The past few years have been ones of deep reflection and change. Everything from food to faith. You name it, I have wrestled through it and come out the other side changed and stronger. And this Mother's Day is following a similar story. Generally, I do not use Mother's Day to reflect on my own mothering. It is usually a time for honoring my dear mother and mother-in-law, but this year has been incredibly different. I suppose God decided is was time to strengthen my ability to mother my children. Typically I am not a super insecure person, but these last few years of change have left intense pockets of insecurity. I think insecurity can come with any kind of adjustment.
We make a change, but often we doubt our decision before fully accepting it...then we embrace change, and the insecurity slowly disappears. I have made many changes in how I mother my children, and found that instead of being confident in those decisions, I was constantly second guessing myself (thankfully I have a husband who is faithful to remind me that we made these decisions together and to persevere). So, I made up my mind to embrace this stage of life and allow God to let me be the kind of mom I want to be (and the kind of mom I think He has called me to be).....still insecure.... thinking I was the only mother out there making these kinds of decisions or choosing this way of life, thus something MUST be wrong with me.
I started reading a book called The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison (recommended by a dear friend. You can read her blog here). In this book, I found another mother who willingly admitted her insecurities and challenges. I found another mother who wrestled through change and heart ache and came out the other side stronger and more appreciative. Although, I am not in the same stage of life as Kenison (her sons are grown now), I found I could relate to her struggles and also her longing for simplicity and embracing that which seems commonplace. I made another change: I started appreciating everything that seemed ordinary. I intentionally thanked God for everything that I seemed to take for granted in the past, and in this, I found beauty. The insecure thoughts were replaced by thoughts of thankfulness. I realized recently, though, that I had not dealt with the insecurity, I had simply pushed the thoughts into the darkest parts of my mind. Yes, they came back at the most unexpected moment. So, I called in reinforcements (drum roll please).... MOMMY!!!!! She listened in silence. She allowed me the freedom to share ALL of my insecurities and then quietly said exactly what I needed to hear. "Honey, I know that many moms seem to have it all together, but EVERY mom is insecure." Rewind.....YES! I did know that, and about three years ago I actually shared that same thought with another mother, but somewhere in all the currents of change, I had forgotten it. Thank you mom! I hung up feeling free. Freedom in remembering that I am not alone.....that every mother struggles with some sort of insecurity. Freedom in understanding myself and my children, and freedom in admitting that I DO NOT have it all together (yes, I am confessing it here too).
The title of this post is "A Mother's Legacy." We all have an opportunity to leave a legacy for our children. For some reason, we have a culture of mothers who are constantly questioning, constantly comparing, constantly second guessing their parenting (maybe it has always been this way). For me, this is the time to say good bye to those insecurities and embrace who I am. I choose to leave a legacy of confidence. One that is identified in Christ and no one else. I choose to say I am the one chosen to be mama to these little gifts... not the neighbor lady....not my best friend....not my sister....I AM THE ONE GOD CHOSE TO PARENT THESE CHILDREN. I will do things differently; I will pull my children close when they need to be pulled close, and I will give them the freedom to run and blossom. I will not measure myself up against another mother. I will only measure myself against my heavenly Father and His expectations of me. I will be transparent with other mothers so that they have the opportunity to be transparent with me. We cannot allow our insecurities to keep us locked into emotional isolation. I will not compare myself to other mothers, but I will encourage them in their own parenting. I will not think that I can do it better than that mother over there. Let's face it, we do not have TIME to compare ourselves to one another. I have lost so much time wrestling with my insecurities. I choose now to fill my mind with gratitude for each and every blessing. I will take notice of those things not so easily noticeable.
Grandmothers, I ask you to speak encouragement to the young mothers around you. Tell them often how proud you are of them and what they do well. Be specific. A mother needs to hear it. I am glad my mom took the time to encourage me. Leave a legacy of encouragement.
Leave a legacy that delights in all the ordinary things that might be overlooked.
Leave a legacy of confidence and encouragement.
Leave a legacy that has no place for insecurity. Happy Mothers Day