So these are my 3 sweet girls and me on a hike we went on last fall. These 3 are my life (well them and their father of course) and my days with them as a stay at home mom are filled with chores, teaching moments, fun times like this one, blessings, creative activities, new adventures, whining, fighting, some yelling (ok sometimes more than some yelling), tears (mine and theirs) and lastly…………….doubt. Every day they grow a little more, get a little older and HOPEFULLY turn a little bit more into more capable versions of themselves so that when they are grown they finally leave the nest (hopefully permanently and after the completion of some form of actual career prep).
I want to send my children into the world more prepared then I feel I was sent and in a better position to survive it. By no means am I saying my parents did a bad job as parents, they were fantastic overall and I have no serious complaints in general (I mean I gave them a serious run for their money and they kept me fed and alive so that itself was success) but I think all parents just want more for their own children and that is what I want. I want my kids to be well adjusted, functioning members of society who strive for success and happiness and love in every encounter………………
and every day I fear I am messing them up! Whose with me?!?
My ultimate goal as a mother is to get them to the place where they are doing what God intended for them and to get them there as intact as possible. I want them intact physically, no severe injuries or accidents. I want them intact mentally, aware of their passion in life and prepared to chase it. I want them intact emotionally so hopefully the yelling doesn’t stick too deep and they forget those scary moments I couldn’t shelter them from and I will continue to pray for no moments when they will make a poor choice and carry it forever, or when others will thoughtlessly heckle them or embarrass the bajeebers out of them just for amusement. Last but absolutely NOT LEAST I want them intact spiritually. I want them to not just know God but still believe in Him despite the cynical influences they may encounter in their life journey.
Now I could spend my days paralyzed in fear that my next action could be the one that messes them up beyond belief if I thought about it long enough, and honestly……………………I have! The weight & responsibility of caring for another human being can be so overwhelming, it can seem impossible. I know this because in my almost 12 years as a mother I have most certainly been overwhelmed, heck I have been overwhelmed by being overwhelmed! The reality is I now know I don’t have to be overwhelmed or paralyzed in fear because, much like I want my children to still believe in God when they are grown, I am grown and I don’t just BELIEVE in God, I LIVE in God’s presence every day and He loves me despite all of my many mistakes. He loves me despite my mistakes as a child, as a young adult and especially as a mother! I can take confidence that just as promised in Proverbs 22:6 KJV “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”, as long as I am raising my children to know God and showing them the basic steps in following God, that I can’t mess them up beyond His ability to redeem them! Isn’t that AWESOME!
How do I know this you may ask? How can I be so confident, because God has told me and He will tell you too, His promises fill His pages and I now take comfort in them even when I’m not feeling proud of whatever parenting mistake I feel I have made that day. Now don’t get me wrong, just because I believe this doesn’t mean I mess up any less and it doesn’t mean God is going to “magically ” make it easier for me. I didn’t suddenly gain the ability to parent perfectly, I didn’t gain any secret code of parenting reserved only for God’s elite, I didn’t really even get any better at the act of parenting but I can now actually parent. You see, being paralyzed by fear as a parent is an incredibly unproductive place to be and your efforts are far less successful in the long run. Quite frankly focusing on the “scary stuff” about parenting makes it seem pretty pointless all together and when we think it’s pointless then we will likely inevitably mess them up even worse!
The only way to successfully parent in my opinion is to realize that, like promised in Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”, God designed you and He knows why He designed you and that plan is not for your own demise. Just like He designed our children when He knit them together in the womb like mentioned in Psalm 139:13 (NIV) “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Knowing these truths paired with the changes God has worked in my heart makes it so much easier to wake and attack each day new. Even when I waste a day of productivity or “mess up big” at this parenting thing I know that God loves me too much to leave me unchanged, so his love & forgiveness washes away the doubt. I try to remember the words from Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG) “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” and I need these words as a daily reminder to take my concerns to Him with a thankful heart for all the blessings I too easily let slide into the background.
To me His grace is sufficient and I pray it is for you too 😉 If you are still sitting in the perpetual state of doubt & fear & survival, I know well what that feels like and I would love to hear about it, not in a generic, “I’d love to hear about it” way either. Being able to be real about our situations is the only way we can hope to harvest change in our situations and in our hearts. As women we can’t approach this battle alone, being a mother is notably one of the most challenging jobs ever. The Enemy wants us to feel alone & isolated, I also know well what this feels like. The enemy wages war on mothers every day because a strong Christian Momma has the potential to raise up strong Christian children and that hurts The Enemy’s numbers. Now take the poll below and join the masses of moms who feel like they are messing their kids up daily! Now go forth with those very same children who make you insane, the ones who have turned your walls into murals, and your laundry into a never-ending mountain and remember they will only be little so long, so count the blessings that speckle your chaos and remember that not one of us has it all together!!! God Bless!