The Weight Of Mothering
If there’s anything more blissful this side of heaven than cuddling your baby for the first time I don’t know what it is. That sweet smelling bundle resting on your breast holds the power to both melt your heart and make you tremble with the awesome responsibility of parenting her well for the next 18 years.
Overflowing mother love rushes through your veins which feels at once exhilarating and terrifying. Because underneath the joy comes the realization that you would do just about anything to protect this little one… but you can’t. Because deep down you know that the one person you won’t always be able to protect her from… is yourself.
In a perfect world we would grow up unscathed by wounds from outside or inside the family unit. But sadly, we know all too well the heartache that often gets passed down from generation to generation even when our parents have good intentions. The reality is that, Christians or not, we don’t always love others well.
We know as believers in Jesus Christ that He came to set us free from the weight of our sin and we rejoice that the work of our Redeemer on the cross has cleansed us once and for all. But we also realize that we’re sinners saved by grace… a work in progress; we are still wounded and liable to hurt others. Even, unthinkably, the flannel wrapped baby snuggled in our arms.
Perhaps it won’t happen today, or tomorrow, or next month. But eventually, when our guard is down and when we least expect it, BAM, we lash out.
Sometimes we inflict pain on our children unknowingly; we see patterns of behavior or signs of brokenness in our children that we believe come from us that break our heart.
So what are we to do?
- How do we bear the sorrow that makes us grieve before and after the unkind word or deed is unleashed on our little one?
- How do we deal with the fear that we are not enough or that we are too wounded to do this whole mothering thing that makes us toss and turn on our beds at night?
- How do we carry the weight of knowing that we have hurt our child… again, despite the fact that we would willingly die for that same child?
Well meaning secular and Christian authorities often encourage parents to do things that will make a difference.
- We grasp at techniques to fix: the child, the situation, or ourselves.
- We try the latest method or strategy to avoid conflict or anything that might trigger us to lash out in anger or irritation.
- We look for opportunities to refresh and replenish our stores of energy to prevent parental burnout.
All those ideas may be helpful but, ultimately, they don’t solve the underlying problem which is our sinful nature. Because relying on and attempting to fix ourselves often takes our attention from the only One (Jesus) who can transform us from the inside out.
So, eventually we must face the truth. Our only real answer is to turn to Jesus, the one who chose, despite knowing how fallible we are, to entrust that precious little one to our care.
We need to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We must choose to believe Him at His word concerning His love, not only for us, but for our child.
“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
So practically speaking, what does, “looking to Jesus,” mean?
- It means going humbly before Jesus in prayer, confessing your fears of wounding your child and your endless striving to make yourself a “good” mother.
- It means accepting His forgiveness because He paid the price for your sin on the cross.
- It means asking your Heavenly Father to do the work of renewing your mind. (“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10)
Jesus invites you to bring the weight of that burden of fear for your child, which you were never meant to carry in the first place, and lay it at His feet.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus Christ is bigger than your past… your wounds… your fears… and your failures. He knows… and He still loves you and your child with an everlasting love. He doesn’t ask you to parent in perfection; He asks you to trust Him to equip you with everything you need to accomplish what He has called you to do through His grace.
To connect with Wendy and visit her blog! www.blessedunravelling.com