Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not a Good Mother

Lately I've been struggling with managing my frustration and sometimes anger with my daughter and her strong-willed, tantrum-throwing self.  Tonight, after having another frustrating evening with her testing me in every way, I sat down and picked up my copy of She's Gonna Blow, by Julie Ann Barnhill, that I had started reading several months ago.  What I read brought tears to my eyes as it revealed such a basic but oh, so important truth. 

Be sure to check out Amazon.com to get your own copy of this book.  I would recommend it to any mother out there striving to be the mother that God wants her to be...we all feel like we are "gonna blow" at one point or another.  This book is a great encouragement to help deal with those days.

An Excerpt from She's Gonna Blow, by Julie Ann Barnhill

"What is the picture of a good mother that tends to lurk in your (envious and discouraged) mind?  Mine looks a little like this.  She is a woman who
  • never loses her temper
  • wants to be with her children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • doesn't mind children grazing from her dinner plate or 12-ounce drink
  • is able to maintain a serene sense of control as she travels five hours alone with the kids to see their grandparents
  • maintains a fashionable wardrobe for her children on one income
  • doesn't wig out when her carefully hoarded Fiesta-ware plates are broken
  • feels nothing but a maternal glow from pregnancies 18 months or less apart
  • gently but firmly tells her kids, "No," and they listen!
  • breastfeeds forever, then feeds her children only nutritious food
  • graciously hands out sugar-free Popsicles to the entire population of neighborhood children aged two through ten...and does it every day
  • is 100 percent satisfied with her life 100 percent of the time--and never complains 99.9 percent of the time
  • and, of course, never regrets...anyhing
  • and never, ever, blows her top when the stresses of parenting build!
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  But wait, there's more!  The "good" Christianmother is someone who
  • never wants to fake being sick on Sundays or church activity nights
  • does daily devotions with her children...daily!
  • keeps an up-to-date prayer calendar, constantly interceding not only for her own children, but for the children of her friends, her Sunday school class, and the missionaries of the week
  • memorizes new Bible verses--even after having children
  • is never even tempted to use inappropriate language in stressful situations
  • never doubts or worries because she always trusts God
  • might get depressed...but "gets over it" quickly
  • never fights with her husband (or just fumes in the background)
You see the real problem, don't you?  Good mothers like hat just don't exist!  They're all in our heads--but the pressure they exert on us can be all but unbearable!...

We have two choices.  We can keep trying in our own strength--and failing--to achieve whatever "good mother" standard we have accumulated in our heads.  Or we can turn to God, admit that we're just not up to being good, and ask Him to teach us more about Himself.

..God doesn't want us to be "good mothers"; He simply wants us!  He wants us to be His children, to draw on His strength, to learn from Him what it means to be a successful human being. 

But here's the interesting thing.  As we draw closer to Him--learning about Him, depending on Him, allowing Him to handle the inevitable pressures in our lives, we'll become more godly women...His women. 

And then, as a byproduct of this dynamic and personal relationship with Him, we may even find ourselves coming to resemble the good mother we had in mind to begin with.

No, we won't be perfect.  Chances are we'll still blow it from time to time.  But as we strive to be women of God, we will be growing more and more into the likeness of Christ, so that even our precious little ones can clearly see in us the face of the Father.

Who knows, they might even follow the example of the children in Proverbs 31.  They might rise up and bless us!"

Wow!  Am I the only one that felt like she was just hit with a ton of bricks when reading this??  Father, please help me to correct my view of a "good mother".  Help me to be what you would have me to be...growing in you and letting your light shine through me for our children to see every day.  Please help me to grow in patience and wisdom daily while training our children in your Word.