By Brie Gowen
We were rushing out to the van. I don’t know what it is about once you have kids, and how that somehow makes it impossible to leave the house on time. You can start getting ready hours ahead of schedule, but when it’s time to go shoes disappear, people gotta poop, and everyone loses their mind. Including mom. So there I am prying a four year old from the TV after calling three times, “get in the van,” I’m holding a sick baby on my hip (like got a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia yesterday, sick), and holding my phone to my ear, waiting to speak with my insurance company, as the piercing music of an on-hold concerto drills into my skull.
“Come on! Let’s go! Get in your seat!” I cry passionately (and also manically).
This is the moment my six year old daughter chooses to pull out a secret box containing the world’s sharpest knives. She picks an especially serrated one, aims with precision, and drives it into my back in the form of these words, “_____ never freaks out, and she has more kids than you!”
She had spent the day under the care of another mother who apparently didn’t lose her marbles as frequently as I, and though I was under no illusion that this mom was perfect, in this moment I felt about as far from it as you could get.
To be honest I felt crushed. I slid behind the steering wheel of my less than immaculate minivan, and I felt too small to be at the helm. I definitely felt lower than the windshield; I felt lower than dirt. I considered the many times I lose my cool, and I realized once again just how short I fall on a daily basis. Why couldn’t I get it right?!
I had one job that was important to me, and that job was to raise my tiny humans. I wanted to do it really well, better than anything else I tried in life, but sometimes I felt as if my children deserved better than the lot they had been given when they got me as a mom. Just being honest.
I couldn’t keep a clean house like my little sister did.
I wasn’t always fun and easy-going like my other sister was.
I couldn’t seem to be organized like the many homeschool moms I knew.
My mind could go on and on with all the things I wasn’t, but all I could focus on at the time was what I was. I was not good enough for my kids. Not in my eyes.
Of course I texted my husband and shared it all with him, and in signature Ben fashion he spoke to the heart of the matter.
Well all that matters is you love them and they know it, nothing else matters. I guess keeping them alive and in one piece matters too though
I smiled. I loved him big.
Then he shared this:
“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 1:5-6 NIV
As I read God’s truth I realized many of my issues with frustration could be more properly channeled by running them through the love filter. Was running late that big of a deal that it required an unloving tone? Not likely. But even beyond the obvious truth and learning available in this scripture I heard God’s voice. His Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and it whispered,
“You need to love yourself too.”
That was certainly something I needed to work on.
I wasn’t the perfect mom. I wasn’t even like other mothers I compared myself to sometimes, but I was my kids’ mom. And it so happened that God gave them to me. He knew the kind of mom I’d be before I ever conceived, and He knew I was up for the challenge. He knew I would be the best mom for each child He designed within my womb, specifically for me. They say God never gives you more than you can handle, but in motherhood that’s especially not true. I experience things on an almost daily basis that are more than I can handle. I think what they mean is God never gives you more than He can handle. He gave me motherhood. It’s my gift. My favorite gift actually. And He also provides me the strength to handle every challenge as it comes. So do I always handle each situation gracefully? Probably not. But they are loved, they know they are loved, and that counts for a whole lot.
Sometimes I may feel like they deserve better than me, but then I remember God places His best within me so I can be exactly what they need.