What is true.

This is what my husband brought to my bed yesterday morning. He knows that I would usually prefer an experience over a thing (though I’ll admit I like things) and my ultimate experience usually involves food. So, when it’s my birthday or Mother’s Day or some other type of needy Micha day, I get breakfast in bed and I milk it for all it’s worth. There was no way I was getting out of bed before 9:30 yesterday. I stayed in my covers and read my book. And it was awesome.

Then, I thought, my mother would never have stayed in bed till 9:30! And August has been waiting to have his breakfast this whole time because I’ve been letting Chris cook this incredible meal for me. The little guilt bird in my brain started chirping and chirping. It won’t shut up lately.

I can’t seem to stop thinking about my faults as a mother. I’m sure that’s because August has become much more difficult since Brooks was born. More tantrums, deeper layers of stubbornness, a personality trait so different than my own people-pleasing character that does not care if his parents are upset with him. (When I was a kid, I cried when my parents shook their heads at me in disappointment.) Suddenly, all the things I felt like I knew about motherhood don’t seem to make sense anymore. I feel like I’m floundering. Do I scream too much? Do I expect too much? Am I too harried? Am I not teaching August to clean his toys up because I’m still really bad at cleaning my stuff up? My brain is full of questions about my worth as a mom, my failures as a mom, my fears for how I might damage my kids.

Chris is quick to remind me that every child of every parent is damaged because we’re all broken. So it’s our job to remain prayerful in the decisions we’re making with our kids, to be humble when we’ve made a poor decision, and ultimately, to pray for God to fill in the gaps with his grace.

Friday, during naptime, I found myself praying (miracle, I know!) and these were the fears I was listing out for God: every possible thing I could be doing wrong, every fear about the kind of mother I am. And you know what I felt God was saying to me? It was this: What if every thing you’re afraid of is true? What if you are the failure you’re afraid you are? What’s true about Me then?

That’s when I realized that even if all I do to love my kids fails them, God’s grace is still deep enough to heal them, to bring them out of childhood with hope and peace and wisdom. That’s what it means that I get to live with hope and security in my life and calling. However I fail, I believe in a God who not only rescues this flailing woman, but also the souls I flail against.

That’s my relief, even if my brain tortures me. That, and really yummy French toast.



Filed under Motherhood, the Praying Life

10 responses to “What is true.

  1. Sam

    I was the same kind of kid, Micha. Seriously. Very rarely was spanked (in a loving, responsible manner) because my feelings would be hurt if you spoke sharply to me. My own child is NOT the same way! I struggle with discipline in so many ways. I think I have things figured out and then it seems like I have a hooligan on my hands, a wild thing straight out of Maurice Sendak’s book. (Oh, the cleaning up part? Are we twins?)

    I’m sure it did not kill August to wait for breakfast, right? And maybe your mom would have given anything to stay in bed ONE day out of the year. Accept the gifts, I say!

    And I think we know – down deep – that we can do our best (and sometimes, our worst) to raise our children, but we can’t control the outcome. All we can do is fill them up with love – really, that’s the most basic thing I can think of, both our love and to open them up to God’s love – and set them loose, eventually. There’s so much more, but if we can get that one basic thing established, it goes a long way.

  2. Andrea

    oh man, i hear ya sister. i hear ya.

  3. MLL

    Oh my word, you have no idea how timely this post was for me. Now I’m crying and getting my keyboard wet. Thanks so much for your posts and your honesty. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you too, Melanie. I’m always so thankful when something I’m going through speaks to a friend as well. Blessings on us both as we listen to the truth and not the lies in our brains!

  4. Elaine…I feel like I had this exact same process almost exactly a year ago. Jesus was so sweet to speak to me through Hebrews 4 on a particularly flaily (i just made up that word) kind of day. His words to me sounded something like this, “Guess what,…you aren’t a very good redeemer. If you insist on being the redeemer for your kids, I will certainly let you try. But you will be exhausted and filled with fear, and whatever you do manage to accomplish in their lives will fall far short of what I have for them. Leave it to me. Rest in the knowledge that I have completed the work of redemption and am at work pursuing your kids for my glory. And then, just live your life as their mother, with all her frailties, whose greatest strength is that she loves me more than anything. That is your job. The rest is mine. Rest.”

    Okay, so I’m paraphrasing, but that is what I have spent the last year trying to learn how to do. And the “rest” is making a difference in the way I parent my kids. It really is!

    The fears may only get worse, Elaine. Once they start to venture outside your home on their own, it’s a whole other type of fear. Fear because we can’t protect them from everything (like kindergartners who educate the rest of their class on sex!…uh…yep…that happened), and even when we try and feel like we are succeeding, it only takes one moment of our own anger to realize that we can’t keep them from brokenness for long. I am so thankful that Jesus uses us to teach them who he is and why we need him so much. But, I am also thankful his redemption for them is not based on how great my faith is…cause I would seriously screw that up.

    You are such a great mom. And, he picked you for them. August and Brooks have all that they need.

    • Elaine, Thank you. “…whose greatest strength is that she loves me more than anything.” What a sweet truth to hear today. I’m so grateful for you. (And I got to read your article in the YL newsletter today! You’re so famous!)

  5. Just found your blog and I love it. I can relate to so much of what you say.

  6. Mollie

    Wow. Thank you so much! I struggle with feelings of … well, abject fear, that I’m going to screw up my daughter. Knowing that God is greater than my mistakes is a hard thing to remember. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in that. I just found your blog and am bookmarking! Thanks again.

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