When I realized that I needed help in the good mothering ways, I spent some time reading books and consulting resources so that I could acquire the tools I needed to do my job well. At first, I was very depressed by all the things I wasn’t doing right. I felt like an utter failure! How is my son (mainly, I was struggling with how to deal with my two-year-old’s temper tantrums) ever going to grow up well when I have my own problems to work through? I was making so many mistakes. How would he ever recover from them all?
Well, it’s easy to feel that you’re not good enough when everything around you reminds you that you’re not. So it’s important to find your anchor in life, to have a source of strength. Otherwise, you will find yourself at rock bottom quicker than you can count to ten, and you’ll forever be in the negative in terms of what you need to survive the journey of motherhood, let alone to thrive in these times.
I’m a Christian, so I draw my strength from God. I depend heavily on his grace, direction, and wisdom to get through my days. I know where my help comes from, and I have faith that my tomorrows will be better than my todays. With God, I know that I can do (read: endure!) all things, and it is my desire that he use me to bless those around me, most especially my husband and children.
When I need patience, I rely on the Lord to help me be patient. When I feel that my fuse is short, I trust in the Lord to help me grow in meekness. When I want to be mean, I remember that kindness is the better path. God’s love grows in my heart, and because of this supernatural phenomenon, which is available to anyone who will ask him to enter their heart, I am triumphant over my circumstances and, at times, raging emotions. I might not always feel like I am victorious, but I know deep down in my heart that I am victorious. I am on God’s side, and he is on mine. Therefore, nothing can bring me down, and he causes my efforts to be fruitful. The desires of my heart come to pass, and my children will not only be blessed and grow up blessed, but they will call me blessed because my hope is in the Lord.
I will not fear because the Lord goes before me. He is my stronghold in times of trouble. He helps and delivers me. He guides my steps and anoints me with power and effectiveness. Jesus Christ has made his home in my heart, and his Word of life lives in me. He shows me how to be humble and self-controlled. He keeps me kind and loving. He teaches me how to be a servant. And how to lead. How to live. How to love. The Holy Spirit comforts me and encourages me and continues to teach me in higher ways each day.
The Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever. I offer my life to him as a fragrant offering to him, desiring him and only him, wanting him to use me to minister healing and joy to others. I yield to his will, and (to paraphrase something from another mother, the infamous Susanna Wesley) I am content to occupy a small space if it brings glory to God. This is my small space, that of good mothering.
So as, I hope, is evident, I aim to have an eternal perspective of my life in this life. While “religion” has been accused of being the opium of the people, I attest that my relationship with Jesus is what allows me to form positive and strong relationships with others, most importantly with my husband and children. It was God who created me, not the other way around. And so has my mindset been shaped.
Whether or not you believe that God exists or believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or believe that the Holy Spirit is real, you’ll have to have something that you go to to console your wounded self when you think you just can’t do a single moment more. Your anchor will ground you and keep you stable when the winds blow and the storms rage. With God, there’s hope and joy available, and love overflows. Even though life can still be hard even when you have faith, it’s easier with God than without him.
If your hope is not in the Lord and you aren’t looking to him for everything you need and want, then you probably won’t do too well in anything. All your efforts to be your personal best and to achieve good mothering status will only be in vain. It’s just the way it is, whether we accept it or not. Find your anchor, yes, but choose wisely. Any life lived apart from God is a wasted, empty, fruitless one. In the end, everything will mean nothing because it wasn’t rooted in the one, true, living God.
So throw yourself into prayer, and commit yourself fully to God. Let him work in you, and allow him to create the peace you crave and the love you seek in your relationships with your children. You will be full of joy once you ask Jesus into your heart. I another writing entitled The Joyful Life: Enjoying the Journey of Living that addresses how to have joy and why it’s important to have joy.
Let the positive changes you want to see start with you as you begin to understand that only God, through us as we yield our lives to him, can change anything. Find your true anchor in the Lord God Almighty, and he’ll make sure that everything turns out all right.
This writing is also included in Loved: Writings on Motherhood and Caregiving, a collection of reflective and expository writings by Tiffany Tyndall.