3 Ways My Faith Made Me a Better Mother
There was nothing more terrifying in my life than becoming a mother. (Insert sarcastic tone here) Of course growing up I could easily point out all of the things my mother did right and wrong and just knew I could do it sooo much better than her. Can’t be that hard, right? But when the time finally came, I felt totally inept and unprepared. Other than a few bills and deciding what to eat, I had a pretty responsibility-less life. And yes I know that isn’t a real word but it makes my point.
During the first few years of my daughter’s life I had a casual relationship with God and attended church but I wasn’t strong in my faith and my parenting style reflected that. My patience was short. I often felt overwhelmed and undervalued. I was running around “hustling” to make ends meet and the environment in my home reflected the same chaotic energy I exuded.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Growing in my faith was an intentional decision I made around the time my daughter turned five and by this time my husband and I was also raising a two-year old son. It wasn’t one I made for my children but they were the direct beneficiaries of the best decision I made for myself. How so? Here are three quick ways that my faith made me a better mother.
My Faith Pushed Out Fear
As a twenty-four year old new parent, I was afraid. Terrified even. I had made so many bad decisions as an individual that I was in a perpetual state of fear. What if I did something stupid and lost custody of her? What if I didn’t make enough money to provide for her? What if she needed me and I couldn’t be there to protect her? How could I teach her when I had very few answers of my own? … and the list of crazy fears went on and on. But my faith taught me that my trust had to be anchored in God’s character and ability and not my own. Of course I am inadequate as a mother but I am more than enough with God.
My Faith Prioritized Family
I wasn’t raised in a traditional family. (More on that to come…) As a result I had no real visual of what a loving home with parents that were present and invested in family looked like. Too often we emulate what we see and reproduce what we’ve received. That was me. I begin to prioritize work ahead of family and walked out my belief that I had to live to work instead of work to live. When I grew in God I discovered that Family was the first institution created in the bible, even before the church, and it is where He first placed His presence and order for living. This truth allowed me to see how I could restructure my life’s work so that I could be present and connect deeper with the people who meant the most to me.
My Faith Produced Forgiveness
If I haven’t learnt anything about the character of God, I have learned and can write a book about his forgiving nature. I have messed up so many times and each time the overwhelming feeling of guilt and embarrassment that I didn’t make a better decision when I knew better washes over me like a flood. It’s this feeling that fills me with grace for my children. They are great kids but when they fall short (because I get it), my heart is so full of grace and love because my mind is never far from God’s grace towards me.
I still don’t always get this parenting thing right, even though I’ve been doing it for 16 years now, because each year brings new situations and growth opportunities for us all. Regardless what comes our way, I am enjoying each new experience and creating lots of fun along the way.