Motherhood doesn’t come with a map. When I was younger I assumed the Bible would tell me everything I needed to know about raising my kids but it doesn’t, at least not directly. There are no instructions about cell phone boundaries, appropriate curfews for teens or what to do with a picky eater. I often long for a specific instruction from God on how to handle a tricky situation so I know I’m not wrecking my child, or my own ego if we’re being honest. But aside from some isolated Holy Spirit hunches that proved to be correct in hind sight I cannot say with certainty that all my decisions were correct. For a good rule follower, this has caused some stress over the years. But now, 21 years into mothering, I have discovered somethings more freeing than knowing I made the perfect choice:
Grace. It turns out motherhood is like every other role I will ever play. God did not expect me to do it perfectly and part of His grace is the way He works even my mistakes for my good and my children’s good. Romans 8:28 says “…all things work together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose…” which is not to say there aren’t failures in specific parenting moments but rather the failed moments somehow get woven into the story of redemption God weaves our lives into and creates beauty from. Beyond that God promises to me that His love for me and my worth are never threatened by my failures. I deeply long to love my children well and guide them in wisdom, but looking back on my two oldest, I can see places I fell short and issues I completely missed. Knowing God’s grace extends into mothering frees me from carrying shame and allows me to share what I now know with younger mamas, leading to another tool God has given me to navigate tough Mama Moments:
Community. When tackling a new stage or season in motherhood, talking and listening to mom’s who have already been there with their kids is a great source of wisdom, but an even greater source of encouragement. Social media makes us afraid to share real struggles because it paints a distorted picture of a world full of perfectly successful moms but honest and open conversations with mom’s of older children exposes the truth- all kids struggle and all mom’s struggle. At some point there will be sin, difficulty, stress, fear and hardship for both parent and child. We need encouragement from women who remind us God loves our children and He is in control. We desperately need kind and truthful women who gently show us when our hearts have wandered away from hoping in Christ toward hoping in our own good parenting. We need to know we are not alone. We need comfort when we hurt for or because of our kids and we need safe places to rejoice when we see victories in their lives. Titus 2 instructs the “older women to teach the younger women….to love their husbands and children…” While love is certainly a feeling we experience it is more significantly a commitment to be expressed and learning how to show love in tough moments often comes from listening to stories from older moms.
The journey of Motherhood is less about arriving at a place and more about growing along the way. The most amazing growth has been learning who I am not- perfect, strong, together- and seeing how Christ has been perfect and strong for me which holds all things together.