I am so completely spent. I have nothing left to give. What’s wrong with me? I am so afraid I am going to be a complete failure as a mother. Lord, am I going to mess up my kids?
These thoughts have swirled around and around in my heart over the course of my motherhood journey. I’ve spent many a day half questioning myself – half begging God for help through the tears and the doubts.
Over the next 4 weeks, let’s answer the crazy question many of us have asked: Am I messing up my kids? No, I don’t think we are. Join me each week right here on my blog to participate in the conversation. You’ll be encouraged and empowered to be the mom God knows you can be, and by the end of these 4 weeks, I think you’ll agree!
I felt pulled in a thousand directions.
Ashley wanted me to watch her at gymnastics. Hope wanted to be dropped off at a friend’s house. Brooke wanted a friend to come over, and the boys had to be taken to their soccer game. All in one day. It’s not that I didn’t want to be with the kids. I love my children and love spending time with them. It’s just that I was tired.
I was serving from the dregs of my bucket rather than the overflow.
On a scale from one to ten, my stress level hovered around a seven. I wanted to take time to be with the Lord and allow His Word to bathe my parched soul and bring my stress back to a manageable level, but constant time crunches kept me distracted. Feeling tired and underappreciated, I should have known I was setting myself up for failure.
On Saturday morning, I was out the door by 5:45am with four boys and Ashley in tow. About halfway to the soccer game, the kids brought it to my attention that nobody had eaten breakfast. My stress level jumped to a nine and voices of accusation started dancing in my head. What kind of mom sends her kids to play soccer with no food in their bellies?
We didn’t have time to stop before dropping the boys off at the field, but they would have a warm-up time before the game started, which would give me time to zip through a drive-through and bring food back to them. So I dropped the boys off and then Ashley and I went to find biscuits.
When I got to the window to pick up my food, I was surprised by the enormous size of our drinks. The cups were so large they wouldn’t fit in my car’s cup holders. I told Ashley to please hold on to the drinks as they would tip easily if we weren’t careful. I had no sooner turned out of the parking lot when I hit a pothole, and what seemed like gallons of tea dumped onto the floor of my car. In a frustrated huff I raised my voice. “Ashley, I told you to hold on to those drinks!”
My stress level jumped past a ten when Ashley snapped back at me, “Mom, YOU just made me spill the drinks!”
I don’t know from what dark, unbridled corner of my heart my next response came. It must have been lurking there for a while just waiting to pop out and horrify me.
Me, the mom who had taken such pride that she’d never cussed at her kids.
Me, the Proverbs 31 woman with a ministry teaching women the importance of using kind words to correct her children.
Me, the woman who teaches Bible studies, whipped my head around to my daughter and yelled a sentence that included a word I couldn’t believe I said. It’s the same word that is used when referring to the houses beavers make. But that’s not what I meant. There it was in broad daylight…a cuss word that spilled from my lips.
The same lips that read bedtime stories, say nighttime prayers, and tenderly kiss my children good night. The same lips that tell others about Jesus. The same lips that sing God’s praises. Oh, the horror I felt.
After a few moments of silence, I apologized. We drove to the soccer game, and while Ashley delivered her brothers’ biscuits I called a friend. With tears in my eyes, I recounted the morning’s events. Then, before I told her the dreaded sentence, I warned her, “You are going to think I’m the worst mom ever. You’re just not going to believe what I did!” Then I whispered what I’d yelled at Ashley…beaver home and all.
“That’s it? That’s it? That’s what you are so upset about? Apologize to her, ask God for forgiveness, and get over it. So you had a hard morning. Stop letting Satan get the best of you and ask God to give you a new attitude.”
What? She didn’t condemn me? She didn’t agree that I’m the worst mom ever? She didn’t hop in her van, speed my way, and stone me? What freedom. What a gift of grace. What a friend!
I bowed my head and asked God to protect Ashley’s heart from the dart I shot at her, and I asked Him to wipe this whole event from her mind. I asked God to forgive me, not just for my ugly words, but most of all for getting too busy to spend time with Him.
As I mopped up my van overflowing with tea, I realized I’d been living life backward that week. I was letting my to-do list overflow while withholding my time with the Lord. When what I should have done is let my time with the Lord overflow while withholding my to-do list.
It’s a mistake I think a lot of us moms make. We’re slaves to the tyranny of the urgent. But how can we continue to pour out if we aren’t being filled back up on a daily basis? The flood of demands will consume us if we don’t take the time to let God right our perspective, reduce our stress level, and whisper His tender truths of love in our ear.
Have you ever had a “worst mom ever” day? Take heart, so have we all. Take my friend’s advice. Apologize to your children. Ask God for forgiveness. Get over it and stop letting Satan drag you down. Spend time with the Lord getting a new attitude, and He’ll help you leave the dams to the beavers!
Today I’m giving away 3 Am I Messing Up My Kids? bundles.
Each bundle includes two books: one for you to keep and one to give away to another mom in need. Comment below with who you’d give the other book to, and why, for your chance to win!