My youngest child turned 30 last month. Thirty! It’s almost inconceivable. But time marches relentlessly on, whether we want it to or not. Both of my sons are doing well, as seen through the eyes of the world. They make good money, have good wives, and two kids each. They seem happy and content.
Yet, at this milestone, I find myself asking questions. Did I do enough to show them Jesus, not just religion? Did I love them enough so that they will always know they have a safe place to land in my heart and home? Did I make the right choice to stay in a difficult marriage in order to provide them with an emotional stability that is worth far more than financial stability? Was I a good mom? A good enough mom for all the trials they will face in life?
I suppose every mother of adult children asks herself these same questions. I suppose there is no knowing the answers. I may always think I should have done more, done better, made different choices. I can only take those unknowables to the Father and let Him have them. Just as I continually take my children to the Father and let Him have them. I must always remember that He loves them far more than I possibly can.
No Mom is Perfect
The truth is I was far from a perfect mom. I was emotional. I struggled with depression. I cried a lot! I was overweight – my boys have no memories of me as a thin and healthy person, although I once was. Before life took a left turn.
But, despite all that, I did my best. I prayed. I taught. I tried to model faith. I am still praying, teaching, modeling faith.
So, this is for all you less-than-perfect moms out there. I know your pain. I know that you often hide or deny your pain. I know your dreams for your children, your home, your family. I know your fears, anxieties, and worries. And I know that broken dreams often litter your past.
It’s OK. It’s OK to be less-than-perfect. It’s OK to cry and pray and hope and worry and wonder and question. But even more than it being OK now, it will be OK tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come. Not because your kids are guaranteed to turn out OK. Not because you’re guaranteed a happily-ever-after. Not for any reason I can name, or you can think of. Except for this.
JESUS. Just Jesus.
It’s OK to not be OK, because in Christ you are not alone. It’s OK to cry and worry and pray, because Jesus knows your pain, your fears, your struggles. And He isn’t going anywhere. He’s always there for you and with you. He’s always listening, ready to comfort, to guide, to give supernatural peace.
All you and I have to do is call on Him, turn to Him, lean on Him.
Easy words, but what practical steps accompany those words? How can you make what you know in your head become a reality in your daily life as you wake up each day and walk through whatever comes?
Prayer, Praise, and the Word
First, pray and pray some more. There is no such thing as too much prayer. Pray in the morning. Pray in the evening. Pray at any and every chance. This is me, preaching to myself. I go through seasons when I pray well, and others when I don’t. But I never give up praying, and you shouldn’t either. It is the key to the peace in the midst of storms.
Second, praise and praise some more. There is no such thing as too much praise. Praise in the morning. Praise in the evening. Praise at any and every chance. Sound repetitious? Good, because prayer and praise should be conjoined twins – never one without the other. Pray by bringing all your worries to Christ. Then praise Him for answers that will come, for what He has already provided, for salvation, for immeasurable love, grace, and mercy. Praise until you can’t think of anything else to praise Him for, then start over at the beginning.
Prayer and praise. But they are made strong by the Word. Infuse your prayers and your praise with the Word as you read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it. The power of prayer is in the One to whom we pray. The power of praise is in the One on whom we pour our adoration. And He has graciously given us a manual to guide our prayer and praise – the Word.
The better you know the Word, the more power will be in your prayers and your praises. As you pour your heart out to Him in prayer and praise, let the Word pour into your heart and fill the hurting places with His promises and His peace.
Again, this is me preaching to myself. I love the Word but am never in it enough. Whether I’m in it for five minutes or an hour, it never feels like enough. So, I keep coming back for more of the ‘good stuff.’ Even when I’m angry, depressed, worried, tired, or sick – I turn to the Word. Now that I no longer have little ones demanding my attention, it is easier to find blocks of time for the Word. But even back then, I would squeeze the precious minutes I could out of any part of my day to get into the Word. I praise Him for the desire for His Word He has placed in my heart.
Psalm 42:1 has always been one of my favorite verses:
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.
I long for Him and I long for His Word and I long for time in prayer and praise.
There is no secret formula for being a good mom, good employee, business owner, wife, daughter, or simply a good person. It always, always comes back to Jesus, prayer, praise, and the Word.
One More Step
There is one more step to take. Find your people – in church, in life groups, in Bible study, at work, or in your family. Find them and hang onto them. Hang out with them. Share your fears and prayers and worries and victories. Let them into your life – your real life, not the public face you put on for everyone else. Find your people to be real and vulnerable with, then take a deep breath and dive in. Life is so lonely any other way. Yes, Jesus is always there. But having someone ‘with skin on’ makes connecting to Him easier.
Again, I’m preaching to myself. This is so hard for me. I’ve moved so much, made and lost so many friends, that letting new people in is difficult – very difficult. But, letting them in is the only way to health and wholeness in my heart and spirit. If you’re scared – like me – join me in ‘jumping in’ and share your life with the body of Christ. It’s worth every risk you take.