I wrote this devotional for the January Crossroad MOPS newsletter.
You ever have one of those “I’m the worst mother in the world” moments, maybe even days? Lately, I’ve really struggled with that. I know in my head that I am NOT the worst mother in the world. I know that I am only human. I know that I can’t be all things to all people. I know that I am not perfect. I know that I can’t prevent my children from experiencing pain and suffering. My head tells me all of that. But that doesn’t mean in my spirit, in my heart I always know it. And when life throws all sorts of grenades at you, and you try to duck them but they explode anyway, it’s sometimes hard to not feel down on yourself… especially for mothers I think.
We have that precious little baby and only want good things for her. That new life is so tiny, so helpless we even try to pretend that we can prevent bad things from happening, thinking we can protect that little life like no other.
But then reality hits us one day in the face and we feel as if we failed. It might be as simple as your child scraping their knee or getting made fun of by another child. Or, it might be something more serious: severe injury, life threatening illness, or worse.
And then, we second guess ourselves. We go through everything that led up to that event and think of what could we have done differently. What in our power could we have done to protect them better?
I recently walked this path myself. My son Jonah fell, hitting the left side of his head and fracturing his skull. All I could think about is how could I have stopped this. I started to play the incident over and over in my head and second guessed everything leading up to the fall. The guilt I felt that I wasn’t right next to him to catch him when he fell was tremendous. Even now, weeks later, I find myself fighting it occasionally.
But I had some friends give me great counsel about this. Several told me that was nothing but Satan trying to make me believe I wasn’t a good enough mother. And just this week, as I tried to get the newsletter done and write this devotional, Jonah fell again playing with Katie and I just about lost it thinking he may have exacerbated his injury. And then I felt awful for losing my temper with Katie over the incident. Again, I felt like a terrible mommy. I know that I’m not. I apologized to her and she gave me the sweetest hug which reassured me that I must be doing something right.
But Satan, the Father of Lies and the Great Deceiver, was attacking me and making me question my abilities as a mother. And you may have found yourself in the same position before—questioning if you were a good mother, feeling as if nothing you did was right. But we can’t fall for that line of thinking. If we do, we lose ground. We won’t be as effective an influence on our children for Christ. We will be discouraged and our children will pick up on that as they get older. God equipped us to be the mother our children need us to be. It’s just a matter of staying in His will, trusting in His word, and bathing ourselves and our children in prayer regularly.
As I was dealing with the immediate aftermath of hearing my 19 mo old son had a skull fracture, I was telling another MOPS mom how I felt terrible and how I should have prevented it from happening, and how I felt at fault because I couldn’t stop it. And she said something that was quite profound, at least to me, anyway. She said, “God isn’t to blame when bad things happen to us.” We are his children, and sometimes in our lives, we experience pain and suffering. But that doesn’t make it God’s fault. As we grow in Him, trials and such come our way, but in the end, they strengthen us and mold us into the person God intended us to be. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but true.
When bad things happen to our children, our job is to simply be their mother—to comfort them, hold them, and as they get older, hopefully help them learn how to avoid troubles in the future. That is what God does for us. In Isaiah 66:13 we are told that “as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” God doesn’t promise we won’t experience trials and pain, but he promises to comfort us during those times.
So for Jonah, I couldn’t prevent him from falling when he did. I couldn’t prevent the injury. But I certainly have hugged and loved and comforted him, and even tried to protect him as he heals (hard task to keep a toddler boy from falling or bumping his noggin). I’ve done what God has equipped me to do. And I’m learning every day that I’m not a terrible mom—just a human one. And my kids still love me anyway.