Guys! Or should I say, ladies! I have a revelation to share with you. I have discerned what the hardest thing about being a mom is!
Of course, there are a lot of challenging aspects of being a mom: training up the children, dealing with their misbehavior, keeping the home running, functioning on less sleep, etc. But none of those things really tops the list. Those are all dwarfed by the greatest challenge facing mothers today, and mothers of every part of history past and future.
Are you ready for it?
The most difficult thing about being a mom is ME. Yep. Or in your case, the most difficult thing about being a mom is YOU.
What do I mean? Well, as I march along in the mom years, having celebrated my oldest's eleventh birthday last month, I'm learning that the job never gets easier. (You can laugh, I really did believe that at some point being a mom wouldn't be so hard once the kids were self-sufficient.) There is no longer an infant in our home with the physical demands that brings for one's body, so I am "free" from that phase. But guess what. Where the little ones drain you physically, the older ones stretch you emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. The job just keeps coming at ya, with side shows of laundry, cooking, and cleaning!
What exactly makes me the problem, then?
I am selfish. Really selfish!
At least once an hour each day I mutter exasperatedly, I don't have time for this, or, I don't want to deal with this right now! Why don't I? Because I want peace in my home for my own comfort, not for the sake of my children, the sake of the Kingdom, or to bring God glory. I love the fun times with my family when all is well, but I pitch a fit so quickly when I have to deal with an interruption, another sibling fight, spilled milk, or an urgent task I forgot about but remember when I'm about to sit down and rest.
I moan and groan. I complain and whine.
Sometimes Often out loud!
But it is not the job; it is not the task; it is not the children. It is ME!
The attitude of my heart needs to be changed.
How about you? Do you feel this each day, the battle that is raging between your self-love and the call to love God and others? Friends, we will never be free from the war this side of heaven, but we can make advances to push back the enemy, until we can enjoy the true rest of heaven!
Coming to this embarrassing realization has been helpful, because God has used it to remind me of a few things:
- We are not helpless before our selfishness. The Spirit lives in us and will help us remember Jesus's teaching and example. In each moment we have a choice; He will help us to choose light rather than darkness!
- We are 100% forgiven. Jesus came into the word to save sinners. That is each of us! He knows what we are capable of, but called us into His Kingdom to be His own and to be changed. Our failures don't define us, and neither do our successes. Our identity is children of God, heirs in His Kingdom. We know ourselves, and should always be floored by that good news! Praise the Lord!
- We can be transformed. "God as the great transformer" is a phrase and theme that has been coming up over and over in my life since last fall. We all want to "be better people," but God has something far greater in mind. He wants to work in our lives with supernatural power to transform us, to make us new, and use us to advance His Kingdom and purposes in the world. Rejoice, there is hope for selfish mothers everywhere! God can change our hearts and attitudes and, in turn, our homes!!
While I hate to admit that I am the problem and that I have to let go of blaming other people and circumstances for my bad attitudes, I believe that is the very beginning of being set free and the first step toward change.
Mamas, you are loved and God sees you working day in and day out to care for the physical and emotional needs of your family. He is cheering you on, He is sustaining you, and He is there to help you in every moment!
It is always good to look to Christ, so I will close with that. Last night in our Own Your Life* book and Bible study group, we read Philippians 2. I was struck by looking at Jesus:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
God gives us authority in our homes and over our children. Let's push back the dark by using our position not to our own advantage, but to serve, like our Lord.
May God bless your day.
*Pick up this book asap! It has been such a help and encouragement to all of us. Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson