At iBelieve.com, we strive to offer authentic and real life stories for women in all stages of life. Being a mom can be one of the most rewarding yet most challenging time in a woman's life. Find timely advice for raising your children to love God and follow a Biblical worldview while escaping for moments of mommy encouragement and refreshment! Whether you’re a mom of 1 or 10, single mom or step mom, we want to supply you with the tools you need to be an effective example of God’s love and grace in your home!
Her socked feet pad softly across the cool hardwood; she’s the first one up. She grabs a blanket, snuggles into the couch and when our eyes connect she offers a sleepy smile, “Hi, mama.”
From my perch at the kitchen table, laptop in front of me, I stop and stare. Her messy mass of blonde hair garnishes the blanket. She is kid number 3 in my lot, and she’s perfect. It’s funny how a good night’s rest brings renewed grace to motherhood. We completely forget the hot battle it took to wrestle kids into bed the night before. It’s God’s grace I suppose.
But I stare and linger and my thoughts go astray. I wonder if I know her. Have I seen her lately - this soon to be 7-year-old? Has she been lost in the mix of children or does she feel known and unique and valued?
Motherhood guilt can rush in, quiet yet potent, at the strangest of times. I feel it when a kid shouts “Moooom, there are no clean socks!” Really, again? I’ll catch up.
I feel it when tempers flare, jagged words fly, we become a circling circus of tattle tales and “love one another” is identifiable absolutely nowhere inside the walls of my home. Clearly, I’m not doing this right.
And sometimes it’s an early morning, when I haven’t even had a chance to mess things up yet.
A girl is up with the sun and in the quiet, the stillness, I think up a variety of ways I might be failing her, failing them. Do I know her? Does she know Him? Are we all just a tumbling mass of busyness? Are we a family of rocks in the dryer, banging about noisily, yet achieving nothing?
I ask the questions, half to me, half to Him, as I watch her eyelids grow heavy on the couch and I realize something. I sometimes view motherhood as if I am a Lego mom. I’m a mom comprised of blocky bricks, towered tall in mostly primary colors.
As my children need, I give bricks away. I use bricks to patch up messes or to build them up when a friend is unkind. I use them to piece together my house when I can’t keep up with the tasks, I’m in a bind because the ballet leotard isn’t clean or I have no dinner plan. Give away bricks, patch it all together, keep all the towers from falling, seems like my life some days.
But I forget my bricks are in limited supply. Like Shel Silverstein’s Giving Tree, it is in our very nature as moms to give ourselves away until we’re a stump, an empty shell with nothing left to give.
Silverstein’s book is sadly beautiful, but it’s not a recipe for motherhood. When I scrape and scamper to patch it all together, when I give myself away to empty, I am faced with the reality that I am not limitless. The stump cannot produce branches again, leaves again, fruit again.
Transformation in motherhood begins when we turn our gaze away from our limitations and begin to point our children toward a limitless God.
The truth is, I will fail my kids. I will not meet expectations or fill every void and hollow space in their hearts. I will not seize every opportunity to give grace and show mercy, to build and grow and love perfectly. And when I live like I can, I’m believing a lie. I’m putting myself in the place of God. What a thought. How did I ever get myself there?
Here’s the thing - mama guilt is condemnation. And Truth says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. That’s pretty clear, right? There is no place for Mama guilt here.
So I’ll take myself out of the driver seat and bravely hand the keys, the control, over to the One who should be driving the car. I don’t have to give my kids all of my lego pieces, whittle myself down to a shallow stump. Sure motherhood comes with sacrifice, we get to live that out on a daily basis. But the focus here is not to give my kids me, the point is to give my kids Him.
I am enough, only because He is. My primary goal is not to give my kids more of me, but more of Him.
Do you see that? That is hope when you’re running short on Lego bricks, mama. That feels like grace when mama guilt inches into your early morning, watching your little girl sleep quiet on the couch.
You are always enough for her, God. You are enough for her sister and her brothers and her mama and daddy too. Give us grace for this day and in all my trying and striving, help me give what she truly needs, not more of me, but more of You. Amen.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com/Liderina
Katie Westenberg is a wife, mom and writer who is passionate about encouraging women to fear God and live brave. Her daily brave involves life in the countryside of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their four kids. She also enjoys traveling, reading and any adventures that include friends and family. You can find her at I Choose Brave as well as Facebook and Instagram.