Being a Good Mom is Scary

I am not surprised to figure out I am so terrible at being a mother.
I was praying with Emmalee and Kaylee last week, as we do most nights, and realized how truthful this is. I take my time to be grateful for every little thing, including this day the Lord made, and later ask for the daily request in my prayer life: health for my girls, safety and maturity for my husband, health for my mom, strength for my sister, prosperity for my father and father-in-law, Dela's and Denise's baby, Giana's recovery, and for myself I ask for a meek and quiet spirit.

I was praying for Emmalee that night specifically because she had had some attitude problems. As I prayed for her, I prayed I might emulate that which I was asking for her. When they were asleep and I went to bed to meditate, I found out I was far from being a good example.  "Give her patience, kindness, soft-spokenness, humility, a serviceable heart, a sharing heart, quick to obey with a good attitude, submission to honor her parents" is what I prayed for her. I realized this is what I've been praying for myself most of my christian life. And although I've prayed this for a long time, I have never felt I am closer to having those character traits. The other day a co-worker said they never know if I am there because I am so quiet. That was completely new to me. Quiet? Me? Definitely not! or maybe prayer has had some effect? I've written before how when I fervently ask God to help me overcome a character area I am failing, I end up failing even more after praying for it. I pray "God, help me with my anger" and spend the rest of the day snapping at my husband or the girls for every little thing. I go back to prayer feeling a complete failure and ask again.

Last Monday I had just finished praying with the girls when Emmalee pushed her sister. When I was about to spank her, she wiggled out of the way and I hit my thumb with the paddle and the edge of the bed. I thought I had broken my finger. I even shed some tears. When she saw me crying, she became very silent with a concerned look on her face. Mommy made a horrible grimace and spoke very coarse. If any of the girls is having trouble falling asleep, they ask to lay in my bed. I try not to let them do this much, but I sometimes oblige. That day I told Emmalee, who kept asking to come to my bed, that she was punished for hurting mommy and she had to stay on her bed.

Imagine me saying no to that face.

I went to my bed remembering our prayers and felt, for the first time in a long time, how the Spirit filled me, changed my heart, and renewed my mind. "It was an accident. You are teaching her blame, guilt, and not a good way to deal with the unexpected that hurts." I got out of bed and went to her bed. "Mommy was wrong, sweetie. Mommy makes many mistakes because she is human, but she must correct her mistakes. It was not your fault that mommy got hurt, and mommy should have not reacted so angrily. I am sorry mommy got angry and said you had hurt me. You didn't do it on purpose. Please forgive me." She looked at me with her big eyes and gave me hug with a sigh of relief. She was feeling terrible! She later grabbed my hand and asked which finger got hurt. I pointed at the thumb and she started giving it kisses, as mommy does. She was caressing it and fell asleep doing that while mommy prayed a little more.

I was very humbled at the fact that God could teach my daughter through my shortcomings. I was glad I had spent enough time with the Lord to be filled with the Spirit to overcome my sinful nature.
We teach by example. I cannot teach my daughters to pray if I don't pray. I can't teach them to ask forgiveness if they don't see me asking for forgiveness. I cannot expect them to have self-control if I don't show them what that looks like. And that scares me.

Beautiful girls. Let me raise them well, Lord.

I fail most of the time, all the time.
I am scared of the time I'll get to be a full-time mom.
I want to get home and just lay in bed 80% of the time. I do hide in the bathroom for some quiet time and hope the girls' fighting for a toy won't cut that alone time short. I fail at showing empathy, soft-spokenness, compassion, grace, and patience 100% of the days. I dream of nights of uninterrupted sleep; of wipes lasting longer because I am not cleaning floors, chairs, tables, fingers, faces all of the time. What all that means is that there is life in my home. It means I have a home. It means I woke up today with some strength, even though my body mostly feels pain, because I can do it all over again. It is scary because I have to do it all over again and I somehow have to make it better than yesterday.
I guess having a meek and quiet spirit would be easier if I wasn't strained and sleep-deprived. There was a time I wasn't and still didn't have a meek and quiet spirit. It is scary because I can't stop striving for it, today more than ever. It is scary because if I fail, my girls won't learn what that looks like.
Lord, have mercy on me!

Let us look at the light at the end of the tunnel:

1. The Lord has commanded us not to be afraid:
Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
2. We fall but we can stand back up:
Proverbs 24:16
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

3. HE is the One Who holds us:
Psalm 37:23-24
23 The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
24though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

4. Even great man like Paul fought this reality:
Romans 7
15 For that which I do, I know not. For what I would do, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do.19 For the good that I would do, I do not; but the evil which I would not do, that I do. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!

5. There is power in my weakness through His grace:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

6. Through Christ, we get a new opportunity every day:
Lamentations 3:22-23
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

7. Through Christ, we can do it better each day:
Philippians 3:13-14
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Dear Lord, 
Thank you because it is not up to me alone the task to raise my daughters. Thank you because you have promised to be with me everyday and everywhere I go. Thank you because you have promised to forgive me and give me new mercies each day. Thank you because you have promised through your grace and power to use my weakness. Thank you because through the blood of Christ I was made free from the bondage of sin and I can strive to be a good example for my daughters. Thank you because it is Your Spirit that enables me to shed my old being and live in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Thank you because by your mercy I am perceived more quiet. Help me, Lord, and don't leave me. I can't do this. I can do it in You. Keep teaching me the beauty of each day and see Your hand held me through it. I love You forever. Amen.

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