. However, to have your own, no training required at all. Is it any wonder we feel overwhelmed and just a little bit frazzled.There is a ray of hope and I cling to it daily, hourly, and sometimes minute by minute. God can provide all the training I need and what I don’t know, He covers.
I think what pierced my heart on this particular chapter was the spotlight that shone on my selfishness. No mom ever wants to admit there is selfishness in her heart. I admit I bristled at the mere mention of it. I AM NOT SELFISH….all the time. However, Carolyn Mahaney pointed out, in her book, that selfishness will quickly sap the strength of our love for our children. I have been feeling a bit tapped lately. Maybe I might even say I’m headed towards feelings of resentment. And the phrases I hear too often escaping my lips is “…what I need is…” or “what I want is…” or “why can’t I have…”. My focus has been turned away from an attitude of serving to thoughts of my needs and myself.I don’t discipline when I’m tired because I just need a break. I don’t correct poor habits because I just want a moment to myself. I overlook teaching moments for moments of leisure. And then I have the gall to complain about my children’s behavior? Sounds like I’ve been a little indulgent.
As I look back on the things that frustrate me most, I am ashamed to admit that some of those moments are initiated with my selfishness. I must be honest, I have been at times a selfish Mommy. Granted our job is taxing. It requires all we have and a whole heck of a lot more. But as Carolyn so succinctly puts it we have a choice. We can either resent the challenges and demands that accompany motherhood and persist in our selfishness or we can draw from God’s grace and receive His help to cheerfully lay down our lives for our children. Yes, it’s hard! Anything worth doing is hard! However, we are not alone, God does this job with us and through us.
Let me leave you with this quote from the book.
So today if you missed opportunities to show a tender love, or if you neglected to pray for your children, or if you were impatient with them, and even if you lost your smile and feel like a complete failure as a mother – take heart!
God’s grace is sufficient for you. Look to the cross where Christ died. There He purchased forgiveness for our sins and power to grow in godliness. Not one of us is equal to the task of mothering, but He will help us in our weakness. God will provide all the grace we need to love our children tenderly.
Until another confession…