By: Erin Davis
It’s not a new prayer. I’d prayed it plenty before and know most other mommas have too. But it never seemed to stop the cycle of frustration and shame that had become a daily part of my job as a mom.
That’s because God doesn’t have a magic wand.
When I asked Him to deliver me from my anger toward my children, I expected Him to zap some nasty part of my heart and magically turn sighs into singing, barking orders into patient instruction, a short fuse into longsuffering. Instead, He handed me a pair of work gloves and told me to roll up my sleeves. There was mining to be done in my heart and if I was serious about changing, I was going to have to get my hands dirty. No sweep of the magic wand would do.
Because I love my children so much that it feels my heart might burst from it, and because I love God even more and desperately desire to please Him, I accepted His invitation to get to work. Yes, I would have preferred the instant gratification method, but this was about freedom—and as we all know, freedom is never free.
So, I put on a hospital gown and rolled myself into surgery. I asked the Lord to slice away at whatever was making me an angry momma.
Do you know what got left on the operating room floor? This blog. And a thousand other projects that seem really, really important…that seem disconnected from my anger, but ultimately are not.
Because I’m too tired, my bandwidth is nil. I’ve been so busy writing about motherhood that there’s no time left to be a momma who has time to tend to the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control). I’m angry because I’m stretched too thin. I’m impatient because I’m limping by without rest or regular time in the Word. I lose my cool because if my life is a measuring cup that can hold one cup, I’m trying to fill it with ten gallons of junk to do every single day.
Because my boys deserve a patient momma, some stuff that I love very much, simply has to go.
I deleted Twitter and email from my phone (talk about time stealers!). (Because this is a chronic problem for me, Facebook and I broke up years ago) I made myself go to bed early instead of forcing my eyelids to stay open through a movie or sitcom. I put some parameters on how many speaking engagements I could accept. I rehearsed these lines in the mirror…”No.” “No, thank you.” “No, I’m sorry my schedule is full.”
I forced myself to face this painful truth: I may be able to do it all, but I cannot do it all well.
In an era where likes, and comments, and followers are the measure of a mom, none of this makes any sense. This website is growing. Our traffic numbers are up. Moms are being reached. Surely, that is the ultimate good, right?
Because motherhood is not a spectator sport. What matters most is not the pictures we post on Facebook, or the posts we write about the job, or even what other people think about our families. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is our children’s hearts.
The measure of a mom is not what the watching world thinks. Her report card comes from the Lord.
I realize a patient, still coming out of anesthesia isn’t the best choice to give surgery lessons, but would you mind if I took one last opportunity to teach? If you’re an angry mom, a stressed out mom, an impatient mom, or a mom who does not control her temper there are likely some things that need to go. They probably aren’t big, ugly things either. They are good things that simply rob your children of the best mom possible. Perhaps it’s Facebook, or Twitter or Pinterest. Maybe it’s a blog of your own or a way you volunteer your time, or your determination to have spotless floors…
They say these years are gone in a blink. I can only assume that is true. There will be time again for us to invest ourselves more outside of our homes. But for now, our children are our mission field. We need to be diligent about guarding the time required to run this race well.
Will you join me inviting the Lord to cut away at whatever is withering the Fruit of the Holy Sprit in your life? I’ll warn you, some good stuff will likely get cut. But your kids deserve a joyful mom, a patient mom, a mom who refuses to spend these years in perpetual survival mode. They’re worth the sacrifice. And God is a kind and capable Surgeon.
While you let that marinate, it’s time for me to pull the plug. Thank you for reading this blog. Thanks for your comments. They have meant the world to me. But for now, I must say “good bye.” I may hop back on here from time to time, as the Lord teaches me new lessons and my children take extra long naps, but for the most part I am retreating from writing about motherhood in order to be a better mother.
Press in to Jesus. Press on, mommas!
Note: to keep up with Erin, her thoughts, and projects follow her on Twitter: @eringraffiti
A popular speaker, author and blogger, ERIN DAVIS has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God’s Truth with others. She is the author of several books including Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves, True Princess: Embracing Humility in an All About Me World, The Bare Facts with Josh McDowell and the Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood As a Sacred Role. When she’s not writing books, you can find Erin chasing down chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.