What Really Matters to Our Kids

I have a couple of confessions to make. Here it goes. Deep breath. First, my kids ate cereal for dinner twice this week…. TWICE! And, we had Taco Bell another night. Secondly, as a mom, I’ve come to realize I can’t do it all. Honestly, I’ve tried and failed miserably.

Moms, would you agree that some days we’re just trying to hold the family together? Helping kids with homework, driving the nightly Uber to sports practices, breaking up fights, keeping up with laundry, cooking meals, entertaining toddlers and scouring the house searching for enough popsicle sticks for your child’s project that happens to be due the next day. (Yes, with just days left in the school year, this did happen.)

For years as a mom, I wavered between exhaustion and guilt, striving to do it all so I could at least have the appearance of having it all together (Key word: appearance). Let me be honest with you, that level of perfection is a sham.  It’s unattainable. Exhausting. And not really that important.

Not once, have my kids complained that the house wasn’t vacuumed or the dishes sat in the sink overnight. They don’t complain about the dusting of beach sand covering my floors either (although, that one really bothers me). I’ve come to be happy with a moderately clean house, unimpressive meals and a philosophy of, “If you want a drink, wash your own cup.”

My conclusion after many years of conversations with countless moms, we’re too hard on ourselves. Cut yourself some slack, mamas! Don’t cower in shame, carry condemnation or relentlessly compare yourself to other moms.

If we’re to be really truthful, most of the expectations are those we place on ourselves. We compare ourselves to an ideal picture of motherhood that is unattainable for anyone to achieve.

Years ago, I read a precious devotional by Ruth Bell Graham and her daughter, Gigi, titled Mothers Together. In this devotional, Gigi asked one of her sons what a home was and how he would describe it.

His response was perfect,

“Home is a place where you come in out of the rain.”

1

I sincerely believe if we do that, we win.

If we create a safe place, rich in love, laughter and affirmation, our kids will grow up to be just fine.

If we give them a refuge to come to when they encounter life’s storms, they will know the importance of providing love and comfort to others.

If we provide them with a place to talk, be themselves and even cry sometimes, they will learn the value of authenticity and respect.

Motherhood – it’s difficult, heart-wrenching, tearful, messy, joy-filled and beautiful. It gives us the opportunity to shape a little heart. To etch God’s loving truth forever into their souls. And, like wet cement it will solidify over time, providing them with a solid foundation on which they can build their lives.

Dear mother, you are enough. Enter the abundance of God’s grace.

Don’t listen to the voices nagging you, “do better” or “try harder”. That’s not God’s voice speaking to you. Here are the words Jesus speaks to his children, to YOU,

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Jesus doesn’t place an endless list of expectation on moms. There’s not a “prescription” to follow for creating a well-rounded child. There isn’t a “Christian Mom” to-do list for you to earn an Awesome Mom award.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Throughout scripture, we see Jesus taking away regulations and requirements. He’s the best at reminding us to pare our lives down and focus on the essentials, the non-negotiables.

Jesus’ yoke is not a crushing burden. It’s not an extensive to-do list. It’s an invitation to love Him, trust Him and extend that love to others. As mothers, that’s our most important  task: to model for our children a loving, life-giving relationship with God that makes Jesus attractive to them.

As Elisabeth Elliot once said,

“The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” 

Trust for God’s grace and goodness to flow out of your incompleteness today. You got this. You are enough, because He is more than enough.

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