Have you ever had one of those weeks where you were just rocking motherhood? Where all your responses to your children were tempered with grace and you knew exactly what to say at just the right moment? Maybe you disciplined with wisdom, carefully avoiding that line between punishment and correction.
You stayed on top of all the housework and didn't wait until the last minute to decide what to cook for dinner. You executed carefully planned school lessons, complimented by Pinterest worthy crafts.
And you were ready to redirect your children with creative, structured activities when they started bouncing off the walls, instead of putting on a movie or letting them play video games.
Yeah, this week was not one of those weeks for me.
I felt perpetually behind from day one, in everything from laundry and dishes to lesson planning and keeping up with writing. Then, I reacted in frustration when my kids struggled with something or spoke disrespectfully. For the life of me, I just couldn't seem to form coherent thoughts or make the points I wanted to when teaching them.
And the more I looked around at all the things that weren't getting done, the more anxious I became. I'm no stranger to anxiety, but my worry was off the charts. I kept having this vision of everyone else running ahead of me effortlessly while I'm crawling on my hands and knees to get to the finish line.
I was sure I was failing my family in every possible way this week
When we feel like a failure at mothering, the enemy just keeps heaping that guilt and condemnation on us. So what can you and I do when we're buried beneath a pile of mom fails?
1. Cry out to God
When we admit to Him that we are at our wits end and can't do anything in our own strength, that is the best position to be in as far as He is concerned. The Lord says His power is made perfect in weakness, and that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I don't like admitting weakness or failure to anyone. But the truth is, my biggest disappointments and struggles can especially point me to Jesus, because they serve as reminders of how much I need a Savior.
Mothering is our great opportunity to depend on God in continual prayer. The beauty of not knowing what you are doing and knowing you are not qualified for a task is the desperation to stay connected to God who does know.
2. Accept your personal limitations
The truth is, we often measure ourselves against an impossible standard. All those things I listed in the first few paragraphs that a mom rocking motherhood would do? They are unrealistic.
We are all limited on time, patience, energy and resources because we are confined to human bodies. This week I was keenly and painfully aware of just how much I come up short in my own power. But God, who effortlessly holds the universe together, can take the little bit that I offer in my hand and multiply it.
I don't have to be supermom because I have a Supernatural God.
I am not meant to be all things to all people. Even my children. That is too great a burden to carry. God mercifully says to us, "You don't have to be enough, because I AM."
3. Rest in Him
Too often I gain satisfaction in the cleanliness of my home and the obedience of my kids, when Psalm 62:1 says my soul should "find rest in God alone." Keeping to-do lists and correcting my children's behavior are good and necessary things, but if I'm looking to them as a way to control everything instead of relying on God, then they have become idols.
Satan screams, "Do more!" Jesus says, "Just rest."
True rest comes not from finishing any work, but from ceasing to strive. It means we stop our efforts to be in control of our lives as if we were God, and simply rest in Jesus' finished work on the cross.
He loves you right now, just the way you are, hot mess and all. Accept the grace that He freely gives.
4. Be real with your kids about your failures
As much as I try, I can't hide my crazy from my own children. They know who I really am behind closed doors. The more honest we can be with our kids about our shortcomings, the better we will be able to lead them.
They need mothers who can sympathize with them in their weakness, that can call their own selfishness, pride, discontentment and lack of self control by name. They need to see us turning to the Lord for help in overcoming those struggles.
These failures we beat ourselves up for can be turned into an opportunity for our children to see the cracks in our surface that shows them they aren't alone in their sin. We really don't need to have all our stuff together in order for our kids to pursue holiness; we just need to point them to Jesus as we reveal that we are down there in the trenches with them in spiritual battle.
The good news for you and for me is that no matter how much we feel like failures as moms, God is in the business of redemption! Everywhere I looked this week, I saw imperfection, mess and defeat.
But God saw an opportunity to make beauty out of ashes, and peace out of chaos. He saw the opportunity to bring me to a place of complete surrender, where I stop boasting in my accomplishments.
When we feel completely inadequate, He can absolutely still use us to shape and reach our kids' hearts. After all, He doesn't call the equipped; He equips the called.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Called to Mothering. It has been republished here with permission.