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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Grace & Motherhood

"Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled.
They are the ones that never give up despite the struggle."
~Sharon Jaynes

I've been having a rough mom week.

Who am I kidding?

It's been a rough month. 

I've spent the last few weeks feeling inadequate, because I allowed a few negative comments to leave me breathless and unsure of myself.

As a parent, do you ever feel that way?

Do you ever dwell on the side eyes from the lady behind you at Target or the negative feedback from a doctor or a teacher?

Do you ever take the comments of another parent just a little too personally?

Do you ever sit on your couch looking at your dusty entertainment center while you drink a glass of wine wishing that you would of had just a little bit more patience today?

You do?

Me too. 

Sometimes I allow the hard moments of motherhood to cause me to lose sight of the bigger picture.

The bigger picture that is focused more on what God is telling me to do as a mother, not what this lost and broken world is telling me to do.

And when I lose sight of that bigger picture, I also lose sight of the truth.

The truth that I am-despite all my imperfections-a good mom. 

I am able to embrace this truth now more than ever, because there was time in my life when I was not the mother I should have been.

On the outside, I appeared to be doing most things right.

I stayed at home and spent countless hours with my daughter, she had clean clothes and food to eat, and I was committed to trying to do ALL the things that the world told me I was required to do to be a "good" mother.

But, on the inside, I was so damaged and as a result, I allowed myself to become very self-absorbed.

You know, looking back on those dark years, I realize it was the combination of my failing first marriage, my ongoing issues with unresolved postpartum depression, and pure mid-twenties selfishness that all played a huge role in the type of mother I was choosing to be in those early years-the type of mother I had always sworn I would never be.

The mother who chose partying and "going out" to numb the pain of a broken life.

The mother who pawned her child off on anyone and everyone instead of getting to the root of the postpartum depression that was fueling the disconnection I once felt with her.

The mother who somehow felt "cheated" because I chose to get married very young and have a child very young. 

The mother who embraced all these lies and deceptive schemes of Satan and many, many more.

It took me several years, lots of soul searching, and intense personal healing to realize what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do better when it came to being a "good" mom.

And you know what was the most surprising part of that revelation?

The fact that no where in Scripture does it say that how much TV I allow my child to watch, or how many Happy Meals she had last week, or whether or not I do crafts with her or play Barbies with her is what makes or breaks me as a mother.

In fact, the most important commandment that Scripture leaves us with is this:"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). 

I think when God passed this wisdom down to Solomon, He did so knowing He was giving these instruction to very human parents.

Sinful, imperfect, human parents.

And that's where grace comes in. 

Grace that allows us to dust ourselves off and try again.

Grace that covers our lost times, our hard times, and our "not so great" mom times.

Grace that says, "It doesn't matter what you have done-it only matters where you go from here."

And you know, I am so thankful every single day for the fact that God holds me to standard of grace not perfection in all areas of my life, but especially as a mother.

Sure, there are things I could always do better.

But as long as I never quit trying and never quit pointing her to the Grace Giver, I think she's going to probably turn out okay. 

And, regardless of what they may be telling you, I know that great kids don't just happen.  

They are the product of love and hard work, and of mother's who worry themselves sick that they are messing it all up. 

So, here's to all the moms out there who are pretty sure they are messing it up.

Let me be the first to tell you-if you haven't been told in a while-that you're doing an amazing job.

No matter what your parenting style might be.

No matter what your past may look like.

No matter if you work or stay at home or get to do a little of both.

YOU are doing a wonderful job. 

And tonight while I'm curled up on my couch, drinking some of that wine, and worrying about how I might have messed my daughter up today, I will raise my glass to you.  

Because we've all got this in our own way at our own pace and it's all made possible by huge, heaping portions of grace.

Lots and lots of grace.

And as long as we never give up, I promise our kiddos are going to make it.

They will emerge into adulthood braver, stronger, and hopefully with minimal therapy bills and the knowledge that God knew exactly what He was doing when He entrusted you with them. 

He never makes mistakes.

Never.

So, take a deep breath. 

It's all going to be okay. 

No matter what they say. 

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