Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mommy Guilt

Welcome to motherhood: Failure is Guaranteed. I'm not saying you are going to fail completely and screw your kids up for life (although we feel that way all too often). But you will mess up. You will struggle. At times, you will fail.

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. (Proverbs 24:16)

See, it's even in the Bible. Which means it's a promise to you; you will fail from time to time.

But just because God knows I am going to fail does not stop me from feeling sad about it, condemned, or guilty.... oh that mommy guilt is some powerful stuff. It can knock you off your feet into a heaping ball of mommy failure, and uncertain if you can (or want to) get back up again. It will make you want to just give up. It will make you certain that someone else, anyone else could do a better job. It's defeat.

Nobody ever said mother hood was easy. It is NOT for the faint of heart. It is not even for men. You see, while Dads may carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, I am convinced that mother's carry the weight of the entire universe on their shoulders. Not only do we have to keep up with house work and school work, finances, jobs, activities, laundry, meals, bills, doctor appointments and all that life 'stuff', but we carry around this nagging feeling in the back of our head that every time we do our children wrong, we've ruined them for life. Defeat. I wish I was more like my husband in that respect; he's a good dad, but he fails every now and then. No problem. 99% of the time he does an awesome job, he keeps his cool, and he really enjoys his kids. Not once does he waste an ounce of energy focusing on his 1% of failure. That's why the term 'Daddy Guilt' hasn't been coined. Not me. When defeat comes knocking on my door I completely forget about what an awesome mom I am 99% of the time. I forget about anything good I have done, all I can see is that 1% of failure, and it’s paralyzing. Enter; Mommy guilt.

Until one day someone spoke Truth over me (if you don't have at least one Truth-speaker in your life; get one!). She told me exactly what I needed to hear. You see, the last thing I want to hear when I know I have failed is for someone to pat me on a back and say “It’s okay, don’t worry about it. You’re only human, we all makes mistakes.” No, I’d much rather call sin, sin. I don’t want anybody to sugar coat my short-comings. What I need is to be reminded of Grace. Reminded of second chances and reminded that God is slowly growing me and making me more Christ-like everyday, but that it is a slow process. One made slower by sleep deprivation and rambunctious 6 year olds. And that’s what she did, she reminded me that there was no condemnation for those who are in Christ {Romans 8:1}. I’d heard that verse 1,000 times, but that day all I heard was...

"There is no mommy-guilt for those in Christ Jesus. There is NO Mommy-guilt for those in Christ Jesus. THERE IS NO MOMMY-GUILT FOR THOSE IN CHRIST JESUS..." over and over again the Holy Spirit spoke truth into me. And I was able to once again put one foot in front of the other and move past my defeat.

And then it occurred to me; do you know why God put that verse in the Bible? Not so that we could do whatever we want without feeling bad about it. No, He put that in there for his children. Because he can't use you when you are paralyzed by defeat. He put that in there for the mother that loves Jesus so much that her heart truly breaks when she feels as if she has done something to disappoint her father. And that's what pleases him the most; not my performance as a mother, but my heart. God loves me not because I am a good mother, but because I am his child and he is a perfect Father.

So remember sweet mama, failure is guaranteed. But so is forgiveness; his Grace is enough.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Joyfully Married

I clean house for a lady who has a home full of Christian books. Recently, while dusting, I stumbled across one with the title "Sacred Marriage" with the caption "What if God designed marriage to make you holy, not happy?" Wow, what an amazing thought to ponder on the true design for God's marriage. It also got me thinking; what other misconceptions do we have about marriage? And if we changed the way we truly thought about the way marriage was supposed to make us feel, wouldn't that result not in a happier marriage, but a more joyful marriage? One in which its joy was not dictated by our spouses actions, but by our own? I recently celebrated my 8th wedding anniversary and please hear me on this; in no way am I claiming to have a perfect marriage. We argue (but we forgive). We disagree (but we compromise). We make mistakes (but we grow from them). We have a long way to go, but thankfully the Lord blessed me with a very, very patient man who seems to love me like crazy even though, quite frankly, I drive him crazy . So here's a little list of marriage promises I came up with, and I hope it will bless you in your marriage as well.

Marriage is not a promise to always be in love with each other, but a promise always be loving to one another.

Marriage is not a promise to always have what you want, but a promise to always meet each others needs.

Marriage is not a promise to change each other, but to continue to grow together.

Marriage is not a promise to always look good for one another, but a promise to always look for the good in each other.

Marriage is not an opportunity to feel appreciated, but an opportunity to be grateful.

Marriage is not a promise to never fight, but always to forgive.

Marriage is less of an opportunity to speak your mind; and more of an opportunity to hold your tongue.

Marriage is not an opportunity to find yourself but to give of yourself.

Marriage is not an opportunity to be served, but to serve.

Marriage is not an promise to always agree with one another, but to always support one another .

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Colossians 3:18-19

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
Proverbs 12:4