Some days, I fall so far short on the mom measure. It can feel like what I’m doing wrong far outweighs what I’m doing well.
And I know I’m not the only one. I talked to another mom recently who by all counts has a lovely family with lovely children. She is doing a marvelous job from all that I can see.
And yet, our conversation started with tears. She’d had a series of hard days. The kind of days where our faults taunt us. The kind of days that leave us wondering whether we’re doing any good as a mom at all.
It’s not the criticism and judgment of others that takes us down; it’s our own.
This morning in the car, I caught a broadcast by a well-known Christian speaker. He was talking to parents, advising how we should engage our children given some of the current dangers in our culture. He said we should be talking about this issue by the time our kids are five years old and continue well into their teens.
Even as he talked, I realized I’d already failed. Those ages have come and gone. We’ve had some conversations but they were much later and not very often and I began to wonder — maybe we hadn’t talked enough? Maybe I hadn’t prepared them enough?
And then there are things like this: my kids didn’t get an Easter basket this weekend. For the first time since my oldest was old enough, there were no baskets waiting on the hearth for them. I just ran out of hours.
I wanted to start a Facebook group for all the moms in the trenches. I’d start the posts: “Please tell me I am not the only mom who was too exhausted to get Easter baskets. Please tell me I am not the only mom who needs to up her game of preparing kids for this culture.”
Truth is, most of us are working h a r d at parenting. We’re taking them to church, memorizing verses, working on character, giving them chores, helping with school, planning activities. We know we’re getting some things very right but we’re also painfully aware we’re getting our fair share wrong. And missing other things altogether.
But a Facebook support group isn’t the answer. We could all comment in support of each other, commiserate and give an atta-girl but what we really need? Prayer.
There’s a gap between who I am and what my kids need and it will never be filled by trying harder. When I’m feeling less-than as a mom and defeated by the huge task of parenting, I need to go to God.
So from one mom in the trenches to another, here is a prayer for moms:
Lord, be our guide. Give us wisdom to say the right words, to make good decisions and to know what counts and what doesn’t. Help us turn to you first, before our friends or a book or anyone else who might offer what our ears want to hear. Teach us to search for wisdom in your Word and through prayer. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
Remove our idolatry. Some days, we will look polished and shiny and we can start to puff up that we’ve got this parenting down. But then there are days that reveal how messy we really are. Help us know we are not shining trophies for a shelf. We are shepherding souls. Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory. Psalm 115:1
Empower us by Your spirit to do what we cannot. We might be able to clean bathrooms in our flesh, but oh man does a day of errands with the littles remind us how much we need your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. Fill it up in us before we require it from our children. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Help us to understand Your grace – to really know that no matter how our day has gone or how we’d measure ourselves as moms, You don’t use yardsticks. Help us grasp the depth of your grace given without limit and without right so that we can lavish it on the people in our home. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
You have promised that love covers a multitude of sins. How we need that Lord. On our best days, our sins stack high. Help us to be humble and sincere with our family, to apologize and keep no list of offenses. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Keep us thirsty for you. Give us a craving that is satisfied only in You. Help us carve out time to read your Word and to guard that time at all cost. Help us adjust the noise of this world and the pulls on our schedule so that we can be fed full before we pour out to our family. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Psalm 143:8
Lord, parenting is a holy task and kingdom work. When the days feel mundane and we are undone by the challenges, give us eyes that see as You see and an undivided heart. Being unable is right where You want us. You delight in our weakness. For it’s in our very weakness, that Your power is made strong. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 1 Corinthians 12:9
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