One night in church, I sat beside my five-year-old. He was a little fidgety. I let him wiggle during the service, except for the end. The pastor always opens the alter on Sunday evenings for a time of prayer. As Titus struggled to be still, I whispered to him: Right now is quiet time. We are going pray to God. You can too. Ask God to help you with something you are struggling with.
He whispered back: What are you struggling with, Mommy?
I blurted out: Being a good mommy.
No matter if your children are a thousand miles away while you finalize an adoption or they are standing right in front of you, you feel the guilt. It sits in the pit of your stomach. Maybe in the back of your mind. A deep fear that you are not the right choice for these children. You are messing it all up.
Lisa-Jo Baker‘s book Surprised by Motherhood touches on mom guilt. When I first saw this picture floating around social media, I began to cry. The night before I had sat in my bed and wept, believing with all of my heart I was messing this whole mothering-thing up. It felt good to know I wasn’t alone.
No matter if your children have come after piles of paperwork, the pains of labor, the cut of a c-section, years and years of prayers, or in a sudden flash of unexpected news, you may feel something is wrong, and somehow, someone messed up. No stage of motherhood is free of guilt.
After adopting our fourth child, new waves of guilt washed over me. I began to hear these lies whispered in my heart…..”You are not life’s first choice for her….” Maybe because another woman birthed her, because my husband and I “chose” her file, because of a circumstances beyond either of us, she is stuck with me and it is wrong.
With every rejection of her little heart, I wondered if somehow I wasn’t the right choice. Like her wounded and inexperienced heart could sense something. Even today, as hard as it is to admit this, I doubt my love for her. Is it enough? I wonder in the dark of night. Lying awake, remembering all of the mistakes of the day. Adoption has taught me love is a choice, but then I hear the question: Am I the right choice? Celebrating Mother’s Day reminds me of the blessing and heartache all wrapped into one day. We are celebrated, but feel in our hearts we don’t measure up.
Tonight, I want you to join me in saying: Guilt – you are wrong. God doesn’t make mistakes. God doesn’t choose wrong. Our loving Father saw the children in our homes and knew WE are the best mother for them. No one else can be the mother they need because WE are their mother. We are not perfect moms. We do not have it all together. Or polished. Or have it all figured out. We are imperfect moms, who understand grace.
If I trust my Father to make the right choice – the Father who makes good and right choices – I can trust His choice in this. If my Father makes good and right choices, I am good and right. Don’t miss the connection of His choice and who you are. I lose sight of it – daily. I need a reminder. Tonight my son reminded me. All I need to do is pray and obey. If I wanted to be a good and right mother for my children, I need to stop listening to mom guilt and ask God into my motherhood journey. To combat these feelings with prayer and obedience.
Will I always get it right? No way. But I can wake up each morning and say these words:
I am the right choice for my children, because I am HIS choice for them. Before the foundations of the world, He chose me to be their mother. I am chosen.
Join me as we live in the daily together.
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