Maybe you are one of the moms I have envied. Maybe you walk in freedom and are fully confident in your God-given role in the lives of your children. Maybe it has never occurred to you to waste the precious minutes of your day beating yourself up. Maybe when you feel you’ve made a mistake as a mother, you just let it roll off your back, and you walk confidently in the assurance that God’s sovereignty will heal and redeem your children from all the broken places you offered them. Maybe you never worry about how you measure up to the mom who posts all of her brilliant ideas on Pinterest. And maybe you don’t worry about having your house put-together for guests. Maybe you walk in freedom to let your children explore the world, without carrying worry about harm befalling them, and maybe you never doubt your decisions when they get hurt. Maybe guilt and fear are not driving forces in your life.
Or maybe you are a bit more like I have been as a mom, and the joy that seems like it should so easily partner with having children – this greatest of blessings – actually feels dreadfully elusive most of the time. Maybe your days sometimes Just. Feel. Long., and you know you will look back and long to do them over, and you’re just trying not to wish them away. Maybe you sometimes feel like guilt and fear is all there is as a mom. Oh, and being so very tired. There’s a lot of that, too. And maybe you feel like Paul’s words to the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4: 6-7) could not possibly have been written for you. After all, when Paul wrote it, he did not have these pieces of his heart running around vulnerable to the world. Maybe you feel constantly torn between letting your kids explore their world, and holding back because of very real dangers. Maybe you feel a slave to social media, and all the moms who seem to be doing it better than you. Maybe when you see or hear brilliance in another mother of young children, it makes you want to crawl into a hole and die. Maybe you beat yourself up for yelling, or being overly critical of your children. Maybe joy eludes you because you can’t stop thinking about how your children are going to turn out with all of the mistakes you are making. Maybe you beat yourself up at every turn, from a medical diagnosis, to your child biting someone at school. Or you hate your body, and you feel guilty because you should be more grateful for the miracle it has performed. Maybe you feel completely unworthy of getting pregnant easily, or having lots of children. Or maybe you are blaming yourself for infertility or miscarriage. Perhaps the daily grind of chores steals your joy and makes you feel constantly inadequate, and you feel like you’re dying a slow death by being buried alive under the piles of laundry. And you feel defeated by your inability to stay on top of the cleaning, the dishes, having dinner on the table. Maybe you feel guilty for being away from your kids at work, or for not providing them enough opportunities. Or you feel guilty for not being able to keep up with a career while raising little ones. Maybe your life feels small and insignificant, and you can’t rise above the feeling to find any purpose in the endless diapers, time outs, floor sweeping, or breaking up quarrels. Maybe you feel desperately alone, and can’t seem to have a real conversation with an adult since becoming a mom. And just maybe, like me, you’ve been afraid to be honest about how you feel because these are supposed to be the best days of your life. Maybe you fear you’re the only one who has ever felt this way. And you wonder if maybe you weren’t cut out for this “Mom” thing.
My heart is not to fix all of the parenting challenges. You won’t find me writing much about how to fix discipline issues, or mixed-up sleep patterns. My heart, sister, is for you to know that you are not alone… to speak to the places in your heart that make you feel crazy, and to offer an honest voice on the pains and deep fears that we face through the years of having young children. My heart is to see the heavy burden you carry be lifted -for the weight of being given the responsibility and great privilege of being called “mother” by a child or two or seven to be transformed into wings. My heart is for you and I to walk with more freedom and feel like a whole person in our days with young children – to stop beating ourselves up about our failures, and to stop comparing ourselves to other mamas, who were made by God uniquely differently from us…on purpose. My heart is for us to step into the blessing of being chosen as broken vessels who were never meant to be a Savior to our children, and for us to accept our role of teaching them how to need a Savior in Jesus.
I want to reclaim each sacred part of motherhood, from the sweet spaces God knit together in our souls that lead us to first desire a child, to the parenting moments of great difficulty when we need to cast off fear and teach our children how to need a Savior. I long for us to walk in the authentic, in order to walk in the joy. I long for our hearts to be refreshed by taking an honest look at our untidy lives as mamas, and to let each other and the Lord into those spaces in our lives and hearts. On this blog, I’ll share a bit about my story as a mama who is learning how to live in raw mercy. I’m learning to peel back layers of fear and guilt to reveal the great gift that lies beneath. I pray that your spirit is refreshed, and that you, too, can begin to walk in freedom from the fear and guilt that can so easily steal our joy.