Recently, I was asked to share a few words about my journey into motherhood with my MOPs group. My first thought was to focus on my fabulous children and the happiness they bring to my life, but that isn't the whole story…
I am FLAWED
The first word that comes to mind when I think of my motherhood journey is flawed. That is not the touchy-feely sentiment one expects to read from a woman with small children. Phrases like Crazy but beautiful; Blessed beyond measure; and Joyous chaos, are what people expect to read about mothering.
But flawed? That sounds a bit negative.
Perhaps, but it is a truth I cannot escape. I am riddled with flaws…as a human being, as a wife, and as a mother. I too often nurture the selfish bents in my personality. Sometimes, my reserves of patience, sympathy, compassion, and grace reach significant lows. In these moments I substitute kind words with sarcasm; soft tones with raging bellows; and gentle correction with abrasive remarks.
While "flawed" is one word I associate with being a mother, thankfully it is not alone. The next word that accompanies me throughout my mothering journey is much bigger than my flaws. It is a word wrapped in beauty. It is an agent of freedom and healing. It is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is at its best when behavior is at its worst; and it is spotted daily in my home. As a mother, I bestow forgiveness on my children when they do wrong…and I humbly ask for their forgiveness when I do wrong.
I am FORGIVEN
I did not fully comprehend the loveliness of forgiveness until I learned to accept it as a personal gift from Jesus. I became a Christian many years ago when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and knew in theory that I was forgiven. However, I didn't bask in the freedom of that forgiveness until recently.
Before unwrapping this gift entirely, I lived in bondage and fear. When I made a mothering mistake, I could not let it go. Guilt mocked my every step. Failure became my middle name and I feasted daily on defeat.
While it is necessary to admit to our mistakes and learn from them, it is a liability to wallow in the guilt they bring. I did a lot of wallowing, which increased feelings of sadness…which increased feelings of tension and irritability…which decreased my level of patience and ability to handle stressful situations… which led to more mistakes…which led to more wallowing. It was an ugly cycle and it continued until a Christian counselor looked me in the eye and firmly, yet lovingly spoke truth.
What a wonderful post.
Motherhood seems to have left me questioning many of my abilities – especially as they have gotten older.
Thank you for sharing this.
Angela, your story could be my story — up until the part about your wise Christian counselor, I thought I was reading about myself. Though I do at times look back with regret and often wished I’d done things differently, I have learned to forgive myself as I know the Lord forgives me. But what do you do when your husband continues to hold grudges against you? We are separated now, with too much pain and bitterness between us. Please pray for us, and for our three dear teenage children.
As a mother of 2 young adult sons, and 1 teenage daughter…. I have more that a few words to describe my journey. But, I’ll have to say that my biggest word these past few years is: Regret. While the kids were small and growing, I tried to make sure I held, rocked, read, sang to, talked about Jesus, prayed with, played with, etc. I did not want to live with regrets when they were gone from home. Well, guess what? It didn’t work.
As I was living it, motherhood for me was summed up in one word ‘struggle.’ I have sweet memories and photos to remind me that it was good, but it was tough while on the playing field because I had to make split second decisions every day and I often felt scared as I maneuvered each day. I wanted to be perfect and better than what I’d gotten while I was growing up. I wanted my children to have confidence in themselves and not have to feel the pain I did. I often deeply wished I’d had good role models to follow. I had to read and make it up on my own. I definitely felt flawed; but when I look at the results, I see strong sturdy young people; and I still love being the wind beneath their wings.
Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama says
Oh that photograph about took my breath away – just gorgeous. Because, motherhood is joy underneath it all. Underneath all the flaws and heartache it is such profound joy. Thank you for sharing!
You struck a chord here. Thank you for writing such truth. “It is only through the grace of Christ that I can be who I need to be for my family. And it is only Christ who can give us exactly what we need…He alone is our enough. He is enough for me.” YES!!! Thank you for this post. I think so many of us, as moms, are realizing that we absolutely can not be who we need to be for our families. **But. God.** He gives us the grace of Christ. And I also so badly need it. Every single dingle day! Just ask my kids.
Um…are you always writing about me? You strike the chord in me and my life. Crazy how we can relate so well.
Thanks for the words – descriptions and your honesty.
I LOVE this. I have SOOO needed this. I am SOOO right in the trenches of EVERYTHING you’ve written here. I am incredibly grateful for your truth and for the truth that you spoke to my heart today. THANK YOU.
Em Webb says
Loved this Angela!
When I think of motherhood, I think of the word re-do. I’d love to have known then what I have come to know now. Although, things would have probably been different in other ways, and thankfully God’s grace has covered me in this area as well.
Thanks for sharing this!
Jenn @ Beautiful Calling says
Awesome post. So often we do hear about the joys of motherhood – and there are many but your story is so much more real and encouraging!
Praise the Lord for His work in your life, in mine and in mothers around the world!
Melissa Multitasking Mama says
So important to remember that we were chosen to be their parents, even if we don’t feel up to the task somedays. Beautiful post =)