When I Became a Mother…

I know when I became a mother, I kind of lost my identity. Things that used to matter so much no longer did. As I adjusted to motherhood and later foster motherhood, I struggled with feelings of overwhelm and not knowing how to fix it because I was still figuring out my new identity as mom.

As a labeled overachiever. I wanted to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter and friend. I wanted to achieve in my career and excel in every other area of my life. I constantly felt like I was letting everyone down amongst the few small “superwoman” victories.

As a Christian mom I thought I had to always put others first and although the basis  of that statement is true Matthew 16:24-26 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his lifea]will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

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But God also wants us to realize our worth, treat our body’s as a holy temple and rest in the fact that we are created in His image. I thought, in order to be being a loving and serving Christian woman I needed to completely neglect my needs. My physical, mental and spiritual health suffered in the name of serving. 

Does any of this resonate with you as a busy Christian millennial mom?

I remember the moment I came to the other side of this and thought. Wow I can’t serve well if I am not caring and loving myself first.

I posted a quote about loving yourself first and a Christian friend commented that in fact it should be the opposite and my mental battle about this continued. I knew I needed to figure out a better way because one way or the other wasn’t better and it wasn’t serving me or anyone well.

I think often when we hear “love yourself first” that we assume that is a selfish love and don’t get me wrong I believe it very easily can turn into that. But for me when I wasn’t loving myself first I was battling feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, depression, self hate (for letting my body get the way it was) I was pushing myself into isolation not being hospitable and living in community. I was serving in acts but not serving in love.

So in fact loving myself first was exactly what I needed to be doing, and wasn’t until I went on a quest to ground myself in my true identity that all these feelings of overwhelm left and were replaced with peace, joy, gratitude and abundance.

Maybe you are listening right now and your current season of motherhood has you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, too busy and too tired. All those negative feelings are right were satan wants you, joyless hopeless, full of anxiety and worry.

Satan’s evil seeks to kill and destroy waiting like a lion to pounce on every weakness.

And when we become moms our weaknesses seem amplified.

As mothers who believe in Jesus Christ we need to be intentional about what thoughts and lies we are allowing into our motherhood. There is spiritual warfare going on for our identities and satan loves to hurt God by hurting His children.

So let me be real with you. The first step to fighting all the overwhelm of motherhood is a daily reminder of who you are in Christ. I have a little mantra I say to myself.

You are chosen, you are loved, you are a daughter of the King and you have the power of the Holy Spirit.

When I am having a rough day and feeling down or overwhelmed I repeat this reminder to myself.

I want to dive into 4 areas where Satan attacks our motherhood.

Comparison through Social Media and Our Culture.

We live in a day in age where everything is instant and people are documenting their high light reels and calling it life. We find ourselves thinking wow their marriage looks perfect but mine is falling apart. Their kids are so well behaved, and mine, well Lord Jesus please just help me make it to bedtime. What about wow she bounced right back after birth and I’m still carrying my 6 year olds baby weight.

All of these insecurities we focus on in our culture and why we don’t measure up need to stop. We over complicate so much in modern mama culture. We compare and contrast and try to live up to someone else’s idea of perfect when in truth none of that matters.

You know what matters? Loving and teaching your kids and leading them to Jesus. The trendy outfits, organic food and perfect family photos are minor details in the grand scheme of motherhood.

The next area is other mom’s opinions.

Comparison is more what we think other people think of us, where people’s opinions are things that people actually say about us and guess what?! It is not your business what any other person thinks of you as a mother.

As long as you live for the Lord and point your kids to Jesus you are doing it right. Don’t let the fact that Sally’s mom thinks you are frumpy or Janes mom thinks you are poisoning your kids because you feed them mac and cheese every now and then deter you from who you are.

You are a mom who loves Jesus and is trying their very best. Stop letting other broken people’s opinions of you steal your identity. You have the power to change your story and if you are doing something wrong then the Holy Spirit will convict you about it.

Next let’s talk about past pain and hurt in your life.

Are you holding on to something? Something that has made you bitter? Resentful? Angry? We need to let it go and forgive.

Holding onto these hurts and pains from your past do not allow you to grow. The resentment stops you from being the woman in Christ you are meant to be. I am not saying simply forget about it but truly forgive and move on.

I had a situation with a friendship that completely deteriorated and it devastated me. I felt like I had forgiven her but I would still get so sad and upset when I would think about her and what our friendship used to be like. I didn’t know why I couldn’t get past it.

I mean I told her I forgave her but the friendship didn’t remain after that and for over a year it deterred me from making any new friendships because I was trying to protect my heart. I kept putting up walls with other people. People, good Godly women would try to make friends with me and I kept resisting.

The way she hurt me blindsided me and I realized that even though I had forgiven her actions I hadn’t truly forgiven her in my heart because of how hurt I felt and how it was affecting me.

I had to ask God to really help me with this. I wrestled back and forth if God was trying to tell me to reach out to her again, to try and mend the friendship, was I the one in the wrong?

I felt God calling me to write her a letter. I wrote everything out, how I was feeling, what our ended friendship had done to my heart. I cried and sobbed and it was a huge release for me because I realized I had fully forgiven the actions but not what it had done to me.

I felt an overwhelming peace and knew I didn’t need to send the letter, and God didn’t want me to reach out and try to rebuild the friendship but that He was using this whole situation to grow me.

Now almost 2 years later I see all the ways God used that friendship and end of that friendship to grow and shape me to be more like Him. I needed to come to a place where I fully recognized my pain and hurt and had to give it to God.

I was able to drop my walls and in the past year have made so many amazing new friends. I am a lot more cautious with red flags and I rely on my relationship with Jesus not with other Christian women to grow me.

Fellowship is wonderful and I love my friends but Jesus is my Lord and who I need to be going to with all my pain and hurt.

Are you holding on to something that isn’t allowing you to see your fullness in Christ. May I encourage you to truly forgive and move on?

Lastly, your thoughts.

You control your thoughts, but satan, the world and God put suggestions in your mind. We need to be diligent about what we allow into our minds. Yes as women, but even more so as mothers because what is in our minds will come out of our mouths and penetrate into our children’s developing brains. We hold a huge responsibility to train our children and if we allow garbage in our mind then thats what our kids will get from us. This is why it is so important as moms to get in the word as often as possible. I have to start my day with the Bible. If I don’t it’s never a great day.

I wanted to discuss the thoughts of shame because it was something I struggled with for a long time. I am an overachiever. I can’t simply rest, I am always thinking of the next best thing to do or to say or to create. Satan took this personality attribute of mine and twisted it. He used my over achieving attitude to constantly tell me I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t doing enough, I was letting people down. I was a terrible mom because I wanted to pursue work outside the home as well. I was a terrible wife because I was too busy trying to be a good mom. I was no good at my career because I took on so many mothering responsibilities (hello foster mom)

Satan can make us think we are worthless and we suck at this whole motherhood thing. Guess what, that is a LIE! Now I know when these feelings of shame and not enoughness creep back into my mind that it is pure lies. I love all of Romans 8 but Romans 8 1-4 really help me with this. There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.

The Holy Spirit will convict us with things and we will often feel guilt as He is trying to move us to Holiness but when we feel shame that is all Satan. We need to remind ourselves who we are in Christ.

We need to listen to God. Flood ourselves externally and internally with His truth. Apart from Jesus we cannot know who we truly are.

What I know for certain is because of Jesus Christ, we are women of the highest worth.

We are daughters of the King, made in God’s image, precious in His sight.

When we allow ourself to feel anything but, I believe we are hurting God. Can you imagine if your daughter walked around saying the things you say to yourself in your head? Wouldn’t you do everything you could to show them their worth?

Friend if you get anything from this episode let it be this; feelings of worthlessness and not being enough are from Satan. He has a really good grip on making daughters of the King feel worthless.  But we serve a mighty God and with prayer and petition we can experience hope and healing in Christ and have an appropriate sense of self worth.

All of these external factors shield us from our value.

So what does God day about our value?

1 Peter 2 9-10

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Because of Jesus we have received mercy and grace. Who we are is because of who He is.

We need to recognize our worth but be careful not to glorify ourselves. We are worthy because of Him and He deserves all of the glory.

In 1 Peter 2: 9 It says we are CHOSEN. God chose us before anything. Ephesians 1:4 says he chose us before the foundation of the world. He chose us before all of the wonders he created on earth. The stars, the galaxies and all the beauty of nature.

It also says we are a ROYAL priesthood. We have the power to connect to God, we don’t need anyone interceeding for us. We are capable by Jesus. The world feeds us lies saying we are not capable but we have the Holy spirits power.

Remind yourself about this and remind your kids about it.

The world is filled with rejection, we all want to be accepted and the younger we are when we face rejection the more of an impact it has on us. Remind your kids they are accepted by Jesus and that is what matters. We have the ability to be in relationship with Him. We don’t need other’s acceptance.

It also says we are Holy – Holy means more than valuable. We are priceless to God. Think about it, why else would He give us Jesus? Jesus dying on the cross is what we are worth to Him. Remember that.

In Ephesians 2:10 it says For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them,

We are God’s workmanship, His greatest masterpiece. I mean I love to think of the intricacies of what has to go right in order for a human baby to be born. Its truly incredible.

God went to all this trouble in creating us. We are so important to God. He wants us to do good works, to follow Him but we don’t need to perform.

Can you imagine asking your kids to perform every day to receive love from you? That’s not how love works. Are we pleased when our kids perform? Behave, obey, and not act out? Do well in school, sports or achieve some sort of accomplishment? Yes of course but if they don’t it doesn’t mean we love them less.

I love how God gives us the parent child relationship because without it I don’t think we could ever even somewhat comprehend His love for us.

God’s love for us is unending and has no conditions. He pours out grace on us. We never have to worry is God going to love me today? God is love. It’s His character. Nothing we do surprises Him and when we repent he totally forgives us. Wipes the slate clean.

As moms in 2019 and beyond we can’t allow people opinions, past pain and hurt, our own thoughts and the influence of social media and our culture defer and distract us from our purpose. We need to stop believing lies and believe what God says about us.

Action Steps

Ephesians 6: 10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.