Heavenly Father has been trying to teach me a lesson for at least the past eighteen months.
So often I get bogged down in the coulda-woulda-shouldas. I agonize in my evening prayers and while trying to fall asleep over the ways I failed during the day. I fear where life is headed for my children because of my failures.
I wish I could say that at least the fear drives me to improve and be a better mother.
But it doesn’t. Fear is not a truly motivating force and it never will be.
It ends up being nothing more than a despair and distraction. A tool I polish nicely and hand over to that Satan jerk to use against me, and thus my family.
God has been reminding me, in his ever patient grace and mercy, that that is not what he wants for me. That he isn’t condemning me. That he sees progress and I just need to keep moving forward.
In essence, this is a massive battle between faith and fear. And I think that is a battle that many mothers face. But we don’t have to lose!
I’ve received some positive feedback this last week that I sorely needed as I was beginning to focus on all the poor behaviors of my sons and so my competence as a mother; giving in again to that fear.
A visiting teacher and sister-in-law, on back to back days, remarked that my boys are great at listening to me. I had been so focused on the times they don’t listen that I was completely missing all the times that they did.
The very next day my oldest son received a card in the mail from the teacher who led a two year study he just completed being a part of. It was so sweet. Her card made it clear that despite the many students she had, she still knew my son and loved him. She remarked on his eager attitude to learn, his enthusiasm, his politeness; it wasn’t even written to me, yet it really lifted me and once again reset my perspective.
I am so grateful for the reminders that Heavenly Father sends to me through other people to change my perspective from one of fear to one of faith; to really look at my sons.
Yes my boys ignore me sometimes, yes they can be mean to each other and to me, and yes we have improvements to make. But when I stop focusing on those things and really look at my children I see such purity, promise, and innocence.
And while much of who they are was there before they came to me, it is evident that my nurturing and influence as a mother have taken some effect. Some I’m embarrassed to own, but many things that I can be proud of:
They say “thank you,” regularly. They will say, “I love you,” and “I’m sorry,” without being told. They help each other. They cry at bedtime if we haven’t read scriptures or said prayers or brushed teeth. They repeat to strangers the things that I’ve taught them when I wasn’t sure they were listening.
My sons have strong, good hearts. They have what seems to be an infinite capacity for love and forgiveness. They are good, amazing boys.
I need not fear to be their mother. We can get through this together.
This scripture helps me: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
This is the lesson that God is teaching me. On an intellectual level, I think I got it. But how to learn it on a deeper, spiritual level so that it becomes part of my life and I can eliminate that fear…How have you done it? How do you keep your faith that you are a capable, trusted mother strong against the fear that you can’t do it? What keeps your faith strong between the reminders and positive feedback?
About the author
Lindsey is a twenty-something year old mother of three awesome boys, married to their incredible father. As a happily married, young, Christian, stay at home mom, she’s proud to be among a very rare, very small group of women. Read her musings from that minority, or participate in There was a moment….
Photo by JJ