Moms, Quit Beating Yourselves Up!

11:16 AMHeather

My friend Jill has embraced this hash tag on social media, as of January 1. 

#keepinitreal2014

Her posts have been refreshing and encouraging.  The older I get, the more I adore authenticity.  And she's the real deal.

In the spirit of keepin' it real, let me tell you about Tuesday night here in my humble abode.  My husband was out of town on business.  Leaving me to be P.O.D. (parent on duty).  I don't do this well.  He is my partner in everything and a better mom than I am. And, this was really just my second week back to a normal routine, post-op from my back surgery.  I was tired. Worn out.  Irritable.

Yes, bloggy friends.  A lethal combination.

So, I won't go into details about the incident.  For the sake of protecting the innocent and not so innocent.  But, I will tell you that I did an amazing job of staying calm, cool, and collected.

For about 3 minutes.  But, when pushed, in the state that I was in, I suddenly lost sight of being the person I want my children to be.  And it became a heated exchange where I quit being the grown-up role model of how to appropriately handle confrontation and angry exchanges.

I puddled.  Melted into a yelling match of showing 'em whose boss.

Not an effective parenting technique, in case you have yet to figure that out.  

There were tears (mostly mine).  Apologies (from all parties to all parties).  And then that dreaded cursed plague of Mommy Guilt.  Hitting hard.  You know the feeling if you are a parent.  (Okay, my sister-in-law with her three day old baby may have escaped this curse thus far).  

That pit in your stomach.  And because I lean to the dramatic, I do Mommy guilt full on.  No holds barred.  I am the worst mom ever.  My kids will end up hating me.  They will become sociopaths.  They will end up in prison.  They will be mean, horrible people.  They will always resent my inability to stay calm.  I'm doomed.  They're doomed.  What ever shall we do?

Am I the only parent who has perfected the art of parenting guilt over the years?   Beating myself up.  Feeling overcome and overwhelmed by these hard moments.  

We all climbed in bed that night spent, but gracious and kind with each other.  I'm afraid we were all bruised a bit and overcompensating.  I did that mental game of justifying and rationalizing why it was perfectly legitimate to lose my cool.  Then the flip flop of great regret because more than anything, I want my kids to feel loved and to know grace.  To learn how to respond with gentleness. To live out Romans 12:18:  "As far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men."

Oh, yes.  Mommy guilt has nipped at my heels pretty much since my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage.  I must've eaten the wrong things.  Maybe I wasn't cut out for mothering?  And so the list goes on.  No need to rehash it all.  I'm sure you can add some of your own doubts and fears and anxieties.

I've never been good at moving beyond the guilt.  It takes a while.  And it usually involves all sorts of promises to never repeat my poor performance.  

So I sat down defeated yesterday, ready to read my Bible.  I opened up my prayer journal and asked for a fresh word from the Lord.  Some truth to set me free.  Some wisdom about how to move forward with my kids.  Remembering my oft repeated words to them:

"No experience is a wasted experience if we can learn from it."

Here is what I felt led to write.  My very own version of Jesus Calling. Please take a moment and consider the guilt that is eating you.  And then take a deep breath.  And hear what your Heavenly Father--the perfect parent--has to say.

Dear Child,
It's a new day.  A fresh start.  New mercies.  Forgiveness.  Swim in it.  Be cleansed by it.  Be freed by it.  Grace.  Mercy.  Love.  Forgiveness.  I am here.  I am ever and always here.  You are but formed from the dust--I know this full well.  You fall.  You stumble.  You struggle against a sin nature--a selfish ambition.  You get back up.  You reach for Me.  You never give up.  You remember that I never give up on you.  We have mountains to climb and valleys to explore.  So sit.  Here at My feet.  Soak in My love.  Let it wash over you.  My beloved.  Let this be a lesson of My love and grace and mercy.  Learn from it.  Press forward.  Teach this lesson to your children.  Show them.  How to get back up.  How to rely on my grace.  Be changed by it.  Be confident of it.  It's an important life lesson.  These lessons of grace and humility are hard.  But impactful.  And useful.  As you all move on, day after day, living in a broken world with fallen people.  So don't be discouraged.  Call out to Me.  Rest on My mercies that are new every day.  Rest in My great love that you may not be consumed.  Rest in My great faithfulness.

Listen, fellow moms (and dads), there will be hard days.  There will be days you go to bed weary and exhausted by the circumstances of the day and your own response.  Guilt comes from the enemy.  Conviction comes from the Lord.  Know the difference.  Pray against guilt.  Be welcoming of conviction and new directions the Lord is pointing out for you. Remember the words of the great theologian, Elsa, from the movie Frozen. Let it go.


And fall on this great truth.  These hiccups--these hard days--are opportunities to model something of greater worth in this world to our children than our own ability to never mess up.   It's our chance to coach them how to trust in God's great love and rely on His grace and be in awe of it.  To bring our failures to Christ, fall at the cross, and let Him move us forward.  

It's our own chance to keep it real.  To be authentic and genuine in our response--humble in asking forgiveness and praying for God to fill the gaps and heal the wounds we may inflict.  It's our chance to show our kids what a real faith looks like.  How we can all be completely secure in His everlasting love.  How we can run to Him no matter how far we've wandered.  How we can let our mistakes build our faith and dependence on all that He did for us. 

Because when we strive to uphold perfection in our lives, we negate the cost and work of the cross.  We cheapen the price paid.  We deny His grace.

Just #keepinitreal2014.

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