There’s a damaging mindset I’ve been struggling with in regards to motherhood. It’s played itself over and over in my mind at different times during the past decade….and it’s hard to make it stop.
It’s a nagging thought that sneaks into my mind late at night, when I can’t sleep. Or during a difficult day, when my emotions are already playing games with me.
It’s the biggest lie I’ve ever believed about motherhood.
The lie that my children are a burden.
Not that they’re an inconvenience, because I know children are always a blessing, no matter when or how they come into our lives.
But the idea of them being a burden on my day-to-day activities, or my goals or my dreams: that thought, sadly, is present.
It begins when I think to myself, “I can’t go to the grocery store without some sort of meltdown happening, go to a nice quiet place whenever I want or have unlimited date nights with my husband.” “I can’t even take a shower without small feet appearing in the doorway.” “There’s no time to just breathe and think.”
And it is hard for me when it comes to these simple things that I took for granted. I’ve never taken a personality test, but I know that I’m the type of person that recharges by being alone. With four kids 10 and under who are home with me, that doesn’t happen very often.
There are stages I swing through in motherhood, times when this lie moves prominently to the front of my mind. I’ll be calm, organized and in control for awhile, and then sickness ravages our family for over a week or my husband’s work schedule changes and I’ve lost my groove.
That’s when it’s there….the whispered falsehood….your children are annoying. You can’t get anything done when they’re around. They hold you down. Look what you’re missing out on. They keep you from doing something productive in society. And on it goes.
Maybe you’ve experienced the same at one time or another.
I’d like to think that if I just remind myself once and for all that that’s not true–my children are NOT a burden–that I will somehow be magically transformed into a mom who is always joyful and serving her family with an enthusiasm that rivals the Energizer bunny.
Yet I believe that the “children are a burden” mindset is one that needs to be combated just about every day. Have you let thoughts like these enter into your mind?
We know that our children are a blessing and that the privilege we have in raising them is a great joy! Sometimes, though, society tells us the opposite. The enemy seeks to defeat us and exploit our weakness on our most vulnerable days. But if we begin to believe the lie, Scripture tells us a different story.
If it feels like you’re not living your dream, maybe it’s because God is changing you to give you a bigger dream.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
If you’ve lost the joy of motherhood, let the precious comfort of God’s strength and mercy restore your joy.
The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. Psalm 145:9
There may be some deep reasons why we begin to feel burdened in our calling as moms. Perhaps our homes are cluttered and we need to clean them out but don’t know where to start. Maybe our marriage is in need of extra protection and it seems like we’re just trying to keep our head above water. Maybe we’re just plain exhausted as a mom of young children.
If, like me, you need some space to breathe, seek the Lord and ask Him to give you margin….to give you rest….rest that goes beyond more sleep or more time to yourself.
Margin is the space between our load and our limits. It is the amount allowed beyond that which is needed. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.
(from Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard Swenson, M.D.)
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden (who work to exhaustion, says the Greek), and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28
When we fill our minds with the living, active Word of God, claiming the truth that our children are an inheritance–a gift!–from Him, we can defeat this deep, dark lie. We can have confidence that even in the craziness and exhaustion and disorganization, He can give us the strength we need and the margin we crave. God can give us patience, persistence and purposeful action (many times through practical helps!) to take on each day.
In Him there is the promise that His mercies are new every morning, that one failed day does not mean failure and that our children can come alongside us and be a help to us, just as we can joyfully help them.
Truly, this battle over our hearts and minds can only be won by the cross. And that is a good thing. What a beautiful comfort for a mom like me who wants to love her children deeply, without reservation, and take joy in their presence, even on the crazy days.
Fellow moms, recognizing the way this lie has affected me has given me a desire to help and encourage other moms who may struggle under the weight of the every day as well.
Here at the blog, I’m going to be talking a lot more about this idea of creating margin, finding organizational methods that really work for busy, somewhat scatterbrained moms like myself and how God’s Word can shift our mindset regarding motherhood, allowing us to live with purpose without the pressure to be perfect.
Maybe you have a desire, like me, to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” so you can enjoy your children and also find resources and ways to streamline your days as much as possible so there are times for rest and simple joys. I would love to encourage you in your journey through motherhood and your life of faith!
I send out an email or two each week sharing these truths and tools for life as a Christian family that I am learning and implementing in our home so that you can benefit from these ideas as well!
If you’d like to receive these emails, you can enter your address through this link or in the box below this post. When you subscribe, you’ll get 14 beautiful printable Scripture cards with Bible verses you can pray over your children! Praying the Scriptures over my kids has deeply changed me as a mom.
Let’s learn together and encourage each other as we trust the Lord to help us combat the lies and continue to give us joy and strength for this mothering journey.