Today's my thirteenth post in a 31 days series about Practicing Messy Motherhood.
I’m writing this post however many thousand feet in the air, on a plane to St. Louis. This is my fourth trip away from my kids in 4 months and to add insult to injury, I have a day trip next week, another trip in November, one more in December, and oh wait – one more in January. After my January trip away, I’ve promised myself and my family that I won’t travel till June and saying it on the internet makes it official, right?
The truth is, I anticipated the waves of mom guilt that were going to come with travel. It wasn’t like we planned to be gone this much, not in the slightest, but in July my husband and I realized that our upcoming fall was insanely busy and it was going to take some serious strategizing and prayer to get through the coming months.
For me, conviction is weight that makes me feel sad and pukey all at once. Conviction settles deep in my heart and it drives me to the feet of Jesus. I feel conviction about motherhood when I crawl beneath my sheets at night and realize I didn’t REALLY listen when one of my kids was talking at dinner. I feel conviction when I see my own sin scrawled across the behavior of one of my children. I feel conviction when I get an email or a phone call about an potential oppurtunity and my self says, “Yes! Yes! Do it! Do it!” and my heart says, “Think about others right now, not just yourself.” Acts 3:19 says that repentance brings refreshment and so I’ve learned that conviction is from my loving Father and I don’t need to fear it.
And I know guilt too. Guilt comes when I needlessly compare myself to other moms, guilt comes when someone comments on my outsides without knowing my insides. Guilt is in my head when I think about the “should’ve” and the “could’ve”. Guilt is not my friend.
The truth is, I anticipated the mom guilt that would come with this season, but I didn’t anticipate the great grace that would come with listening to God and asking for His help. For the first time in a long time, I don’t feel like He’s my angry task masker who’s frustrated with my poor job as a mother – I feel like He is my partner and friend. The One helping me pour it all out when I’m home, the One groaning on my behalf as I pray for my kids when I do have to be gone. Turns out He wasn’t the One behind the guilt – ever.
I don’t know your situation, but I know that mom guilt is a real thing. I just also know that it’s a real thing we don’t have to allow to have footing in our life. Anticipate that the wind of pain is going to rush up against your heart, and speak truth to it – tell it where to go. But when the deep deep conviction comes, don’t push it away. Let it catch you up and set you free. He is your Friend, your Helper, the Great Redeemer. He’ll provide the repentance and the refreshment, amen?