Motherhood. I am sitting down again (for the tenth time) to write an encouraging piece about the joys of motherhood. Maybe you have read those blogs: ‘How To Be A Great Mom’, ‘10 Of The Best Packed Lunches For Your Kids’, ‘Becoming The Best Mother In Three Simple Steps’, ‘Motherhood: It’s A Full Time Job’…yada yada yada…
I keep pressing through to write this and I keep failing…because everything I write feels fake.
I’m trying to share encouraging words, the perfect Bible verse and some life-changing advice. Honestly, I’ve got nothing. I even wrote an email to the editor to tell her that I can’t do it and to find a better “mother” to write the Mother’s Day piece.
But here I am again, writing… writing raw and allowing my pain to spill over the pages. I talk often from the stage about the blessing of being taken in as an infant to a mom and dad that said “yes” to the call of adoption and how that changed my life. That is true, but on stage I don’t go into the pain that I still carry from childhood wounds that were left. You know, all of my ‘mom issues’ that I am still dealing with, because at the end of the day, she did her best.
On stage I share about my three children and how amazing they are. This is true. It’s really true, they’re so awesome! They love to laugh, they love to be around us and still gather together as a family. But I don’t go into all the mistakes I made, the wounds that I inflicted on their hearts when I left their father, when I left them. For a time, I abandoned them. Even though we were reconciled, in my own pain as a young mom, I passed down pain to my children that they now have to carry. I remember the day, not too many years ago, when my son Aaron spoke publicly to a large group of college and high school students about what my actions did to his emotional wellbeing and the healing he worked through.
I ask myself, “Will they pass down this pain to their children? Where does it stop, what will their parenting legacy be? Do they know that I did my best, with what I knew at the time? Do they, as adults, grasp that I loved them fiercely even in my pain and through my mistakes?”
This is what I do know, my mother (who is still living 89+) loves Jesus and she led me to love Him too, even with her flaws. I love Jesus and have taught, as best I can, my children to love him. And they do, even with all of my flaws. Each one of them, and their spouses, follow the Lord in spite of the pain of their imperfect lives and their imperfect mother.
How then? How do we as moms, whether we had the best mom, the worst mom or somewhere in-between, even begin to understand motherhood and how to ‘do it right’?
My only advice as I go through healing myself is this…grace. Motherhood requires grace and forgiveness and a whole lot of Jesus. Raising our children to understand these things is what will get them through the most difficult times. We point them to the truth of who Jesus is and what that means in our lives. His grace and His love, working through us, will cover a multitude of failures and mistakes. Because as Moms, we are going to make them. Motherhood is not an instagram perfect picture. Did you hear that? IT IS NOT A PERFECT POST. It is messy, it is exhausting, and it opens your heart to more heartbreak and pain. You may even find yourself saying “Oh my gosh, I am turning into my mother!”, it’s probably true because Motherhood is one of the most powerful tools to imprint on a child’s heart. Trust me, I’m 50 and I am still dealing with the imprints that were left on me, the good, the bad and the ugly ones.
So why would anyone ever want to be a mom? With the exhaustion, the process of losing ourselves and putting ourselves last, at times living paycheck to paycheck (if you are struggling financially, like we were) never feeling like we are getting it right or living up to others expectations? Why do that? It sounds horrible.
We do it because the joy of loving a child so much that it hurts is worth it. To see their smile, to cheer them on to be better that you ever were is worth it. To watch them learn, grow and become who God created them to be is worth it. Knowing that you served God by serving your child brings a simple and unspeakable peace that cannot be summed up in words, except that it is worth it. And, having a few extra hearts around to laugh with, walk through life with, especially if they grow up to be handy, definitely has its benefits.
Whatever mom issues I still carry and I am working through, the greatest thing I ever learned was forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and learning to extend that to others.
NOW, HERE’S THE MOM ADVICE WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR: Moms, give yourself grace. When you mess up, fess up and keep moving forward. Get back up, get out of bed and never stop battling for your children. Laugh with them, hug them, allow them to fall and watch them get back up. Cheer for them, root for them and be on their team. When your kids screw up, show them what forgiveness looks like. Show them Jesus. Because Motherhood, you know what…it really is a wonderful profession.
Thoughtfully written by Mia Koehne.
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