Mother’s Day is a tender time for me. My heart always goes out to the women who have wanted to be mothers and are not, the single moms doing it in a way they never wished, the mothers who have suffered inexpressible disappointment and loss. My heart hurts for their hurts. If you are one of those, I pray for you especially in this celebration that I know is a time of raw emotion for you. I pray that God will show you how loved and valued you are for who YOU are, not what you have done, or what you have accomplished. You don’t need “awesome mom” attached to your name to be of incredible worth and value. You are a woman of great worth, just as you are.
Still, Mother’s Day is a time of celebration. One thing we all have in common is that we each have or have had a mom. They are all sizes and descriptions and personalities. I had a wonderful mother; one who loved me without exception, and shaped me in large degree to be a Christ-follower, and to be a generous man. Mom and Dad relentlessly prayed Patty into my life. I am not sure I would have had a chance at all at this classy, God-filled woman were it not for Mom’s and Dad’s prayers, and their lives. I was so anxious for her to meet my family. I knew that whatever flaws I had, and whatever reluctance Patty had about me, would be balanced by my family. I figured she might marry me just to get my family! And her relationship with my mother and father has been one of the joys of my life. She builds so much eternal value into our four children by her life and prayers. These two mothers in my life have made my life extraordinary.
Observing them and other mothers closely, I know something every mother has in common: that terrible “MOM GUILT.” Mothers are famous for it. Something goes wrong with one of your kids, your feelings are multiple and intense. There’s shock. There’s anger, of course. There’s blame. There’s worry, even fear. There’s grief and tears. And the sauce that blends it all together is guilt. What did I do? What didn’t I do? Wasn’t I a good enough parent? How could I have missed that something was going wrong?
One mother said, “Guilt eats at me during quiet times, before bed at night, and when I get up in the morning. Guilt makes me less confident and more unsure as to what I should do for and about the child I love so much.” Guilt is a big burden to bear.
The only place to go with that guilt is to the perfect Father and His family, the church. You will discover as you share your pain with Him and other mothers on the journey that much of your guilt is false guilt. No one can parent perfectly, and everyone makes their own choices. In the closeness of a family, we all step on each other’s toes now and then. We can’t protect our children from all the hurts of a broken world. But God can help them heal and grow, and can help you be a more than adequate mom. Use your feelings of guilt in a positive way. Use them to open conversations with your children about how much you care, and to motivate yourself to get as close to God as you can. The better you know your heavenly Father, the perfect parent, the more you will have His wisdom, and you will be able to feel His pleasure in and approval of you. He will help you see that you are doing better than you think, and your “Mom Guilt” will move to “Mom Grace,” and you will experience joy and satisfaction even without everything being perfect.
I love you, Moms. You make our world a place of hope and love.