During the IF:Gathering, the Lord showed me three specific ways that I have been allowing myself to be distracted from fully being the Woman of God and leader He has called me to be. Last week I shared how I am easily distracted by others when I allow too many voices to influence me or when I spend too much time looking at what others are doing causing me to lose sight or confidence in what God has called me to do. Today I will be sharing my third distraction.
Distraction #3: Mommy Guilt
Back in October, I wrote a post about giving myself permission to dream and to say yes to my callings outside of motherhood but that I struggled with saying yes because I felt guilty.
I still struggle with those feelings of guilt whenever I think about doing things that will take me away or distract me from my children, even if only for a few hours. But when I hosted the IF:Gathering, I realized that I had no feelings of guilt as I prepared for the event or during the two days I was away from my children because I knew it was something that God had called me to do and I felt a sense of peace about it all.
There is often advice given to us young moms, well-meaning reminders that our children are only young for a short time and that there will be plenty of time for other things when they are older. Although I see the wisdom in this advice, I also know that it isn’t always that black and white.
There have been times that I have had to work outside of the home because we needed the money or times that I carried responsibilities within our church because of Phillip’s job. And there have been times I have been able focus completely on my children and our home and it was good and necessary for a season. Now I am back to tentatively saying yes to small, yet God-sized dreams and seeing how all of my roles can fit together. I love how beautifully Darlene Zschech puts it…
“For years I tried to juggle all the elements of life. I knew there was a God call on my life to be in ministry, and yet I also knew that it could never be at the expense of my family. When I tried to juggle all the boxes, I learned the hard way that it is difficult to keep them all from crashing down. So I no longer have boxes for marriage, ministry, and motherhood. Instead God has shown me that there is a divine order for my life. Instead of trying to make sure that everything is balanced (there is no prescribed formula of balance), God showed me that I am to break out of the box mentality and instead seek Him for divine order for my life. Each day differs from the day before. The dynamics change, but the call on my life doesn’t. Marriage, motherhood, and ministry are all cohesively part of that call. God anoints us for our entire call.”
~ Darlene Zschech, Extravagant Worship
So how can we moms say yes to our entire call without feeling guilty?
I think we have to pray and seek God first about every idea we have and each opportunity that comes our way. Every little thing that we give our focus and attention to matters to God and I believe each one should be prayed about before a yes or no is given.
And when God calls us to do something that may take our focus off of our children from time to time, we have to trust that He loves our children more than we do and that He sees the bigger picture.
I want to share with you this powerful confession that Helen Lee gave at the IF:Gathering. The Lord used her honest and brave words to set me free from these feelings of fear, anxiety, and guilt I have been struggling with as a mom.
“I confess that the way I mother my kids does not demonstrate the way I believe God has their plans and futures in His hands. I mother like I have their plans and futures in MY hands.
I confess that I mother from a place of fear and anxiety and worry about their futures because I don’t fully trust God has their futures firmly in His hands.
I confess that I am way too hard on my kids, not from a Spirit of trying to raise them to be true men of God one day, but because I want them to achieve success in the way the world sees success. I want them to be great at things so that people will say ‘Wow, you’re kids are great at _________’ and because at the end of all that, what I want people to say is that ‘You’re mom is doing an awesome job.’ I want people to look at me and say, ‘You’re a great mom because you have great kids.
I don’t want the world’s affirmation to be what drives me as a mother. The most important thing I can do as a mother for my kids is to love them. Love them as they are for who they are for who God has made them to be unconditionally the way Jesus loves me.
We must let go of our distrust and disbelief and believe that God has so much more intended for our kids than we could ever ask or hope for. He has their futures fully in hand. We don’t need to be anxious or driven. We can just be moms resting in His grace and giving our kids that same grace.”
~ Helen Lee, IF:Gathering Confessions, 2015 (from my notes)
So what does this look like for me moving forward?
It looks like me continuing to be intentional as a mother, but reminding myself daily to rest in His grace and trust that His hands hold the plans and futures of my children, not mine.
It looks like me not comparing myself to other moms and then feeling guilty for not doing enough or doing too much.
It looks like me seeking Him for divine order for my life and my entire call.
And that looks like me spending time in His Word and in prayer so that I can listen and obey.