There is beauty and brokenness in parenting.  The heartache of possibilities held in tension with the fullness of joy is enough to make your heart explode like day old lasagna left too long in a splattered microwave….or something like that.  It’s messy.

Brokenness.

I want to be a more engaged mother, a kinder mother, a more loving mother. All noble, all good.  Here’s the thing, in my head, it sounds like this: “what kind of mother do you think you are exactly?” and “you suck as a mother,” and “your kids deserve a better mother.” Ouch.

Brokenness.

My brain refuses to draw a happy middle line, something along the lines of “you did a great job NOT yelling at the kids when you wanted to erupt.  How ’bout tomorrow we shoot for an even better response?”  Why, for example, does it take an insane amount of energy to treat myself as cordially as I would any other mother struggling with the same issues?  Because I would, Moms of the world!  I have compassion overflowing like the over-heated lasagna.

The ordinary pressures of life, the challenges of marriage, the transition of part-time to full-time has left me so completely vulnerable to the lies that I have -inexplicably- turned into the worst version of a mother I could be.  The insecurities?  Sky rocketed by a thousand degrees.  Mom guilt over coming home late? Off the charts.  Work trips? Down for the count.

Brokenness.

Yes, I acknowledge the LIES.  Yet, the brokenness is there.  The odd temptation to pull away from that which could hurt me.  And so, I pray.  What is left?

I’ve spent the last month praying God would soften my heart for my kiddo’s.  It’s been out of desperation really, that I’ve been in continuous prayer that God would restore to me the energy and focus to engage them fully.  Today I was a weepy mess over the ways I long to do better.  Not the ways I’m being too hard on myself, but the painfully harsh realities where I could have chosen to love better but didn’t.

I recognize this longing to make things right, to love more fully, to serve more faithfully as answered, but painful prayer.  All is grace.

This is my broken hallelujah.

For today.

Onward.

This post is part of a linkup today titled “A Broken Hallelujah? hosted byProdigal Magazine and SheLoves Magazine. Head on over to their sites to read more stories of faith in hard times.

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  • Sara

    Grace,

    When I saw the kids run to you last night it reminded me of how much they love you and missed you. Remember that it is in the valleys of life that God can mold us into His vision of who he knows we can become with the power of the Holy Spirit. I will continue to pray that God will restore your passion for the kids and help you focus on the future and not on the past. Remember that God is more interested in how we end up than in what we were. Love you–

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Sara, I will work to remember that! LIfe is so much about remembering isn’t it? Keeping those truths close while the enemy continuously tries to lie to us. Thank for your prayers and for your gentle reminders. I love you too! xo

  • http://twitter.com/aboutproximity Lisa Van Engen

    Great encouragement thank you, I think we have all struggled.

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Lisa, i know right?! It’s always so comforting to know that all mothers, at times, struggle with that same frailty, that same sense of sadness, and that same longing to do better.

  • Jennifer Peterson

    Just the words I needed to hear today:) After I was feeling guilty and like a terrible mother this morning!!

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Glad to hear it, Jenn. It’s such a universal condition of parenting, eh? Soldier on, brave mother!

  • http://www.peterdehaan.com/ Peter DeHaan

    Grace, I have seen you function as a mom and I think your boys are indeed fortunate.

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      awww thank you for your kind words, Peter. Truth combats lies…so helpful.

  • Kelly F.

    I wish I couldn’t sympathize, but unfortunately I do far too much! I work so hard to be a good mom. I can see all the things I should and could be doing, but I fail so often on a daily basis. I lose my temper, become impatient, fail to listen, ugh… too many to count. My most recent conviction has about my poor listening skills with my kiddos. I work all day listening well to people yet when I am with my kids, I swear all those skills go out the window. Honestly, most of the time it because I am trying to multi-task too many things at once (computer, phone, housework, cooking). Multi-tasking is so overrated. Instead of doing anything well, I am doing 5 things poorly! It has helped recently spending each day praying for God’s grace and help, especially when I get down on myself for my many failing (or start seeing all the ways I suck compared to all these supermoms on Pinterest!!).
    By the way, I love your vulnerability in your writing. Thanks for being honest and open. :) Kelly

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Kelly, thanks for letting me know you share in my struggles. Weird as it is, it’s always helpful to know your not alone in your particular battle to do better! The hubz & I were just talking the other day about how we would really like to develop some routines that would prevent us from doing all the multi-taskign that can become so stressful for everyone (for example, no phones before breakfast, no computer while cooking/eating dinner). they are such simple things that even 2-3 years we didn’t have to concern oursleves with b/c we didn’t have iphones or an ipad. in some ways, technology has made our life harder, and more stressed…which is just sad. If it all possible, please don’t compare yourself to Mom’s on Pinterest who are not “supermom’s” but putting out an aspect of a gifting they have…and I’ll bet they have lots of things they aren’t doing. just an ecouragement not to recieve that lie! anyway, thanks for the kind words & encouragement! xo

  • Taylee Winder

    Onward indeed. Pray hard and let tomorrow worry about itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/moni.padula Moni Washington Padula

    You are an awesome mom, pioneering example, and the fact that you have awareness in your parenting journey shows how much you care. We won’t be perfect, we’ll make mistakes, we’ll apologize, we’ll try harder, and we’ll do it all over again. But what we teach our children will ultimately be that humans are imperfect; that we choose to love over and over again every day; that parents need forgiveness; and we realize as parents we need grace. Kids are SO forgiving. Right now I want to go lay in the floor of my kids’ rooms, knowing I’ll be away from them for a few days to go back to working in Lansing on my internship. I already miss them, but I know I will come back, I will resume my role as Queen Mom, and the loving will always continue whether I’m here to tuck them in or whisper good-night on the phone. Just like our Saviour is apart from us but leaves His Spirit, I let my kids know that my love for them is everlasting, that my thoughts are always upon them, that my prayers are over them, and that no matter what happens we try again the next day to do better and be better. There are achy-heart days, and I strive to forgive myself for my impatience and stress and yelling and quick-tempered spanks. But I know my motives are pure and I long to give them the best even when I can’t be the best. Our fruit will speak for us! Love you Grace!

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      Moni, thank you thank you thank you for your kind words today & all that wisdom!!! It is so true and such a helpful analogy to think of the Holy Spirit which we have with us. I think your right about the fruit aspect…it will be there, if it’s real fruit it will grow. And i wholeheartedly agree that both of us are really trying to do our absolute best and that our parenting will produce fruit if we stay strong in the strength of the Lord! love you too!!!!!