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 howstuffworks.com 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