“I feel like a failure as a mom,” I said to LaTricia, a friend who was visiting. In front of her, my two daughters—then ages 7 and 11–rebelliously ignored my instructions.
What she said that day also applies to feelings of failure which arise—often around Mother’s Day–as a mother of adult children.
“You’re not a failure because they do wrong things. You’re a failure if you fail to respond with the right thing. You fail when you quit being a godly mom.”
When my children were young, they had such a passion for God. It seemed certain back then they would be missionaries or in full time Christian service. But their passion for God fizzled. They fell in love with the things of this world and out of love with their Lord. One daughter denies God even exists.
“You failed,” is what my mind shouts again lately.
In my quiet time recently, I embraced this truth, “When I hear a voice saying, ‘You’ve failed as a mom,’ it’s not God speaking. That’s the enemy’s voice trying to discourage me.”
These days the right response isn’t disciplining my children–ie. grounding them–for making wrong choices. But God showed me if I fail at three things I’m in danger–if I fail to pray, fail to believe, and fail to love unconditionally.
At times I’ve abandoned all three out of discouragement. Instead of praying I’ve preached. Instead of believing God will intervene, I’ve concluded He has deserted them and me. Instead of loving unconditionally, I’ve given a message of “I’d really love you if you would just get right with God again.”
As I keep my focus on the Lord rather than on them or on myself, I can see He is working in their lives. They have both received a tremendous amount of emotional healing. During this time of them battling spiritual confusion, they have remained loving children. They exhibit godly qualities such as compassion, generosity, and integrity. One has returned to attending church. The other is not so angrily anti-God.
Even as they struggle with trusting God, I realize I’m having a battle with trust of my own. I can’t win their battle for them. But I can be the victor in mine. Do I trust God with my children? If I continue to pray, believe, and love unconditionally, I show that I do.
A quote that comes back to me again and again is from Billy Graham’s daughter: “God is the perfect parent, and look at all the problems He has had with His children.” Gigi Graham Tchividjian
Verses that come back to mind repeatedly (which I’ve personalized here) are:
For I know the plans I have for them, declares the LORD, plans to prosper them and not to harm them, plans to give them a hope and a future…I will bring them back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:11 & 14 NIV
Feelings of failure have been replaced with the certainty of God’s continued faithfulness.
Father God, This Mother’s Day I thank You for a wonderful mother and for the privilege of being a mom. Thank You for my children and all they have taught me and the richness they have brought to my life. Thank You that we remain close and enjoy our times together. Thank You for the mercy You’ve shown for my mothering mistakes. Thank You that parenthood has helped me understand Your heart. Help me to continue to be a faithful, godly mother. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What about you? Are you discouraged about your children? Bring it to God and He will be the loving parent as He shows you how to continue to do the same.