April 12, 2018
Ever felt like the Ping-Pong ball in a heated match ... bouncing between feeling like a good mom to a bad mom?
My kids are older (and mostly out of the house now) but, oh, how I remember the intensity of those feelings when they were younger.
Like the time we volunteered to keep the class guinea pig over spring break, much to my daughter’s delight. After all, we had a hamster we adored, so we were highly qualified ... GOOD MOM!
Two weeks before spring break our pet hamster had an accident and made an early exit from this world. I got a letter from the principal informing me that after hearing about our unfortunate hamster situation, we were unfit class guinea pig babysitters ... BAD MOM!
Another time, I delighted the teacher by showing up on time to read to the class ... GOOD MOM!
That same day, a teacher emailed ... listing three parents who hadn’t turned in permission slips, and I was on the list for all the world to see ... BAD MOM!
I would make sure my kids packed something healthy for lunch ... GOOD MOM!
The schedule would fall apart, and I would feed them sugary cereal for dinner ... BAD MOM!
I spent my days so desperately wanting to be a good mom. And sometimes I felt like I was, when life was clicking along with good attitudes, healthy hamsters, turned-in permission slips, and actual dinner plans. But let’s be honest. The days where everything turns out right are sometimes few and far between. All too often I found myself feeling like a failure.
Ever been there?
I remember processing these things with a friend one day. A strange theme seemed to arise, and I just started laughing. I told her that many of my days told the same story ... I was on the verge of a breakdown, and then I spent some time with Jesus, and He made things better.
My friend quipped back, "Well, isn’t that where most of us live?"
Not that we're always on the edge of a breakdown, but we live in a place of utter dependence on God. I know I live in constant need of His love, encouragement, wisdom, perspective, strength, patience and grace. Even as a parent of adults I need all of these things!
Anything I’ve done right as a mom was because of my constant dialogue with God. I learned early on to talk with Him in honest, plain language and say things like, “Hey God, I feel like a bad mom because I snapped at my kids. But my circumstances don’t define me, right? You do. So, I’m receiving Your grace and letting go of those feelings pulling me down. Please help me.”
As moms, I pray we'll remember the truth of today's promise in Ephesians 2:4-5, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."
God's grace is always willing to step in. Not to excuse us from being more patient, organized or responsible. But it reminds us we're doing better than we think we are. His grace says, "My love for you is great! Stop bouncing from feeling good to bad to good to bad. In the good times, rejoice and thank Me. In the not-so-good times, call out to Me quickly."
With God we're never a bad mom. We might be having a bad moment ... or two ... or 17. But a few bad moments do not define us.
God's grace is there to cover us. Teach us. And even in the middle of a bad moment, interrupt us, redirect us and change us.
forgiveness is there.
Love is there.
A second chance is there. And then another one after that.
You are a good mom, my friend ... even if, like me, you've had a few bad moments ... you are the exact mom God knew your children needed. Let’s live in that truth today.
Dear Lord, I know only You can fill me. I'm thankful Your grace is always there to cover me, especially on my tough mom days. Help me stop bouncing from feeling good to bad. Teach me, redirect me and change me today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (NIV)
Whether you're a mom, grandmother, sister, aunt or even a spiritual mom, we all have something in common: We all need encouragement! That's why we want to tell you about Lysa TerKeurst's newest release, Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close. This collection of devotions from Lysa's recent books, blogs and personal journal will help you learn to process life's most difficult days in a godly way. Order a copy of Embraced or one of the other beautiful Mother's Day gifts we have here today - for yourself or a loved one!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Ever struggled with being defined by mistakes, rather than by God's truth? Ask God to give you His loving perspective of how He sees you. Rest in His lavish love. If you need to ask for forgiveness for some of your actions, do this, and then let those things go.
Join the conversation! Share your thoughts from today's devotion.
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