One mom writes: "I have seven children and another on the way. I love them all and am happy about number eight, but I struggle with exhaustion and lack of motivation to accomplish much but surviving, feeding and clothing everyone and basic cleaning. The kids do help, and four of them are in school now which keeps the house a bit cleaner than when I was homeschooling all of them, but I still often feel like a failure because even though I work at cleaning the kitchen and other places, they are never sparkling.
As soon as I clean a bunch of pots and pans, I realize there are more and the floor needs sweeping, but I'm worn out and the little ones will get crumbs or play-dough all over it soon anyway. I love my life, my husband and my kids, but I always have a voice telling me I'm a rotten mother because the kitchen is never clean enough, there is always a scattering of toys and I'm not on a strict schedule like a good mother would be, just always trying to keep loving my family and doing what needs to be done when I have the energy to do it and my two year old isn't getting into things.
Thank you for helping to dispel the voice. I always know God loves me, but I never feel like I am as good as creative organized mothers brimming with ideas and clean houses."
I am so thankful for this reader's willingness to share her heart because I think that many of you who have found this blog may be feeling the same way. I know that I often do.
On January 1st I woke up and was unable to get out of bed because of severe pain in my back and legs. This happens from time to time because of some injured discs that I have. But little did I know that I would have three spells of this over a two week period. And little did I know that I would spend the next two months only out of bed for the necessities. And while I am doing better now I write this post back in bed, but this time it's with the flu. Needless to say, I have have spent much time over the past several months in the school of weakness coming to the liberating truth that if I wake up and build my hope on anything other than Jesus' blood and righteousness then I am up a creek.
I often fall into the presumption that my performance as a mother is where my worth is to be found. It's hard not to do that when your life seemingly revolves around the needs of your family. The dishes finally get done and then there are more. The dried play-dough finally gets pried up from the floor only to find it's way back. Life with kids in the home can be a monotonous cacophony of cleaning up, disciplining and cleaning up again. No place to put up our weary feet and no peace for our weary souls.
That small voice in the back of our head that tells us that "we are a rotten mother because the kitchen is never clean enough" seems to drown out any hope that the gospel may instill in us. That's why as mothers we must not just talk to ourselves, we must YELL the truth to ourselves and others in order to drown out the clanging symbols of the bossy law.
My friends, it is imperative that we grasp the fact that our worth is not in what kind of a mother, housekeeper, wife, employee, daughter, sister, friend etc...we are. Our worth is in our identity as "his beloved with whom he is well pleased." What does this mean? It means that every second of every day we tell ourselves that there is nothing that can separate us from his love. It means that we live under a neon sign that shouts "NOT CONDEMNED!" There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
There is nothing that we can do as a mother that will make God love us anymore and there is nothing that we can do to make him love us any less. We are free! And with that freedom we run to Christ where we find safety and comfort because we know that he would never snub his nose at our sink full of dirty dishes or make comments about our childrens' behavior. We are fully loved, full accepted and fully free!