It’s that time of year when kids return to school, and it’s got me reminiscing about my days as a third grade teacher. I remember the first day jitters of students trying to navigate a new classroom community. I recall passing out freshly sharpened pencils and crisp spiral notebooks meticulously labeled by name and subject. And most of all, I remember the sense of freshness and hope the first days of school brings each year. Teachers and student alike are starting out with a blank slate, so to say, with little to no real “tests” or report cards given yet.
And all this reminiscing has got me thinking: If motherhood was a test, what grade would I be getting right now? An A? An F? Or maybe somewhere in between?!
That question makes me almost audibly gulp. Most days I’d be nervous to know the answer. Seriously, the good Lord knows I’ve eaten many slices of humble pie in my journey as a mother so far.
Like the times when my baby and toddler simultaneously scream at mealtime meltdowns.
Like the times I have forgotten to bring my toddler’s shoes in the car.
Like the times I am running perpetually late to Bible study or an appointment.
Like the times I have yelled at my toddler rather than gently correcting in love.
It’s all these moments that can make me feel like I’m “failing” at this test called motherhood, if I see it as such. But what if motherhood really wasn’t a test to pass, but a ministry to cultivate each day?
God is teaching me that motherhood is more like tending a garden in partnering with His Holy Spirit to sow seeds of faith in the soil of my children’s souls. As such, I can daily relinquish the burdensome belief that I can be a good enough mom in my own strength. And you can too, momma friend.
Let’s agree to stop assigning ourselves (or each other!) a grade each day. There’s no test to pass, or grade to give, when it comes to God’s heart for motherhood.
Indeed, God calls you and me to give up on being good enough moms. It all starts with fixing our eyes on Jesus rather than ourselves. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He alone can fill and fuel our hearts to be faithful moms to our children. Likewise, Brooke McGlothlin succinctly expresses this truth so well in her new book, Gospel Centered Mom, when she writes, “Jesus is all the enough we will ever need (26).”
Such a simple yet profound truth that can be hard to grasp in our performance-based world. How easy it can be to add Jesus plus some self-effort when it comes to evaluating myself as a mother.
However, I see the heart of Jesus is not on achieving, but rather on abiding-staying rooted in the sufficiency of His empowering grace bestowed upon followers as children of God.
Jesus emphasizes this abiding principle when He reminded His disciples in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Friends, Jesus’ words still hold true today for you and me as moms. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. That’s why we need to give up on being good enough everyday in our journeys as moms.
God will equip us to be faithful moms when we daily surrender all sense of self-sufficiency and embrace His grace bestowed in Jesus Christ. We must receive this radical realism about our desperate need to abide in Jesus throughout the journey of motherhood.
So let’s give up on being good enough in ourselves, and abide in Him, who is pure goodness through and through.
Can I challenge you to join with me each and every day to utter this or a similar prayer to abide in Jesus?
I quiet my weary momma heart today and come to worship You as my Savior and my Sustainer. I confess it’s so easy to try in being a good enough mom to my kids. But Your Word says that You are the vine, and I am the branches. Apart from You I can do nothing. So I’m waving my white flag of self-sufficiency today. I’m choosing to embrace Your grace. Teach me exactly what it means to abide in You today. Fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit to be a channel of Your grace to my children. Let them see me walking with You throughout this day. As I choose to walk with you, I believe You’ll empower me to be a faithful mother. Use my example to show my children the power of your enabling grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I’d love to hear how praying to abide in Jesus is changing your journey as a mom. Comment below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.