Many moms work hard to:
- help their children reach the “normal” developmental milestones;
- get their kids to eat healthy, make healthy friendships, and develop good character;
- allow their kids to attend good schools or to homeschool them.
Moms have so many hopes and dreams for their children, but at the same time they struggle with the questions and fears of, “Will I screw them up?”
Other moms' “normal” struggles are heightened as they mother children who:
- are fostered or adopted and struggle with attachment and/or other trauma related issues;
- have special needs or developmental issues which are confusing, overwhelming, scary, and difficult to understand;
Foster and Adoptive moms work hard to help their children through behavioral problems, developmental delays, and physical issues.
These moms have many of the same hopes and dreams for their children as all moms do, and at the same time they struggle with the question and fears of, “Is what I have to offer enough?”
Then there are the moms who only dream of having the afore mentioned struggles.
- These moms struggle with the aches of never holding their baby or holding him or her for only a short time.
- They grieve over the lost hopes and dreams of what might have been – at the same time they struggle with the questions and fears of “Why?” and “Is this my reality?”
Moms, I want to have an honest talk. I think we are hurting one another more than helping one another. What I see on social media and read in most parenting self-help books places a focus on the wrong thing. Most of what I read places our focus on our children. Now, don't get me wrong. Our children are important and they are gifts from the Lord. We have an important responsibility to raise them up well. However, if our focus is on our kids and all the ways we could possibly screw up as parents, the ways we are unable to parent, or on the question of whether we will ever be a parent…we are off focus.
We are told in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 where our focus needs to be. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Within that same chapter, parents are instructed to teach their children to do the same by telling them about all the ways the Lord has been faithful to them.
Notice that the focus of this scripture is not on the parents or on the possible problems with the children. Is this because God was minimizing the problems parents will have raising children? I don’t think so. I think it's the opposite. I think that the author of this scripture knows that no matter what problem that might arise as a parent, our focus should be on the character of God and how He proves Himself faithful in the midst of the struggle.
Moms, I believe this means we need to make a few changes.
One of the first changes we need to make is to become more aware.
- We need to be aware of what our actual struggle is. If you are struggling to know how to parent a particular issue, most of the time our struggle is not what our child’s struggle is. Rather our struggle is how we as moms are going to be able to help our child through that struggle. It’s a personal issue. The problem is then an issue of fear or inadequacy. It is a lack of belief in the truth that God has given you your child to parent because He knew that if you are the best parent for this child.
- We need to become more aware of God’s character. If you are struggling to know “why” God has allowed certain circumstances to occur that has left you with empty arms, the focus is on the question and not on the character of God. I say this as gently as I possibly can with the empathy of someone who has never held a biological child in her arms. Our hope is not in our circumstances. Our hope is in who He is. God is Good. God is Faithful. God is our Comfort. While it is absolutely necessary to grieve losses of children and dreams, we must not stay there. We must turn our eyes towards Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
- We need to become aware of the moms around us. Our voicing of struggles can hurt some and stir up continued confusion or hopelessness in others. We as moms are all struggling with some area of parenting. From a loss of dreams to a loss of hope; from concerns about a child’s issue to outright panic that the child is screwing up his/her life; from tiredness after a hard day to utter exhaustion from some hard years.
Second, rather than just talking about the problems and focusing on how hard it is to be a mom, let’s be honest about the problems and encourage one another by walking hand in hand to the throne of the Father. Let’s stop complaining and let’s start praying with and for one another. Let’s accept that being a mom is not for the faint of heart and rejoice that the Lord has promised to equip us with everything we need. Let’s be honest about our weaknesses and watch how God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
What does this mean practically? Here are a few steps that will help you on your way.
Step 1: Recognize your thoughts and emotions surrounding the mom struggle.
Step 2: Be honest with a trusted friend about this struggle and the thoughts and emotions that are coming with it. If you do not have a mom friend who you feel comfortable being honest with, ask the Lord to bring you one. Then, in faith, look for opportunities for relationships He brings your way.
Step 3: Ask the Lord what you are believing in this situation about yourself or about Him.
Step 4: Be honest with yourself, with your friend, and with the Lord about whether this belief is true. What is the truth? (Note: Our emotions are messengers that tell us what our beliefs are. We can know based on our emotions whether our functional beliefs are equal to our stated beliefs. Be willing to be honest about your functional beliefs.)
Step 5: Confess any lies you are believing to the Lord.
Step 6: Ask the Lord to forgive you for believing and functioning from those lies rather than truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to move through you and clean out all the areas that this lie has touched. Remember, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. You can immediately thank the Lord for the forgiveness He gives.
Step 7: Confess the truths from which you are desiring to function.
Step 8: Ask your friend to help hold you accountable to function from these truths when she notices you being tempted to believe the lies.
Moms, let’s start a new trend. Let’s start a trend where we are encouraging one another and building each other up. Let’s don’t focus on the problems and hardships that are inevitably going to be there for us as moms. Let’s focus on our Father who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Let’s focus on The One who promised to give us everything we need to complete our tasks. Let’s focus on The One who completes the work He has started in us. Let’s be real, both about our problems and also about our God. May Mother’s Day 2017 be filled with truth and promise about who you are and who God is!