Dear fellow Momma,
I am feeling super inadequate to try to impart some sort of words of wisdom for you as a mom (since I daily feel like I’m still trying to figure out this whole “Mom” thing). But I know that God has certainly taught me so much in my years of being a mom, so my goal today is hopefully to share some of the things I’ve learned (and am still learning) and my prayer is that God will use this to encourage you as you walk your own journey of being a mom.
As I thought about what I wanted to share with you, one of the things that kept coming back to my mind was just how much motherhood is under attack these days. The world, the devil and our own sinful flesh daily bombard us with lies about motherhood. Therefore, it is imperative to be in God’s Word daily to remind ourselves of what is true and to fight against believing the lies we are being told. So I want to take the next few minutes to just go through some of the motherhood lies that I have faced over the years and point to the truth that God gives to free us from being entrapped in believing these lies.
LIE #1 – Your failures are too big for God to overcome or use for His glory.
Yes, you will fail. Many times, in fact. But in every failure you must remember there is grace and forgiveness found in Christ. Learn to be a quick repenter and pray boldly for God to help you. His mercies are new for you every morning. Lamentations 3:21-23 says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Your failures in motherhood can be used by God as a wonderful opportunity to put his gospel on display. It is a truly humbling thing to have to repent to anyone when you sin against them. That humbling experience seems to multiply when it involves repenting to your own children. But as you display to your child (no matter how small they may be) true repentance and seeking forgiveness for failures and sins against them, you have the incredible opportunity to show them that mommy is a sinner too and to reassure them that “Jesus is a great Savior who is ready and willing to save sinners like me and you.” So can God use our failures and shortcomings as moms to put His glory on display? Absolutely! If we see them in light of His gospel and respond to them in humble repentance and faith trusting him for new morning mercies each day.
LIE #2 – I’ve got this! I’m strong enough to do this.
I truly believe motherhood is used by God as a means to reveal to us all-the-more just how weak we are in our own strength and how insufficient we are in and of ourselves to fulfill this role without his grace and power. God has certainly used the calling of motherhood in my own life to show me that I am so much weaker than I ever realized and that I am in desperate need of God’s daily sufficient grace and strength to help me in my weakness
2 Corinthians 12:9 is a verse I have needed to have imprinted on the forefront of my mind as I’ve walked this path of motherhood. It reads, “But He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Motherhood is designed by God. To think that somehow we can muster up enough strength or effort in and of ourselves to fulfill this God-ordained role is just complete insanity. But the sweet promise of 2 Corinthians 12:9 reminds us that God is able to use our weaknesses to reveal his strength. So don’t buy into the lie of the devil that you somehow have to do motherhood in your own futile strength. You are not strong enough! But praise God, your Savior is! So let your weaknesses in motherhood be used by God to be testimonies of his grace and strength at work. Allow those moments to serve as opportunities to testify to others of the faithfulness of your big God who is full of grace and is able to sustain and strengthen weak mommas like you and me.
LIE #3 – You can’t do this, so you should just quit trying.
It’s easy to want to just “check out” when you feel overwhelmed or think that you just can’t keep up with the many demands of motherhood. But remember that God did not make a mistake when He chose YOU to be your child’s mom. So on the days when you feel like giving up, remember your Lord who has sovereignly written every page of your motherhood journey. Run to him for help and trust him to give you every grace necessary for this role he has called you to. Psalm 61:1-2 says “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Never be afraid to cry out those desperate prayers of “God help me! Bring me back to the Rock of ages who alone can uphold me and help me when my weary momma heart is feeling overwhelmed.” Your Heavenly Father delights in hearing and answering those desperate prayers for help.
So yes, motherhood is hard, and yes it can feel super overwhelming at times, but there is great joy to be found in both the high mountain tops and low valleys that you will face in this journey. So when you’re on those mountains tops, recognize them as evidences of God’s kindness and love being poured out on you. And when you walk through the low valleys, remember that God is always at work both for your greatest good and his greatest glory. Remember that every event and circumstance you will face in motherhood–regardless of how big or small–has been filtered through the hands of your loving, Heavenly Father. So trust his goodness and wisdom and press on even when it’s hard. Don’t give in to the temptation to quit. Go boldly to the throne of grace and find every help and grace you need for every step of motherhood.
LIE #4 – I am on my own in this journey.
Motherhood can sometimes feel very lonely. There will be moments, no doubt, when you face a parenting struggle, or are faced with your own failures or fears in mothering that you may be tempted to think “no one else can possibly understand what I’m going through or feeling.” When these feelings and lies creep in, you must fight them with the truth that not only do you have a God who has promised to “never leave you or forsake you” and who is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses, but you are also surrounded by an army of fellow sisters in Christ who are on this journey of motherhood alongside with you. This is one of the great blessings of being vitally connected to a good church.
It can be hard and humbling to ask for help or admit to struggles in motherhood, but doing so can be such a precious means of grace as you allow other Christian moms to speak truth and encouragement to you. So fight the temptation to push aside this means of grace that God has provided in your fellow mommas within the body of Christ. I promise that as you open up and share with other moms, you will be surprised to hear just how many have faced the same or similar struggles/fears/disappointments/etc. and are able to lift you up, point you to truth and walk alongside you through all of it.
LIE #5 – Look at how well ____ is doing at this whole mom thing. You have to keep up with her in order to be a successful mom.
Don’t look to Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook to determine what “successful mothering” looks like. Look to the Word of God.
Social media can be one of the biggest tools Satan uses to cause you to fall into the “comparison” trap. Far too often when we compare ourselves to what we see other moms doing we can develop a skewed version in our own minds of what true successful mothering looks like. We’ve got to fight against this. God is the one who sets the standard for what mothers should be and do. A helpful thing to remember is that before you are a mother, you are a blood-bought daughter of Christ. And as such, your highest calling in motherhood is to be a real Christian and act like one! So what does that look like in the life of a mother?
It looks like the mother who loves the Lord supremely and loves other sincerely and teaches her children to do the same. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-7
It looks like the mother who faithfully teaches her children about the greatness, faithfulness, and goodness of God. “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” – Psalm 78:4
It looks like the mother who loves her children’s souls enough to discipline and correct them in their sin. “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” – Proverbs 13:24
It looks like the mother who is not conformed to this world and who lays down her life daily as a living sacrifice for her Lord and King. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2
It looks like the mother who loves the church and seeks to instill that love into her children as well.
So I encourage to resist the temptation to allow less important things take the place of the most important things. Your success as a mother is not found in how much you can keep up with the latest cutesy Pinterest trends for nurseries, baby fashions, birthday parties, etc. It’s not found in keeping up appearances of “having it all together as a mom.” It is found in faithfully following the standard God has set for you in his Word. It is moving forward—not perfectly—but daily in repentance and faith seeking to follow the commands and guidelines He has given in his Word.
LIE #6 – There is no high purpose in these endless mundane tasks you do day in and day out.
Recognize that changing those dirty diapers, wiping the snotty noses, fixing that millionth PB&J sandwich…and every other seemingly mundane task you will do each day has a higher purpose than what you may see in the moment. God has called you to be a mother. And as you fulfill this calling you should do so with the mindset of doing it with all your might and for His glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us that whether we eat or drink, or whatever you do, we are to do all to the glory of God. So these seemingly mundane tasks, if done with a heart and attitude seeking to bring glory to our God can be acts of worship offered up each and every day.
LIE #7 – I am in control and able to make sure that my children stay safe and are “ok”.
Having children is both a wonderful and a completely terrifying experience. Our natural mama bear instincts wants to find some magical formula or somehow develop an all encompassing bubble of protection that will ensure that we keep our children safe and happy and “ok” in this sin-filled, broken world. No doubt you’ll start to see those instincts rise to the surface the first time your little one gets sick, or hurts himself or has someone do/say something hurtful to him. And yet we have to fight to remember that though, yes, it is a good desire to want to protect our children, ultimately they are a gift entrusted to us by our sovereign, loving Heavenly Father. And he calls us to hold that precious gift of our children with open hands, not clenched fists.
So what does that look like? That looks like having the faith to remember that no matter what steps we may take, our children’s safety and wellbeing is ultimately out of our hands. That can be a terrifying thought, until we remember that they rest in the hands of our good and merciful Heavenly Father.
And so yes, motherhood can be scary. Thinking through all the possible “what ifs” regarding our kids and their safety/wellbeing can be absolutely terrifying. But we must fight to remember that God is faithful and He is so good, and His promises will never fail. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” So fight to put those momma anxieties to death and trust that as you do, God will be faithful to give you His peace that surpasses all understanding to help you guard both your heart and your mind as you trust your children to His care.
LIE #8 – My children’s salvation is dependent on how well I do as their mother. So don’t mess up!
As a Christian mother, no doubt your greatest desire for your son is that he will be brought to repentance and faith and have his heart radically changed into one that loves and serves Christ completely. We all long and pray for this for our children. And it can be a temptation for us to think that if we just follow these perfect, godly “mothering steps” and faithfully teach our children about Christ that this will somehow ensure their eventual salvation. While we are certainly charged with the high responsibility and calling faithfully to point our children to Christ, we have to fight to remember that what our children desperately need isn’t a mom who does that perfectly, what they need is what we all need—they need a mighty, merciful Savior who is willing and able to save the worst of sinners. They need Christ!
So throw away the lie that tells you that you must be the perfect Mom for your children to have any hope of knowing and loving Christ as their Savior. If that was the case, there would be no hope for any of us, because none of us is “mom-enough” to perfectly fulfill this God-given role we’ve been appointed.
But I want to end with this wonderful, hope-filled reminder written by Rachel Pieh Jones in the book Mom Enough. She writes,
“Is God ‘God enough’ to take my best, stained efforts at childbearing and craft something that brings him pleasure? Is God ‘God enough’ to turn little hearts to him, and to hold them there?…God always has been, and always will be, God enough. The battle is over, whether or not I believe it, and whether or not I delight in God’s enoughness…. Living in his perfect sufficiency, I will live to parent for another day. Never mom enough, but filled with the One who is always enough.”