I have been struggling lately with a lack of confidence in my competence as a mom. The other day I found myself in my husband’s arms in tears because I wasn’t sure I was a good mom and I felt like there were all these eyes on me judging how I was doing as a mom. Sometimes I’m really just not sure what is best for my daughter and when the fatigue takes over my lack of confidence turns into my questioning my competence. I begin to ask, “Am I fit to be a mom? Do I have any clue at all what I am doing?” In the back of my mind I acknowledge that these questions are not valid and that in fact they are tools of our spiritual enemy to tear down my God-given strength. But in the ‘moment’, I have found myself wishing this new role of mine has a set of ‘best practice guidelines’ to follow. You see in my job as a pharmacist the golden documents to follow in patient care are evidence-based best practice guidelines. But this new role of mom is more than a job. It is more than a career, even. It is a commitment unlike any other and while there is numerous writing on the topic of parenthood, there is not one document that has been agreed upon by the parenting community to be the guidelines for how to be the best mother to your child.
This is where I am in life right now: a confident, proven and accomplished medical professional trying to figure out how to add such prestigious adjectives to my new title of ‘mother’ without much success. (Indeed I have read this can be a struggle for women such as me who are goal-oriented, successful professionals. We try to transfer our approach to our career to mothering and it can be frustrating not to mention ineffective.)
Isn’t it great then that at least I know what my ‘issue’ is, so I can work towards addressing it? Knowing myself is exactly what I embrace through my practice of journaling and reflecting regularly. However, the full illumination of this issue didn’t shine through until I was listening to the sermon this Sunday morning. The message was on Jonah chapter 2 and was entitled “From Misery to Mercy.” While the main premise of this teaching was about self inflicted misery and rising up from it, the principles were practical for addressing any challenge. Pastor Ron first highlighted the need to get real with God. You see Jonah didn’t skirt around his issue. He clearly named why it was that he was praying from inside the belly of the fish. I have long admired another biblical character, David, for his realness with God and have just been reading again about David’s life in 2nd Samuel.* So, the idea of being honest and real with God is not a new one to me. But, in that moment in church I sat there and realized I hadn’t been real. I was not naming what my issue really was. SELF-SUFFICIENCY. I have been struggling at being a mom because I have been trying to do it on my own. (Not to say that there won’t be struggles in motherhood; but they shouldn’t be the mind-struggles that I have engaged in.)
So in naming my sin of self-sufficiency God spoke to me, “DEPEND ON ME.” And it was in this moment that I realized there is a single, go-to document in motherhood: the bible.
Furthermore, I not only have this tried and true document, I have been given the Guide Himself. As I was sitting there in church I was brought to the question: “Who is God to me now?” So I asked myself who has God been to me in the past? And I was thinking and thinking so hard. I mean I elucidated who He is to me on video only a year ago in front of the whole church when we became church members and there I was trying to remember, “Who did I say God was to me?” And then it came back. I have consistently viewed God as my Guide. And He is my Guide still through His words in the bible and through His voice in my life as the Holy Spirit. I have the most incredible Guide to navigate this life with, to navigate this role in my life with, and have been given this God-breathed document, the bible, to structure my life on! Amazing! Incredible! These words are truly not adequate descriptors. And there I was a week ago longing for some sort of guidelines to motherhood. This was certainly a ‘knock me over the head’ kind of moment in church on Sunday in which I was truly so glad to be a part of a church where God speaks clearly and loudly through His servants in our pastoral team.
You see by believing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son who has removed the mark of sin on our lives by dying on the cross we are given “real and eternal life, more and better life than [we] ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10, The Message, emphasis mine) I believe in God’s promises and so today I start my day by saying “I’m all in!” to God’s call to me to depend on Him.
*Well, technically, listening not reading since it is through listening to the Daily Audio Bible—dailyaudiobible.com-- that I am finding a practical way to get into the scriptures on a pretty much daily basis.