Is Your Lens Properly Focused? Mine Wasn’t.


It hit me hard in the middle of the first session of two-day parenting seminar at church.

To some degree, it had nothing to do with child rearing.  But it had everything to do with me and how I think about myself as a parent, as a mom.

Our pastor was pointing us to the Scriptures and encouraging us to minister to our children, reminding us of our call to disciple them through instruction, discipline, and relationship.  I think being reminded of all of the good we can do in our children’s lives might be what caused the Spirit to prick my heart at that moment with this thought:

I process my life through the lens of failure.  I have trouble seeing the good and focus only on what I’m not doing or can’t do.

Like a camera with an improperly focused lens, my perspective was blurring what should have been in crisp focus and drawing my eye to what belonged in the fuzzy background.

As I wrote down this observation about myself at the bottom of my notes, a weight was lifted.  It was as if the Lord said to me, “You do not have to look at your life this way.”  And, friend, I say to you: You don’t have to either!

Here are a few reasons why:

The Gospel Defines You:  When you believed in your heart and confessed with your lips that Jesus is Lord, you received a new identity.  You belong (every bit of you!) to God the Father.  You are His child.  The Bible tells us that our sins are forgiven.  Sure, you probably have in immense number of weaknesses and a hearty list of ways you blew it in only the last 24 hours, but in Christ you are a new creation!  We confess our sins, we remind ourselves we belong to the Lord, we receive His forgiveness, and we move forward joyfully in faith.  Phew!

You are Gifted:  The Spirit lives in you and has gifted you in a unique way to contribute to the body of Christ, including the little part of it that lives in your home.  Don’t be shy about finding out what that is and using it liberally in your church and under your own roof.  I repeat, the Spirit lives in you;  honor Him by processing life through and with Him, rather than focusing always and only on what you can’t or don’t do.

You are “Just Right”:  You have a unique life during which you have had experiences and training that make you who you are as a person and a mom.  I think that’s pretty stinkin’ cool!  You may be a crafter extraordinaire.  If you are, craft it up with your kids.  Share with them what makes your heart sing.  Or, you may be useless in all things domestic but love the great outdoors.  So, stop feeling bad that you’re not doing life with your kids someone else’s way, and do it your way.  THAT’s the way the Lord would have you do it.  After all, He did give your kids to you!  And I have strong feeling that there are some wonderful things happening in your home simply because of who you are as mama to your little ones.  (Don’t believe me?  Ask an outsider for their perspective!)

Moving from feeling like a failure to mothering in freedom requires refocusing the lens through which we see ourselves, making sure it lines up with what the Bible says about who God is and who we are.  These words from an article at say it well:  Camera focus depends on light passing through the camera lens at the proper angle to produce a clear image.*  Let’s kick the dark lens of failure to the curb, open our hearts, and let The Light shine in so we have a clear and right perspective!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12

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  1. Kathy says

    A valuable perspective for me! It’s easy to read the idealistic parenting books or blogs and think, “Oh, I need to be like that,” or “That’s what my family should look like.” But I can’t make it happen just like they do, and then I feel like I’m not measuring up. So thanks for the reminder!

    • Heather Ashe says

      Oh Kathy, I hear you about reading the parenting books and blogs and rushing to copy rather than seek God’s guidance for me, with the books’ suggestions and wisdom in second place. Blessings to you and your family this weekend!

  2. Julie says

    A timely word for my heart. Thank you. I realize I’ve been wallowing in the mire of what I’m not getting right. A question for me today – What DOES make my heart sing? Thank you again.

    • Heather Ashe says

      I pray the Lord fills your mind and heart with a few great answers about what makes your unique heart sing, Julie. Have a lovely weekend learning more about you and sharing it with your family! (PS I’m totally a wallower, too! The Lord is gracious and patient with us, isn’t He? Praise Him!)

    • Heather Ashe says

      Praise the Lord! (And what a wonderful thing to say to a writer, that you’ll read her article again. Thank you!)

  3. Alyssa says

    Wow — talk about issues of the heart! What a great reminder of the gospel for everyday life! It is always a timely message. And I, too, will be re-reading and sharing this entry, Heather. I am so grateful to Sally and you all…truly a place to find a fresh breath of grace and truth. Blessings on all your heads!

    • Heather Ashe says

      You are definitely not alone, Jenn! And you’re right on about having to decide, daily, to mother in freedom. Thanks for commenting. :)

  4. Margie says

    THIS writing of yours today made this Mom’s heart sing! I’m so
    glad the Lord revealed this to you for yourself and to share with others!
    You are a terrific Mom and daughter and I just wanted to let you
    know how excited i am to see the Lord using you to help all of us get
    focused on what we should be… the Light of the World!! Keep
    shining for Him!! love you so!

  5. Melanie says

    What a timely Word! Thank you, Heather! :) I may not be ‘super’ at everything, but thanks for reminding me that I’m ‘super’ at some things. Shout out to all the Super-Mamas out there… Only because of Him! Much LOVE!

  6. Leslie says

    Wow! I needed that encouragement at this very moment. Today I felt like I was battling the lies all day long. I want to live in freedom of who God made me. Thank you for sharing. God used you to help focus my lens!

    • Heather Ashe says

      Oh, those days where we battle the lies all day – the nasty schemes of the evil one – Ugh!! Praising God that you found encouragement in Christ here at itakejoy today!

  7. Rochelle says

    Oh wow–thank you for being the voice of encouragement I needed today! Jesus used you to lift me up again. God bless you!

  8. Christine says

    Dear Heather,
    I say Amen to what you wrote… How it has blessed my heart! Your article has been a God-send! Thank you!!!

  9. Christina says

    Thank you so much for your encouraging reminder. I am so thankful for a kind God who uses this blog to encourage this momma.

  10. Penny says

    Praying for grace to believe this truth! Everyday I fight the whispers (and sometimes shouts!) of what a failure I am when it comes to mothering. I naturally focus on all my mistakes or my short temper, and they all seem to shadow over the good moments. Thank you for sharing these encouraging words! I will be re-reading this post a few times to let the truth of it sink in!

    • says

      Oh Penny, I hear you. I laugh hard when people say, “you must have so much patience to homeschool!” Little do they know that it’s been God’s way of trying to teach me patience, kindness, etc. :) Cling to grace, never let it go! I find it much easier to write these truths and encourage others in them, than to practice them myself. Will pray for you that the Gospel will take deeper root in your heart each day, that your love for your kids will grow, and that you will be FREE to mother them. Thanks for your very honest comment. We gotta keep it real with each other! Blessings to you.

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