The phone bings and I read the text from a dear friend asking me to pray for her because she’s tired of “losing it” with her kids.
Who isn’t tired of this? Who isn’t tired of feeling guilty for nearly every parenting move we make or don’t make?
When my first son was born I heard rumblings of a condition called mommy guilt that was infecting moms across America. I was determined to keep this epidemic far from me. Nope. No mommy guilt here. Not going to have it.
Well, this sly contagion eventually found its way into my thoughts and my heart.
When my friend texted me requesting prayer all I heard was a plea for freedom from guilt, the guilt for raising our voices or let’s be real here, for yelling at our kids.
I replied with questions. Why do you feel guilty? Is this from the Lord?
Are you feeling conviction? Or is it condemnation?
Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit because of his great love for us. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
Condemnation comes from the enemy, you know the father of lies, the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
Whenever I have been broken in repentance, through the tears and the hurt of the realization of my mistake, I can feel God’s kindness. I feel his gentle hand showing me where I messed up and I see the nailed scarred hands offering me forgiveness. I feel hope.
I hear him say, “I’m glad you see the error of your ways because now I can forgive you and help you change. I will help you out of this mess. It’s a new day! My mercies are new every morning.”
Condemnation offers me none of this. It steals my joy, kills my belief in the ability to change, and destroys my hope of a new day, a new me. I know someone who comes to steal, kill and destroy.
Condemnation holds me captive. Conviction sets me free.
How do I fight condemnation? How do I fight mommy guilt?
I employ the same weapons I am to use in every battle. I use God’s word. I praise. I keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith. And I keep my ears attuned to the Holy Spirit.
I obey God and not the gods of Pinterest, parenting magazines or even the decisions our friends make.
I do what God tells me to do.
Sometimes he may say don’t clean the dishes tonight because I want you to hold your little boy as he watches Curious George. Yes, Lord, please tell me to do this and then send an angel to wash my dishes.
Other times he may say call your friend. The kids will be ok without you. Don’t feel guilty for not being with them.
Or he may say to use a stern voice when punishing them, so they know you mean business.
And when the chaos around me drowns out his voice or my will chooses not to obey, I can trust that his kindness will lead me to repentance and his mercies will be new every morning.
So when you are facing mommy guilt ask yourself who told you to feel guilty? Do you feel God’s kindness convicting you? Or do you feel the enemy’s lies condemning you?
Who told you you messed up or failed? The Lord? Or Pinterest?
Mommy guilt beats us down. God’s grace lifts us up.
May I encourage you today to lay down the guilt and lift up His grace?
*Note-This post is not just for moms. There are many areas in our lives, in various roles we play where we may experience guilt instead of grace.