Morning Meditations on the Weight of Motherhood
I have always loved the ocean. Its expanse, humbling and comforting. Being made aware of something much bigger than myself gives me the perspective I long for. Here, my ego is in-check. I am not the biggest most powerful thing in the world and the evidence is right before me. This knowledge quiets me and opens me to right thinking. Allowing me to listen. To learn. And to be changed.
Perspective is everything, isn’t it? The ocean alters my view of myself allowing for self-awareness. But our past can have a similar perspective altering effect. Though in my experience, it tends to taint rather than simply alter. Clouding our vision of the present or what we feel the present should be. You see, most mornings I rise early and attempt to welcome the dawn. Determined to pray and meditate the selfishness and cold-hearted away. I struggle to suppress worry and feelings of “overwhelmed”. My perspective in desperate need of righting. And so, I pause to catch my breath and remind myself of grace, mercy, unconditional love. Because, I am a mother and today I will make one thousand mistakes.
I was determined to be a good mom, not perfect, but good. And I was determined to be good to my children. But what I did not understand was that something from my childhood was tainting my perspective. And that something was fear.
Fear I would fail.
Fear that I would do to my children what had been done to me.
That their childhoods would be something to be survived not relished. This determined fear eventually gave birth to striving. Which then became longing. In Christ, both can be powerful motivators bringing self-awareness, needed change, and healing. But apart from this life-giving Light they become a heavy weight, shackled to my ankle, keeping me forever half-drowned.
Parenting from a place of making up for your own childhood is a terrible place to parent from. We’ve all heard about the dangers of trying to live through our children but what about the dangers of trying to rewrite the past? That story has already been written; quite literally, unchangeable. There is no going back but really, no going forward either because going forward requires letting-go. You see that weight I thought was shackled is actually held. Clenched. Gripped tightly in my, unrelenting, fist. That fear turned longing that daily threatens to drown me is a chosen bondage.
As I sit in anticipation of the sunrise, I sense these truths are being spoken over me by a loving Father. It is He Who allows me to see these shackles are chosen. But most importantly it is He Who enables me to slowly release them. I let-go of debilitating fear and trade it for life-altering grace. The grace to know that I will make all one thousand mistakes but that I will still be loved. And, that though I will fail them, my children, often, I am not a failure. My love for my children is not evidenced by my perfection – that’s about me and my determination to be competent and capable. My love for them is evidenced by my willingness to say I’m sorry. To seek forgiveness and pursue reconciliation. And to, in turn, offer grace and mercy. It is evidenced by my commitment to risking daily failure and further pain for the reward of providing them with family.
The sun finally rises, illuminating all that was once dark, and I rise enlightened, too. This day I’m allowing my Lord to give me the strength to release that heavy weight of parent perfectionism and instead cling desperately to His love, mercy, and unfailing grace.