I recently posted this as a guest At the Well, but wanted to include it here as well:
I’ve had many moments as a Mom where I’ve felt like one of the “walking wounded.” Not just physically, of course, but emotionally or spiritually as well. At those times, I find myself struggling; either trying to find peace in a particular situation or learn something through a personal trial, or deal with pain. And in spite of where I’m at personally, I sometimes have to pretend that everything is fine and carry on with the day-to-day “stuff” of family life. There are others who may be in worse shape than me and other demands that need to be met.
My issues, whatever they may be, need to be put on the back burner as I continue to encourage discouraged children, mediate conflicts, capture “teachable moments,” and take time to invest in relationships with my children (not to mention the necessity of keeping up with various tasks around the home, which is also time-consuming). The fact that I have little opportunity to sit around feeling sorry for myself sometimes makes me feel sorry for myself! This is an occasional reality for most Moms, I would guess.
Yet our spiritual and emotional growth and health is vital in making us available for others. As my husband so often says, “You can’t take someone else where you haven’t been yourself.” I can teach my children with words all about forgiveness, but if I’m harboring bitterness, I’m just a hypocrite. Jesus said so:
And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
The same is true with things like love; if I’m encouraging my children to be kind to one another but am quick to criticize or judge, what have they learned?
Sometimes this puts an incredible amount of pressure on me as a Mom. I know the importance of my example, but when I’m struggling and don’t have the time I feel I need to work things out, feelings of failure are inevitable. And the discouragement of that just adds insult to injury. What’s a Mom to do?
Tell your kids you’re having a hard time. Ask for prayer. Buy takeout instead of cooking from scratch if you need to. Take a day off from homeschooling and watch movies or play board games. When you mess up, ‘fess up…confess, repent, and move on. Let your children see in you an example of the humility of following after Christ. They can learn just as much from your imperfection as from your shining example. We all struggle. We are all works in progress, and if we try to pretend otherwise, we do ourselves and our children a great disservice.
I’ve found great help in a little tool called the Spiritual Inventory. When prayed through regularly, it has slowly but surely brought freedom in many areas of my life. And when progress is slow and I feel like the walking wounded, God comforts me. I am particularly encouraged by passages like Isaiah 40:11: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (emphasis mine).
Do you feel like the “walking wounded” today? How can I pray for you?