I’m excited to have my friends Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo, authors of Mothering from Scratch, guest blogging today. For a girl who struggles with perfectionism, their message of grace for moms has soothed my weary soul.
Make sure to read to the end and leave a comment to enter to win a copy of their book! If you’re in a rush, simply saying, “God is bigger than my guilt!” will serve as your entry.
We can’t get them out of our minds.
Those times when we yelled at our child, lost something important or didn’t hold firm with a boundary.
Our mothering mistakes seem to get bigger and more permanent the longer we dwell on them.
We begin to think that we’ve done damage that can’t be reversed. It’s surely the reason why they’re struggling in school, fighting with their siblings, having trouble making friends or fill in the blank.
(Melinda) My oldest is now 18. I have a lot of mistakes and shortcomings to reflect on. I know so much more now than I did as a mom of little ones. The error of my ways seems so maddeningly obvious now. And I find myself at times overcome with regret and apologizing to my kids for incidents and mistakes that haunt me.
More often than not, I get the same response from them. And every time I hear it, it sets me free just a little bit. Here it is:
“Mom, I honestly don’t remember that.”
Really? Then why does it keep me up at night?
(Kathy) I will never forget an incident on a stressful road trip with all four of my kids under the age of 10. I had been driving for over 8 hours, escaping our post-Hurricane Charley town.
What do you mean they don’t remember me pulling off of the interstate and losing my religion as I yelled and shoved them around in the car because they wouldn’t stop talking while the baby was sleeping? I sure do. I cried in the car for the next two hours looking at little, shell-shocked faces who were wondering when their maniac of a mother was going to exit the vehicle.
Our inability to “let it go” comes down to this: We don’t have enough faith in God that He can use us in spite of our flaws and that He can redeem our mistakes. We make Him … small. We’re essentially telling Him that what He did on the cross doesn’t apply to motherhood.
We work overtime to be “enough,” do enough — when God is the only one who will ever be “enough” for our kids.
“Imperfection breeds humility. Our kids will understand that God’s grace is easily accessible…It impacts their view of God. It mirrors a fraction of God’s forgiveness of us.” — Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family
We can model the idea of asking for forgiveness and show firsthand the power of the Holy Spirit and His ability to change us — in an up close and personal way.
Here are three big truths God wants moms to know:
I am a big God.
The Bible is full of people who God used in spite of themselves. We can remind ourselves that He still used David even though he was an adulterer and a murderer. What about Matthew? He wasn’t exactly an example of exemplary moral character. Sarah? She laughed at God’s power. Jonah? He had a major attitude problem. Yet, God was able to work powerfully through these very flawed people.
God hasn’t changed. He still works through very imperfect moms.
My truth is bigger than the enemy’s lies.
If we’re worried about whether we’re doing a good job as a mom, then our kids are blessed. A mom who is worried about whether she is a good mom or not is probably a good one by default. Our conscience IS speaking to us. We realize our imperfections. The problem comes in when that’s all we see about our mothering. Discouragement is a powerful tactic of the enemy. It keeps us rooted in the past, paralyzed and ineffective.
Satan is a liar. And we need to call him on it. The most potent weapon against the lies he whispers is Truth. I (Melinda) remember reading about a powerful tactic that has stuck with me: When the devil tells us, “You’re not enough. You’ll never measure up as a mom,” acknowledge that he’s right! Then pull out the Sword. Respond with, “Yes, Satan, you’re right. But God’s grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness. I am not enough, but He is.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
I see the big picture — and I’m working behind the scenes.
Imagine zooming out, if you will, from your mothering story over the course of their life — not the course of their day, or month, or even year. What would you see? Chances are the colors are brighter and more positive than you see them when you are zoomed in on one pixel of their little lives.
“We tend to judge our success halfway through the hands-on period of mothering, rather than when it’s finished.” — Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family
We’ve both been moms long enough now to know that challenging seasons and struggles with our kids usually pass — or at least become somewhat easier. Behaviors that we thought would doom them to a life of difficulty often improve or disappear. This happens as they mature and as we follow God’s lead in providing boundaries and discipline. When they don’t, we have to trust that He’s big enough to give us the power to handle it.
We want to encourage you to let God be big in your mothering. Allow Him to show you His mercy and grace in places where you feel inadequate or uneasy.
He won’t let you down.
Between the two of them, Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo have been mothering six kids for almost 40 years! They write over at Mothering From Scratch where they encourage and support mothers in finding their unique mothering style.
Their book Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style that Works for You and Your Family is available in bookstores nationwide and online from Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and ChristianBook.com.
You can also sign up for their “Fill Your Mom Bucket Challenge! 5 Days of Simple Ways of Taking Care of You!” This challenge helps moms fill their spiritual, physical, emotional and grace buckets! Click here to sign up!