Good Mom, Bad Mom, Good Mom
by Lysa TerKeurst
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26 (NIV)
Do you ever feel as though you are the ping-pong ball in a heated match bouncing constantly between feeling like a good mom to a bad mom?
One minute I have a great discussion where my child finally gets it... GOOD MOM!
The next I get an e-mail from a teacher that lists the three parents who have yet to turn in that permission slip and I am on the list for all the world to see... BAD MOM!
I calmly handle the stresses of the morning routine... GOOD MOM!
But then during the afternoon homework session, my child's irresponsibility over a last minute project just about sends me over the edge. I find my neck muscles tensing and my voice rising... BAD MOM!
I make sure they pack something healthy for lunch... GOOD MOM!
The schedule falls apart in the late afternoon and I wind up feeding them sugar cereal for dinner... BAD MOM!
Sometimes I feel like that ping-pong ball mom bouncing from feeling good to bad. Yesterday morning I sat down at the kitchen table after getting everyone where they needed to be and cried. Sometimes having kids is the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life. Other days I feel like the task of parenting little people is driving me to the brink of craziness.
Just the other day I was processing some recent family things with my friend, Renee, over the phone. Suddenly a strange theme seemed to arise. I just started laughing. I told Renee that so many of my days seemed to tell the same kind of story... I was on the verge of a breakdown and then I spent time with Jesus and He made things better.
Renee quipped back to me, "Well, isn't that where most of us live every day?"
Not that we are on the edge of a breakdown, but we live in a place of utter dependence on God. I know as a mom, I live in constant need of His love, encouragement, wisdom, perspective, strength, patience, and grace.
Anything I do right as a mom is because of my constant dialogs with God.
Anything I do wrong as a mom is because of trying to do things in my own strength and slap wearing myself out.
That's where grace steps in. And I need lots of grace. God's grace steps in and says, “Lysa, you are doing better than you think. Stop bouncing from feeling good to bad to good to bad. In the good times, rejoice and thank me. In the not so good times, call out to me quickly."
And suddenly it occurred to me; with God I'm never a bad mom. I might be having a bad moment... or two... or seventeen. But a few bad moments do not define me as a bad mom.
God's grace is there to cover me. Teach me. And even in the middle of a bad moment, interrupt me, redirect me, and change me.
Forgiveness is there.
Love is there.
A second chance is there.
You are a good mom my friend even if, like me, you’ve had a few bad moments... you are the exact mom God knew your children needed. Let's live in that truth today.
Dear Lord, being a mom is a great privilege but one that can be so challenging at times. Teach me how to lean on You with every action and every reaction. And when I mess up, please help me to not define myself by my mommy failures. Help me to only be defined by Your love that assures me and Your grace that covers me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Find a verse today that could help redirect an angry or frustrated response with your kids. There are some good ones listed below in the power verses. Or you can search out one that specifically applies to your unique struggles. When you feel your temper about to flare, have this verse handy and quote it out loud. In that moment ask God to give you a wiser response than your natural feelings.
Do you ever struggle with being defined by your mistakes rather than by the truth of God? Spend some time in prayer today asking God to give you His loving perspective of how He sees you. Rest in his lavish love. If you need to ask for forgiveness for some of your actions, do this and then let these things go.
Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV)
James 1:5-6, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (NIV- emphasis mine)
© 2008 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Two days ago, my oldest son and I butted heads. It rapidly spiralled downward. It was not pretty. Lots of screaming and crying, DS too... ;-) We both said things we regretted. We made up before bed and all was good, but there was still the guilt over it happening. I was the mom, how could I let it go there?
Compare that with today... We got up, opened all the sunroom windows, felt the gloriously cool morning, and had an EXTENDED time of bible reading. What started out at doing our 24 Family Ways, turned into almost an hour of time discussing obedience of people in the bible and what happened if they didn't obey and what about God's forgiveness and restoration? Which led to why did God have so many "laws" then and not now (answer--JESUS!!!). We finished our schoolwork before lunch and even had time to go sit by the playset in it's new spot while I read a couple of chapters from Alice in Wonderland (we're studying Lewis Carroll this 6 weeks!). Are you getting the picture here? Bad Mom, Good Mom?
I needed to hear the truth of this devotion today and so do you!
You are a good mom, my friend, even if, like me, you’ve had a few bad moments... you are the EXACT mom God knew your children needed. Think about that, let it sink in. Let's live in that truth today.
Why did it take me 3 years to think of moving it here? It is an awesome spot!