Parenting in this day and age can feel overwhelming like a barrage of mom fails. Every now and then I pat myself on the back but the feelings of shame and the overwhelming notion that I’m not getting this mom thing right are my companions.
Those moments when you mess up or as I have seen it called on social media #momfails are the things we have meticulously packed and stored in our hearts. We walk around carrying the heavy load of shame like it was our savior but it quickly proves to be our captor.
We put labels on ourselves because we don’t feel like we measure up but can I tell you this one thing my mama friend: “You are fully loved and accepted right now. Just as you are. Sinful and flawed. We were and are secure in God’s love, all and only because of Jesus. When you fall into the pit, He doesn’t throw us a ladder, He climbs into the pit and carries us out in His arms of grace. See, grace can’t leave us where it finds us. This is not a pep talk. This is the truth of God’s word.” L. Terkeurest
Listen up this is for you mama who is all out of strategies and feels like you can’t get this parenting thing down –He came for the utterly helpless. He showed His great love for you. While you were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8)
My son struggled with anxiety amongst other things early on in his childhood. I remember one particular day feeling the weight of it all. He was struggling in school, socially and emotionally and nothing we did helped him. (Though I now see that statement is not true but it’s exactly how I felt.) I felt like a complete failure when he walked in the door after school once again with his shirt covered in saliva from chewing it up all day.
I hugged him and I cried. I cried and rehashed all the ways I thought I messed up as a mom. I didn’t hold him enough. I should’ve put him more on his tummy. I didn’t play with him enough maybe he didn’t feel loved as a baby. I should’ve sang to him more that would’ve helped him feel more secure now.”
And in the middle of my litany of shame God interrupted me with my own words. The very words I would whisper into my little guys ears in the middle of the night as I sang to him or played with him, “I may not be getting everything right but one thing I know for sure is you are so loved.” He turned my lies into truth with by giving me this specific memory.
Do you see how condemnation robs us of joy? But God–He gave me truth in the midst of my condemnation. The tears were now of joy from remembering the truth and letting go of the lies.
Our “mom mess ups” don’t make us failures as the hashtag implies– #momfails. Actually our mom fails are what make us human. Humans who need Jesus.
Listen up closely don’t beat yourself up for weak moments instead confess them to God and let them go. Give up on carrying the weight of all that’s too much for us and what we were never meant to carry. Jesus took care of all that on the cross.
Weak moments make us even more aware of our need to press into faith. A faith in God that helps us know that what we see isn’t all there is. Weak moments are also clues telling us what needs to be addressed right now in this part of the journey. Don’t beat yourself up for weak moments. But don’t ignore them either.” ~L Terkeurst
What is Condemnation?
In chapter 9 of our Summer Book Club book a “Mom Set Free” she discusses the big difference between condemnation and conviction. You see the voice of condemnation and the voice of conviction come from two completely different places and that makes all the difference.
Condemnation comes from the father of lies who is out prowling around seeking to make sure we fail, we doubt and we shame ourselves. His words sound harsh and the labels are heavy: evil, liar, loser, failure, unworthy… It says things like, “You messed up again. Why can’t you ever get it right? Everything you do is always wrong. You’re never going to get this. You are worthless.” Condemnation is hateful. The father of lies can’t still our salvation but he’ll do everything he can to steal our joy, to carve out the path of doubt for us to blindly follow.
It is the voice of shame urging us to believe that our heavenly Father is shaking His head at us in disappointment and disgust, His arms crossed and His Heart closed.” ~J. Cunnion
The minute we choose to walk around with the voice of condemnation in our hearts it turns into shame. Condemnation gives us no hope and robs us of God’s joy and blinds us from His love.
Brene Brown defines shame as the “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” Shame simply explained is “I am what I do”. I am not just behaving badly I am a bad mom. Do you see how what you’ve done or has been done to you is not connected to your very essence? I am a bad mom. You walk away feeling like something is wrong with me.
This is what God’s word says about condemnation don’t forget it.
“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1
What is Conviction?
The voice of conviction is specific, helpful and a loving voice. It doesn’t accuse us but instead shows us specifically what we need to take care of in that situation. So for example, you lose your patience with your son and in frustration you call him a “baby” for whining. The minute it came out of my mouth you knew it wasn’t okay.
The voice of condemnation says, “What kind of mom does that? You’re turning into that mom. You’re so mean.”
The voice of conviction says, “Mari calling your son baby is not kind. You need to restore this relationship. You know what you need to do. Go and ask forgiveness.”
The voice of conviction comes from a place of love. From our Heavenly Father who loves us too much to leave us where we are at and wants to guide you to freedom. It is the Holy Spirits job to convict us, remind us and teach us.
“It’s the voice of grace beckoning us to run to Jesus, repent, receive mercy and run the race before us in His transforming power and grace.” ~J. Cunnion
Conviction always leads to joy when we take it to our heavenly Father because we realize we no longer have to walk around with the weight of our shame or our sin.
When Shame Spills over into Parenting
On page 101 of Mom Set Free Jeannie says, “We have all experienced the crushing power of shame in some form or fashion. And if we’ve allowed that shame in some form or fashion. And if we’ve allowed that shame to hang out in our hearts, it’s likely we’ve partnered with shame. Because what we live in is what we live out.”
I have parented knee deep in the muck of my own shame carrying the weight of my imperfect parenting and it has spilled out in the way I correct, teach, guide, love, and basically everything. I decided long time ago I didn’t want to live this way anymore. I want to offer correction, teaching, love and guidance that is overflowing with grace not criticism and pride.
It’s still an everyday battle but it’s one I’m willing to fight so I can find freedom but so that my children don’t carry shame and condemnation.
The Solution to our Shame
Here’s our “but God” moment–Jesus willingly took my shame and carried it to the cross so that we can walk in freedom.
How do we walk in freedom and not shame?
- We repent when needed. God reminds us in His word, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us form all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 Do you hear the love and grace in those words?
- We keep our eyes on Jesus and receive His grace.
- We take our thoughts captive and release the lies.
- Then we rehearse His faithfulness and not rehash our failures.
- And finally we rest in His truth.
I call this the 4 R’s which I share in full detail with a free printable HERE but I added “Repent” here as it’s own point. It’s one of my most popular blog posts and it’s something I use on a weekly basis to get my mind back on track.
Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and His truth. It’s only when we do this will we be able to focus on His word and truth. It allows us to rehearse His faithfulness not our failures.
Condemnation is like spiritual waterboarding, where Satan tries to smother any glimpse of God’s goodness and love for you. He’s trying to drown you in your sins, as he tried with Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3:1. ~ Olan Stubbs
We fight against the schemes of the enemy when we face our not “enoughness”, by looking toward the cross to the one who is enough. When the lies come knocking at our heart and mind we can fight back with His truth instead of being tossed to and fro in the storm of lies we can take those lies captive and remind ourselves there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
But before you think this is a one time thing let me remind you my dear mom friend this is a life long battle. We have to continuously keep our eyes on Jesus, lest we forget, because you see we are forgetful. Our minds quickly fall prey to spiritual amnesia–let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and His truth.
Follow along our Summer Book Club get details HERE! Even if you can’t keep up with the reading join in on the conversation here on my blog and on my Facebook page. Next week we will discuss chapters 10-12!