Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so for the past several days I have been thinking about what I want to say about Mother’s Day in this space. Honestly the more I thought about it the more guilty I felt. Why guilty? Well, I don’t feel like I have been a good mother.
Before you stop reading, let me share what I mean. Our last pregnancy was too short. I only carried Lil Bit for 10.5 weeks. (You can read more about my short pregnancy here.) At some point during those 10.5 weeks Lil Bit took his last breath, and I missed it. Now logically, I know that Mama’s can’t feel their babies until much later in their pregnancies, but I still have felt like I should have known something was wrong. I should have known when he left. Logically, I know that no one one earth could have done anything, but still I am guilty that I didn’t do more. Guilty that I wasn’t enough for Lil Bit.
Sadly, I don’t think I am alone in my guilt. I hear Mama’s talk about their guilt all the time. It’s almost as if motherhood and guilt go hand in hand. I have heard stories of Mama’s who carry guilt because they didn’t have the birth story they wanted. Mama’s who feel guilty because they didn’t breast feed or cloth diaper. Mama’s who feel guilty because they are working, and they actually don’t want to stay home. Mama’s who have lost their cool and raised their voices. Mama’s who have forgotten events or permission slips. Mama’s who can’t be in four places at one time. Mama’s who order pizza and fast food more than they wish they did. Mama’s who aren’t what they perceive they should be. All of this guilt boils down to each of not feeling like we are enough. As I thought of the guilt I carry regarding motherhood, I started to feel guilty about being guilty. I do not have living children on earth, how can I feel so guilty about my mothering?
As I began to spiral out of control in guilt, the Lord whispered something to my heart that stopped me in my tracks. Guilt does not have to be my identity. The simple fact is Mama’s are human. We will mess up, however God’s grace is big enough to cover every transgression and those mess ups do not have to ruin our children. Romans 8:1 says this in the Passion Translation:
So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.
I love how this translation says “the case is closed”. We have no reason to live in guilt, because we are children of the King. When we mess up, we ask for forgiveness and then the case is closed. We learn from our mistakes and make grace-filled progress towards being better Mamas. Guilt is a tool the enemy uses to keep us from our full potential. When we are constantly focused on what we lack, we are missing the great work we are already doing. What if we recognized that who we are is enough? What if instead of living in the guilt of not being enough, we walked in freedom of simply being who we are?
I can’t say it enough – guilt is a tool the enemy uses to keep us from our full potential. When we are constantly focused on what we lack, we are missing the great work we are already doing. What if we recognized that who we are is enough? What if instead of living in the guilt of not being enough, we walked in freedom of simply being who we are? So this Mother’s Day I want to encourage you wherever you are in your journey:
To the future Mama who is waiting for babies to fill her home, you are enough. The tears you cry, and the heartbreak you feel doesn’t go unnoticed. Psalm 56:8 promises the Lord tracks each one of our tears. He sees you and He hasn’t forgotten you. It’s okay when you eat the cookie instead of the carrots. It’s okay when you take a break from treatments. It’s okay when you heart hurts a little extra this Mother’s Day. You aren’t letting anyone down. You are strong. Every day you wait, God is preparing you to be just the Mama your babies need.
To the Mama who has lost babies, you are enough. Psalm 34:18 promises the Lord is close to those who are brokenhearted. Even though your heart may feel like it may never go back together, I want you to know your story isn’t over. From a Mama who has walked in your shoes, hear me when I say… you did everything you could. The things you ate, the jog you took, the trip you went on or the things you didn’t do did not cause your baby to die. You are strong. Every day you grieve, God is preparing you to be just the Mama your future babies need.
To the Mama who fosters babies in her home, you are enough. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to mother another woman’s child for an unknown amount of time. I know it is hard loving a child with such a broken heart. Galatians 6:9 encourages us to not give up, because in due time we will reap a harvest. I don’t know what that will look like in your situation. It may mean that you plant seeds in that precious child’s life and then they will go back to their birth-Mama. It may also mean that someday you get to call that baby yours forever. No matter what, you will reap a harvest! It’s okay to not do the dishes so you can hug that baby a little tighter. You are strong. Each day as you face the unknowns, God is preparing you to be just the Mama those babies need.
To the pregnant Mama, you are enough. Psalm 139:13-16 promises the Lord knows your baby. He is knitting together the precious baby you are carrying. The miracle you are growing is going to do big things. I want to encourage you to slow down and enjoy your pregnancy. That precious baby you are carrying will never know the nursery wasn’t Pinterest worthy! You are strong! God is preparing you to be the Mama the baby you are carrying needs.
To the Mama who hasn’t slept in weeks because of her crazy toddler, you are enough. Isaiah 66:13 promises that just as a mother comforts her children, God will comfort us. Every time you rock your precious baby back to sleep, or kiss a boo-boo. Know that God sees you. It’s OK to choose Chick-Fil-A over a home cooked meal on crazy nights. It’s OK to forget the laundry for the fourth time or to take a nap instead of cleaning the kitchen. You are strong. Each day as you juggle new motherhood, God is continuing to make you into just the Mama your babies need.
To the Mama who is raising a young child, you are enough. 2 Corinthians 12:9 promises that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for us, that His power will be made great in our weakness. As you face all the emotions of sending your children off to school and new activities, know that Gods grace is not only sufficient for you to make it through those firsts, it’s also sufficient for your babies. Trust that God is going to provide for you and your precious babies each step of the way. It’s okay to bring store bought cupcakes to the school party or to not be the room parent. It’s okay to grab fast food on the way to an activity. You are strong. Each day, as you face new parenting challenges, God is continuing to make you into just the Mama your babies need.
To the Mama of pre-teens, you are enough. Proverbs 22:6 promises that when we raise our children in God’s teaching, they will not forget that teaching. Every time a door is slammed or your child throws a fit, cling to this verse. It’s okay to go to your room and count to ten. I know you are making hard choices everyday, and it hurts your heart to see your children react to your discipline, but keep at it. You are strong. Everyday you stick to your word, God is continuing to make you into just the Mama your babies need.
To the Mama of teenagers, you are enough. Philippians 4:6 says to be anxious for nothing, but to bring everything to God in prayer. High school is such a fun and scary time. As your babies are learning to drive and starting to make adult decisions, remember to keep taking all your worries to God. He holds your babies in His hands. It’s okay to watch their cell phone like a hawk. It’s okay to make your babies share a car. It’s okay to make them get a job. You are strong. Everyday as you prepare your babies to leave the nest, God is continuing to make you just the Mama your babies need.
To the Mama who is missing her college aged babies, you are enough. Jeremiah 29:11 promises that the Lord knows the plans for us, and they are plans not to harm us. The Lord is watching your babies, He has big plans for them! But the Lord also has big plans for you! It’s okay to find new tasks to put your hands to. It’s okay to find new joys. It’s okay to want to call your babies everyday. You are strong. Even as you parent from far away, God is continuing to make you the Mama your babies need.
To the Mama whose children are grown and having babies of their own, you are enough. Isaiah 46:4 promises that God will continue to sustain and carry us even in our old age. It’s okay to miss your babies. But don’t forget, God made you just the Mama your babies need, and now you get to help speak life over those precious babies as God forms them into the parents your grand babies need.
Today, I want to encourage you to let go of your guilt, and choose freedom. You are enough because your identity is found in Christ. The case is closed, you don’t have to live in condemnation anymore!