Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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31 Days: What to do When You Are Afraid of God

I once went through a time in my life where I had a lot of anxiety about God.

I couldn’t pinpoint it really.  It was just a reservation, a cautious wall in my heart.

But one day as I ran the vacuum cleaner over the carpet, I realized how I really viewed him.

Although I gave lip service to a loving, gracious Heavenly Father in theory, practically I viewed him as a wrathful taskmaster who was just waiting for me to trust him so he could jerk the rug out from under my feet.

Right there in the middle of the housework I started to cry.  I realized that I had believed a lie.

Maybe you have believed that lie too.

Maybe you have spent time in a religious environment that emphasized outward conformity and religious rules to please God.

And even though you love him, that mental picture of a deity who demands performance in exchange for approval is the one you carry in your head.  This is the image you’ll pass to your children.

That’s not what the good news of Jesus is all about.

When we begin our journey with Christ through a heart-cry of repentance and faith, God sees us as completely righteous and fully forgiven—not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done.

There’s nothing we can do to make him love us more, and nothing we can do to make him love us less.

He sees us through the righteousness of Christ.

Our own good deeds can’t make us closer to him or cause us to win his favor.  They should flow from a heart of love and gratitude, not because we are trying to earn brownie points with God.

We kind of hate that.  It feels good to imagine that we are able to do something, anything, to make God happy with us.  And we feel we deserve the emotional self-flagellation we mete out when we fail.

The thing about grace is that we don’t deserve it.  We never will.

God’s gift is just that, a gift.

Accept it.  Accept his complete, unconditional, unreserved love and forgiveness.  And just love him back.

The fear will fall away!

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This post of part of 31 Days of Fearless Mothering

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Please feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!  I would be thrilled!

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Look for my eBook, Fearless Mothering, in November!

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On Your Heart

Soli Deo Gloria

Heart +Home Gathering

Titus 2sday


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Fearless Mothering: What if I Mess Up My Kids?

{art: Henri Lebasque}

There are a few arrogant women in the world who think their mothering methods are pretty much perfect.

But most of us are painfully aware of our own weakness and inadequacies.

In fact, I daresay that this awareness fuels some of our greatest fear as mothers.

We hear adult children of dysfunctional parents tell of how their parents messed them up.

Or we recognize our own parents’ shortcomings and how they affected us.

Maybe we never had a good model and we just don’t know how to be moms.

We don’t know what voices to listen to.  Popular parenting magazines?  Christian child-training “experts?”  Our peers?

Our dysfunctions pop to the surface.  We see how selfish we can be.  Maybe we yell or find that mothering brings out a latent anger we didn’t know we had.  We say cutting things that we wish we could take back.  Perhaps we struggle with depression or circumstances beyond our control…death, divorce, crumbling health, or financial devastation.

Life gets messy.  Really messy.

Mothering presents challenges we never anticipated.  It can range from basic personality clashes to profound special needs.  But in any case, these challenges leave us breathless, desperate, afraid.

The question that comes is: Do I have what it takes?

Can I be a good mom?

What if I mess my kids up forever?

These precious children whom I love more than life itself…What if I am not enough?

Sweet moms, I get it because I am right there with you.

You know what I have realized?  We aren’t enough.

We are broken, hurting women on a sin-shattered planet and our best efforts are not enough to guarantee a great outcome.

But should this make us despair?

Oh, no!

This is where faith comes in.

Jesus knows our weakness.  He knows we will mess up.  He knows our dysfunctions and our pain.

He knows that we are not enough—but he is.

And so, rather than give way to the terror that we will ruin our kids forever, I believe that there are several things that we can do.

1. Run to Jesus, and point our kids to him.

It’s why we need the good news, the Gospel, that Jesus died in our place and took the punishment for our sins.  When we accept that, he becomes our ruler and forgiver.  We don’t have to try to be good enough on our own any more.

He’ll change us.  He can take that brokenness and make us continually more whole in a process of inner transformation.

2. Extend grace to our children.

If we are harsh or have expectations of our kids that are higher than we have of ourselves, they will certainly resent us.  But if we approach them in a posture of humility, they will see that we are in this together, we all mess up, and we all need Jesus.  When we extend grace to them when they mess up, they will be more likely to extend grace to us when we mess up.

3. Trust God to fill in the gaps.

We still won’t be perfect.  It doesn’t matter how clean the house, how loving our words, how well-organized our educational plan, or how much devotional time we have.

We’re going to fall down.

We’re broken, period.  That’s why we need him.

And so we look to God, the only perfect parent, to fill in the gaps.  When we are unloving, he never is.  When we make mistakes, he never does.  When we fail to extend grace, he is ever gracious.  When we aren’t very good moms, he never fails.

And we can lean into his sweet grace and know that he is right there, fully able to fill in the empty spaces of our weakness.

He is enough.

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This post of part of 31 Days of Fearless Mothering

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Please feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!  I would be thrilled!

*********

Look for my eBook, Fearless Mothering, in November!

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Linking:

Better Mom Monday

Miscellany Monday

Hear it, Use It


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31 Days of Fearless Mothering

When I wrote my to-do list Wednesday morning, I didn’t put “call 911.” 

I didn’t write “watch as daughter is taken to the hospital by ambulance” or “research medical emergency doctors can’t explain.”

But that’s exactly what I did.

How ironic that this happened just as I was about start 31 Days of Fearless Mothering.

How do we mother in a world where bad things happen? 

How do we live in peace for our children?

How do we face unknowns?

This passionate mother-love, this God-given maternal instinct that would make us die for our children if necessary, can sweep us right past normal caution into a life controlled by fear, and that fear can suck the life out of us and our families.

Mamas, I have been there.  So many times.  Fear was the air I breathed as a young bride and new mom.

And God helped me to overcome, to learn to live in freedom.

I tell the whole story in my ebook, Fearless Mothering, that I’ll release in November.  (I’m giving away lots of copies, so check back for updates!)

And this month I’m joining The Nester and hundreds of other women who are writing on a single topic for 31 days—in my case, learning to let go of fear and be moms of courage and faith.

The world can be a scary place—but I have a great and trustworthy God.  I want to talk about that this month. 

Won’t you join me?

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Day 2: What if I Mess My Kids Up?

Day 3: What to Do if You are Afraid of God

Day 4: Irrational Fears

Day 5: When Your Children are Afraid

Days 6 and 7: Oops!

Day 8: Fear of What Others Think

Day 9: Fear of Culture

Day 10: Fear of Culture, Part 2 (How Jesus lived in a perverse culture)

Day 11: Fearing the News (Current Events)

Day 12: Christian Superstitions

Day 13: Raise Brave Kids

Day 14: Ann Voskamp on overcoming fear

Day 15: Oops!

Day 16: Fear Can Make us Over-Shelter

Day 17: Fear of the Future, Part 1

UPDATE: Days 18 onward…RM is on hiatus due to an unexpected time of transition for our family.  Feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to hear when we’re back up and running.  Thanks for understanding!

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Please feel free to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!  I would be thrilled!

*********

Look for my eBook, Fearless Mothering, in November!