For the Mom Who Doesn’t Feel Good Enough

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I am convinced that just about every mom thinks she’s ruining this whole parenting thing.

My daughter is on an overnight field trip (you know, the kind where even the bus ride is an adventure?). We planned and packed, and at 10pm, hours before she left, she came in my bedroom, crying and panicking because “I” forgot to pick up her special costume for one of the events.

We intentionally went weeks early to pick out and reserve the costume. I was on my game.

But no matter…. On this day, I forgot to pick it up! (Note: the field trip is out of town--as in a 3-hour round-trip drive to deliver the costume.)

Yippee…. Now I am feeling not on my game.

My people are my favorite. I get to write things, speak to people across the country, and run this crazy, passionate team called IF:Gathering, but at the end of the day, it’s my family and my kids that I cherish the most. The role of “mom” is the most rewarding and the most challenging of all the roles I’m in.

Having to rush my kid’s costume over to an event is minor in comparison to the other times I feel like I am failing my 4 people. It’s the days in the trenches of hard decisions and big emotions when I question it all.

Kids, we have savings accounts for your counseling bills!

As Mother’s Day rolls around and we all celebrate this precious gift of motherhood, I have to take a step back and think about what it is that God has asked me to do as a mom. So, I decided to take a look at a biblical mom who was given the most unexpected and priceless gift:

"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!' But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.'"  - Luke 1: 26-33 (ESV)

Can you imagine what Mary was thinking in that moment? It makes me feel better to know that she was afraid.

God wasn’t looking for someone prepared--or even qualified--to be Jesus’ mom here on Earth. He entrusted Jesus’ care to a woman who wasn’t even expecting to be a mom. What a gift. And what a shock!

Scripture doesn’t tell us much about Mary’s mothering style. She didn’t write a parenting book or run a blog… we know she lost Jesus, bossed him around as a grown man. We know she probably struggled with all the tensions, fears and doubts we feel. But we also know she loved that baby!

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our performance as moms, and our accomplishments (or even failures) with our children. But God didn’t give me children because He thought I could be a perfect mom. He gave me children to love and nurture and point in His direction. He didn’t give me children so I could teach them to praise me and follow me. He gave me children so I can teach them to need Him.

When we return to the book of Luke, we find Mary calling out to God in an act of worship:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;for he who is mighty has done great things for me,and holy is his name.” - Luke 1: 46-49 (ESV)

When the worry for my kids wakes me up in the middle of the night and the hard decisions bring me to my knees, may the words of my mouth and the cry of my heart reflect the bold and humble outcry of Mary. May I never forget the gift of motherhood, and may I never forget that my God is more than enough for not only me, but He is enough for my people.

One of them walks out the door these days with car keys, headed on a date... so I am not saying this is easy!

You want to hear something ironic? Looking back, my greatest moments of parenting have often followed my worst. Because I humbly apologize, I tell them I’m screwed up too, I tell them I need God, too.

Our kids don’t need to see perfection, they need to know the God who is.

I want to also mention the incredible women in my life who may not have adopted kids or birthed any…. But they are mothers! They are loving and leading the next generation in beautiful ways.

Oh yes, and the dress/costume made it in time for the 40's dance. These things always seem to work out messily and beautifully somehow. Melt my heart! I love this girl.

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Who is someone who has mothered you? Thank them in the comments.