What a gentle, glorious privilege to be a Mom!
From the moment that little one comes into the world after nine months of preparation that seem so slow and suddenly sped up so quickly, our world is transformed.
Motherhood has a way of shaping and defining us. It reveals the virtues and flaws in our character. It forces us to run to Jesus for help, wisdom, and strength.
I talk to so many mothers who feel discouraged and weary. They long to be perfect mothers and often believe lies about themselves, their children, and their ability to parent.
This article is for every Mom out there who is believing lies.
I want you to STOP believing lies and BELIEVE God's TRUTH!
You see, as Christians, we are in a battle. Goodness vs. Evil. Light vs. Dark. God's Kingdom vs. Satan's Kingdom. Our battles often begin in the mind where we start believing Satan's lies and soon we are immobilized.
Sweet sister in Christ, Jesus has overcome the lies of the enemy! He has defeated Satan! The accuser has been hurled down forever!
With those truths in mind, let's examine some of the lies that have weighed you down and hindered your ability to mother the precious treasures God has given you.
I'm the Wrong Person to Raise this Child
Yes, every Mom has wondered if God made a mistake. Oh, they would never say it like that. They just feel they are not the right person to raise a particular child or all of the children. Maybe the child is brilliant and you are just average in intelligence. Maybe the child is musically gifted and you can't even clap in time with music. Maybe the child is so strong-willed and you are weary from disciplining him. Maybe she is moody and sullen; nothing you do makes her smile.
Whatever the reason, we think someone else would do a better job.
God chose you!
I have two examples from Scripture that I want to share with you: Abraham and Esther.
"Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many" (Isaiah 51:2 NASB).
Abraham was called to be the Father of a great nation, but he and his wife couldn't even have a child. He stood in faith and today his descendants are still a great nation.
Esther was challenged by her uncle when she was afraid that God had a plan for her. "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 12:14 NASB).
The Lord also chose you to raise this child. Don't look at your circumstances. Look at Jesus. He called you and He will equip you!
I'm Ruining My Kids
All Moms feel this way at some point. They may be struggling with anger or sadness and taking it out on the children. Maybe you are disorganized and keep forgetting to get your children vaccinated like I did. Hey, what's wrong with getting their first vaccine at seven years old, anyway?
The sad truth is that you will blow it and make many mistakes. I started off wanting to be a perfect Mom only to discover that I was full of selfishness and other flaws that hurt my children. It is true that we can harm and hurt our children, but we cannot ruin them because there is someone else in the picture
Here's another truth: It's not all about you. God is bigger than your flaws and shortcomings. He will actually pour out grace in your weakness and turn everything around for good. His grace really is sufficient. Even though you will never be a perfect Mom, you will not ruin your children. Even the hurts can open our child's eyes to see that they need a perfect parent.
In mothering, as we surrender to Him, he will love and train through us. You see, children don't need perfect parents, they need parents who look to Jesus.
"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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me" (II Corinthians 12:9 NASB).
If I Love My Children, They will Love me Back, Meeting my Emotional Needs
Let me just be honest here. Your children don't know how to love, yet. They are learning to love from the way you love them unconditionally. You may find yourself saying, "I'm sorry you hate me today, but I still love you and always will." Other times they will be full of affection for you. Their emotions run hot and cold. You must be the stable one.
Moms can't look for children to meet their emotional needs. Motherhood is a one-way street. Children, even grown children can tend to see their Mom as a non-person who simply exists to meet their needs. Yet, that doesn't last forever. Eventually, our children will love us back, but not after a long time of us loving them and expecting nothing in return.
Need some help in that department? I know someone who loved and loved and loved before His children finally loved Him back.
"We love because he first loved us" (I John 4:19 NASB).
If I Need a Break from My Kids, I Don't Really Love Them
Motherhood is a 24/7 job. Moms are even on call in the middle of the night. Be realistic. You need a break sometimes. Even Jesus, who is LOVE, went off by Himself at times to be refreshed by His Father. If He did it and He is our perfect example of love, you taking a break doesn't mean you don't love your children. In fact, you will be able to love them more effectively if you allow yourself to be refreshed now and again.
"Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:15-16 NASB).
The Extra Pounds from the Baby Make Me Unattractive
The world's standards of beauty change like shifting shadows. When I was a little girl, there was a regular ad in my favorite comic book that said in bold letters, "Are you too skinny?" Nowadays bony thin is popular.
True beauty is timeless. A beautiful woman is still beautiful if she is ten pounds underweight or twenty pounds overweight. True beauty flows from the inside and doesn't fade away.
In a practical way, most men do not share the Hollywood standard of emaciated beauty. So, relax, enjoy the babyhood season. The weight will come off before you know it!
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight" (I Peter 3:3-4 NASB).
I Should Focus on Keeping My Children Happy
If you spend your time trying to keep your children happy, you will raise self-centered children who live to have fun no matter who they hurt.
It is wise to focus on teaching children to know and live for Jesus rather than trying to make them happy. Honor Jesus, walk in His ways, and follow the leading of the Spirit. Happiness is a byproduct. God's ways bring joy! Those who seek happiness often find it elusive, while those who seek to love the Lord and others, find joy bubbling up in their hearts.
When the disciples were excited at how the Lord used them to drive out demons, Jesus reminded them not to seek happiness in circumstances, but to rejoice because we belong to the Lord. True happiness comes from knowing that we are loved. Reminding our kids that they are loved by the Lord and their parents will give them a constant, unchanging focus to be thankful for.
"Jesus replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:18-20 NASB).
My Children's Bad Behavior Means I'm a Bad Mother
Why are we surprised when our children misbehave? The Bible tells us that "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away" (Proverbs 22:15 NASB).
We should expect our children to struggle and fail because they are still young with a lot of foolishness inside. I like to get excited when my children obey and do the right thing!
A good mother doesn't have perfect children. A good mother is loving and consistent. All mothers have children that misbehave.
I Can't Control My Children without Raising My Voice
It can feel that we have more power when our voice is loud, but it is really the opposite. When you have to raise your voice to get children to obey, you have lost a little battle. It is better to keep your voice quiet, look your children in the eye, and ask them to do what you want them to do. "Please bring me the towel behind you." If children don't obey immediately then give a gentle consequence. When you address disobedience quickly, you will find that you don't get to the point of anger.
Giving a gentle answer and tone of voice can be learned. Don't give up if you struggle with anger. Keep praying and asking the Lord to remove anger and fill your heart with love, kindness, and compassion.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:29-32 NASB).
Technology is Good for My Children
"I got a computer for my daughter's third birthday," a young father informed me. I was shocked. What happened to blocks, dolls, and balls? Our culture is filled with screens, but we can be different. Screens strain the eyes and lots of time in front of the television, video games, and computers shortens attention spans.
Old-fashioned toys are not only cheaper, but they allow imaginative play. There's plenty of time for technology when children get older. In the meantime, give children plenty of time in the fresh air and sunshine with a sandbox, a bat, a ball, and a kite.
When it's time for technology, it is important to instill discernment so that children can navigate the online world of temptation with purity.
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4: 8 NASB).
This Child is too Difficult for Me to Raise
Some children seem extremely challenging to raise. Yes, some of us have "that child!" When Julianna was a little girl, if there was silence, I knew she was up to something. Yikes! Where was she and what was she doing? Was she putting baby powder in the moving boxes? Was she emptying all my perfume bottles? Was she sticking all my sanitary pads to the bathroom walls? There was just no telling. Don't worry! She grew up to be a loving, generous person who is an example of everything a godly woman should be. Hey, there were many challenging moments, but I had a secret weapon. The Lord was with me. And if God is with us, what can be impossible.
Sometimes, parents can make one child a scapegoat, blaming all the family's problems on that child. If your "difficult to raise" child is a scapegoat that everyone points the finger at, it's time for change! You and your husband can ask Jesus for new eyes to see your son or daughter, faith for the future, and more love and wisdom to raise this child.
A child's strength is often masked in childhood by the flip side. For example, a strong leader is often a bossy child who orders his siblings around and tells you what to do. Compassion can appear in childhood as emotions that are out of control. Ask God to show you the flip-side of your child's weakness (his strength) and thank God daily for that strength while cultivating it any way you can.
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 NASB).
Staying Home with My Children is Wasting My Talents & Gifts
The Lord gives us a beautiful picture in Titus 2:3-5 of a mother with young children. She is loving her family, creating a home for them, and walking in purity and self-control. After addressing the men and slaves for how they should behave, Paul ends by saying that our behavior will make the Gospel attractive. So me lovingly caring for my children and creating a home will make the Gospel attractive! That alone shows that my talents and gifts are put to good use in my home if it makes the Gospel attractive.
In addition, all you have to do is look at adults who have been invested in by their mothers and those who grew up in daycares and as latch-key kids. Children need their mothers. You are raising healthy children who feel valued and are being nurtured. Healthy children grow up to be kind, hardworking adults, making the world a more pleasant place. Staying home with children changes the world!
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God...so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (Titus 2:3-5, 10 NASB).
My Children Deserve a Better Mom
When we assume our children deserve a better Mom we are assuming that we are not the best possible Mom for our children. I believe God loves our children more than we do. He wants to give them the best! Did you ever think that you are the best possible Mom your child could ever have? That you are a gift, not a liability?
We tend to focus on the negative aspects rather than the positive when we think about ourselves. Take a minute and think of all the reasons you are a great Mom. Make a list. Stop focusing on the negative.
Yes, all Moms have faults, but even those can be used by the Lord to bring about good. God called you to be a mother and in the process of mothering, he is conforming you to the image of Christ.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified" (Romans 8:28-30 NASB).
I Will Be Happy When...
Sometimes we live in a state of perpetual: "I will be happy when..." (fill in the blank with "we buy a house," "I lose this weight," "my husband gets a raise," or "I wean the baby."
We are unhappy now, but in the future we will be happy if a certain thing happens.
What if you make the choice to count your blessings and enjoy your life right now? The Lord has blessed you. Yes, you may have challenges, but there are blessings, too. Can you count the blessings? Can you rejoice in your salvation? If so, you will find a change in your heart. You can be happy now, rather than someday.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4 NASB).
If I'm Doing Everything Right, Motherhood will be Easy
The Bible doesn't ever say that life will be easy. In fact, if you read the book of Hebrews, you will meet heroes of the faith that have endured tons of hardship. The myth that anything valuable is easy is just that: a myth.
Even Jesus assured us that we will have troubles.
The good news is that Jesus has overcome the world! This brings us peace when motherhood is hard.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 NASB).
All the Other Moms Know What They are Doing
I have talked to countless mothers who feel scared and insecure. In fact, most mothers want to grow into better mothers, even those that seem practically perfect.
If you struggle with insecurity or fears, you are not alone.
All mothers need encouragement. Don't be intimidated by other mothers. Learn from their mothering strengths, but realize that they need encouragement, too.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB).
No One Understands What I'm Going Through
Motherhood can be challenging and we can feel alone in our troubles.
The truth is that other mothers are faced with temptations and struggles, too. Many of them will understand.
In a deeper way, Jesus, our high priest has been tempted in every way we have been, but was without sin.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" (I Corinthians 12:13 NASB).
My Life will Never Be the Same
This is both true and false.
The truth is that your life will never be the same. Motherhood changes you forever.
On the other hand, if you are sleepy and weary because you have a newborn baby, that season will not go on forever. Eventually your baby will sleep through the night. If your preteen is an emotional volcano, eventually his emotions will stabilize.
God has started a good work in your life, he will keep working on it. As a mother, isn't that good news. Jesus is doing a good work in you. I like that!
"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:4 NASB).
You don't have to believe lies anymore!
You can trust in the truth that the Lord has called you to be a mother and He will pour out grace for you in every circumstance, need, worry, and defining moment. Jesus is with you! He has chosen you to be the mother that your children need. He will pour His Spirit into you and through you to bring life to your children. As you invest in them, you can be guaranteed that you will reap a harvest if you don't give up!
Motherhood is a sacred calling. God has entrusted you with young hearts. He wants to impart life and strength to you so that you can rule and reign as a Mom. At the same time, Jesus loves our children. He loves to work through us to love, train, and bless our children. You can trust Him in this adventure of motherhood.
Please stop listening to lies and start believing the truth.
When I began my motherhood adventure, I was far away from my mother and grandmother. I felt so scared, so in need of wisdom. I was blessed to meet some wonderful moms at church who took me under their wings and read some amazing books by Christian women who influenced and inspired me.
When my daughters were in high school, I put together a course on motherhood, God's Girls 104: Motherhood, for them to prepare them for later in life when they would become mothers of their own children.
You can purchase God's Girls 104: Motherhood at Amazon. Purchase the E-books at PayHip and TeachersPayTeachers.
You can learn more about God's Girls 104: Motherhood here.
God bless you in your quest to grow as mothers and train your daughters to be mothers one day.
Oh, and Happy Mother's Day!