On Guilt Pigeons and Not Being a Spiritual Mom

Originally published Friday, 20 September 2013.

Alright, people, something weird has happened since issues, which is to say, somehow even with a book called “She’s Got Issues”, people seem to think I have it together.

Um, press release, I don’t.

Especially when it comes to the whole “raising my kids God’s way”, especially if what that means to you is daily devotionals, memory verse singalongs, and the banning of Taylor Swift. If “raising kids God’s way” sounds like any of those things to you, then I totally stink at that kind of thing.

I want to do devotions, I really do. But am I the only one who feels like bedtime lasts approximately 28 days? We start at what seems to be 7pm but by the time we are done, I swear the sun is coming up and I’ve aged a decade. Between the surprise mommy! sign this form in triplicate! to the surprise! All of a sudden I’ve developed a microscopic sore in my right nostril that you must examine …to surprise! I lost one of my stuffed animals the size of a hamster and mommy I cannot sleep without Stripey the creepy stuffed animal! It’s all I can do to shout “Jesus loves you honey” while crawling toward the TV like I’m a water-starved desert survivor.

And yes, I think praying together is important. And I want them to pray too, but I’m just gonna be real with you, it doesn’t happen every day. Most of the time, I’m praying that God will give me the strength to keep a calm and loving voice when my inner diva is screaming this mommy shift ended 45 minutes ago!

It’s just another place where I feel the deep sense of lacking, a place where I’m not sure I can ever be enough. One of the things that I believe is common to every woman is some kind of guilt. And if you feed that guilt, it functions just like pigeons in the city. Dirty pigeons in the city.

Give ‘em a little piece of bread and they pester and peck at you mercilessly.

That mother guilt comes in the form of being drop-dead sure that you MUST:

do more!!…(more bible study, more family time, more quality talks, more crafts, more imaginary play, more healthy dinners, more vegan smoothies, more organic clothing, more playdates…)

but also do less!!….(less media, less materialism, less junk food, less yelling, less sarcasm, less work….)

Guilt pigeons. Taking over my life.

And yet. Yesterday morning I helped my daughter put the finishing touches on her room, and she picked up a marker, ready to adorn her brand new white-board wall.

And all of a sudden, this:


And she says, “mommy, i know my memory verse.”

And she writes out the things she’s learning when she goes to church.

And I follow her lead and add my own verse. and I personalize it for her:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen girl, holy and dearly loved….”

And we marvel at her handiwork.

And I kiss her goodnight and we don’t pray out loud, but the moment is holy and the kingdom of heaven is among us.

And I hold that moment close because grace is what chases guilt pigeons away.

Grace reminds me that I am limited, but God is limitless.

Grace reminds me that God provides in creative and extravagant ways, and that every reminder that I am not enough I hear Him whisper I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

And I am at peace.