Sometimes I don’t like myself.
When I am in that state, it’s hard to be around my kids. Before they were on the scene, if I was feeling “blah,” I could withdraw and nobody would care. My identity and mood were mine and I could sit and stew to my heart’s content. I could sulk. Call a friend. Exercise. Escape in a book or some fluff magazine. Take a nap. Be alone. But when you’re a mom, especially with younger kids, you can’t withdraw. (Well, maybe for a bit, but you still have to come out from your room and make dinner!) You’re cemented to the responsibility of being a lifeline to your children who skip alongside you on an invisible leash…that’s when the guilt rushes in. They didn’t ask for Mom to be in a bad mood or to have to bear the brunt of my humanness, hormones or various rocks I have stumbled over. So when I can’t depend on my identity or strong-enough self to pull us all out from my mini “me” crisis, I rest in knowing there is someone who can.
He’s Big. He’s Strong. He’s Capable. He’s Trustworthy. He’s Intentional. Almighty. A Refuge. A Comforter. Redeemer. He is our Savior.
I thank God for being bigger than myself to help me through the mood swings I experience, and sadly, cannot always control. When I depend on God and ask for His strength, He sustains me through those weak moments when I have to be “on” as a parent. He empowers me to be humble and say, “I am sorry,” and provides the strength to persevere through the minutes….one moment at a time. He also gives my children what they need. Sometimes their need (not desire) might be to observe someone else’s sadness and stress so they can learn to be comforters. Sometimes they need to receive compassion, or practice having a self-controlled, patient response when their needs are not getting met. Or maybe I need to curl up on the couch and read to them so I can learn that what I may need is to get past my focused self and press on in my responsibilities. There are many opportunities that God can use the “blahs” (otherwise known as grief, pain or challenges) in all our lives to help develop, shape and transform us into His likeness that can have far reaching effects into our characters…that’s an identity worth having.
I know in those dark moments, God’s light shines in…perhaps it doesn’t blind me from the obstacle as I would hope, but strengthens and uplifts me. And sometimes, when we are standing on shaky ground, a second’s worth of firm foundation beneath our feet, is really all we need with the understanding that power like that comes from Him alone.
When God equips me in those moments, I am grateful that He is loving enough to breathe His identity into me.
Until I can like myself again.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans, 8:28)
“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.” (Isaiah, 30:18)
“I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you–the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121)
Brenda Quinn says
So true–Whan Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy! I so identify. When I have a short temper with my kids I have learned to look inside and try to figure out what’s going on in me, and then try to go to God with that. I guess it’s kind of “self therapy” and then “God therapy.” I love those verses!
The first thing that comes to mind when I read your post Linda, besides THAT’S ME TOO!!!, is the scripture, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” 2Cor. 12:10. I think you are right when you say, sometimes, it’s OK for our kids to see that we are human, that the world overwhelms us, that we can’t handle it all perfectly, because no one is perfect except for the Lord Almighty and it’s a GREAT lesson to show our kids—that it’s OK to be non-perfect! We can also show them, that GOD LOVES US even when we are not perfect. For me, for those times when I am feeling that way about myself, more and more lately I am turning to the Lord, wanting alone time with him, more than just having a break like watching a show, talking to a friend or seeing a movie. I find myself yearning to be in His Word and talking with Him–I have even put myself in my walk-in closet while my son plays in the other room to read and pray and get emotionally “stable” again before approaching my child once more. I then tell my son, that Mommy needed to go talk to God and read His Word and now I am feeling calmer! Whenever I feel down or upset or confused or anything, I try to find an appropriate scripture passage to help me—I look things up in a little scripture book called God’s Promises for Everyday by Jack Countryman and A.L. Gill. Then I write them down on a posty or pad and walk around with it on me to use as something to get me by until I can sit down and read His Word or talk with Him again.
Here is one of my favorites for those days when things are really getting you down:
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” psalm 40:1-3
Thanks Linda for this wonderful site of yours, it is a Godsend 🙂
I love that you tell your son that you need to talk with God, Paula. What an example of faith you are modeling for him. As he gets older in his life, he will remember what Mom did when she was challenged…he will remember that God was and is your recourse and your resource. What a legacy to leave him for when he has a family and needs a personal time-out to seek God. What an awesome tool for him to have…you are a faithful example!
Mommy guilt is a tough thing & I struggle with it almost daily. Thanks for the reminder to turn to Him in my times of need.