Although mommy wars might have us believe differently, mothers share common struggles while raising children. Whether you stay home or work, are single or married, strict or free-spirited, organic or pesticide friendly, we all feel a similar spectrum of emotions as moms.
We fear for our children’s safety. We want others to notice how awesome they are. We often realize how awesome we aren’t. So we observe another mom’s awesomeness and wonder if our kids would be happier with her. (I’m not the only one whose child actually verbalized this once, right?)
We wonder if the food-coloring in that popsicle really could give them cancer — especially after a dinner of mac & cheese and hot dogs. We secretly wish to sell our house and move in order to eliminate bad influences. We overtly try to arrange play dates with those we consider good influences. We hope we talk about Jesus enough and show Jesus even more. We hope they love Jesus.
At and the end of the day, as we fall into bed with tomorrow’s to-do list running across our eyelids. We tell ourselves we can get up and do it all over again because we have coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
But honestly, we’re tired. And it isn’t the parenting that tires us — it’s the endless desire we have to do it right the first time since, really, there’s only one chance. It’s all the extras that go along with raising kids. It’s watching others parent differently and wondering if we’re failing. It’s all the extra curricular activities that are supposed to ensure our children aren’t growing up barbarians and at least have a shot at becoming an Olympian.
All these stressors, all this input from watching and listening to others, all this busyness — it wears us down. By the end of the day and our tenth cup of coffee, we aren’t sure why God would entrust us with these kids. No college funds here — only therapy.
Listen, I could write an entire book on the fear by which I parented for over thirteen years. “Hold tight or you’ll lose them,” was the mantra directing every decision.
And when I finished, I could write another book on the sheer inadequacy I faced upon bringing our oldest daughter home from overseas. I once thought I was a decent mom until I began the battle of attachment/detachment and realized I was a little closer to monster-mommy.
And what about the surprise baby? I spent most of the pregnancy worried I had just messed up the trajectory of my life. Babies were supposed to be in our history, not in our future. I felt so guilty for feeling this selfishness — this desire for my purposes and passion to trump her life.
We’re talking not so pretty over here in the mom department.
So where was I supposed to find freedom? Who would lead me to the place of peace, adequacy, and joy in my mothering? Enter Becky Harling’s new book, The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents.
It’s incredibly simple. Each morning opens with an invitation to praise God for a certain quality of His character. At the end of those 30 days, I found freedom.
My personal journey through the challenge included freedom to allow my teenager to expand his boundaries and learn to live with purpose and passion. I learned to trust God to pursue him.
I found grace for my adopted daughter and stopped the cycle of misbehavior, consequence, and detachment. Then I stopped wondering if God made a mistake choosing me for her — if maybe she could have done better.
I found absolute joy in the slower pace of life offered by a toddler and discovering the world all over again through her eyes.
And with my two other children, I found complete engagement as I chose to make this year at home just about me and them — together.
So this challenge stands as a place of memorial. It was the space I needed to inhale God’s character and exhale praise. It was natural, it was life-giving, and it gifted me the strength I needed to continue.
Enter Our Giveaway!
Becky’s given me a copy to share with you. Just a few moments in the morning for invitation, praise, and prayer and the Lord refocuses our day. There’s even a playlist set up for you on Spotify to make the praise portion easily accessible. So enter, win, take the challenge. I pray you find freedom through praise.