As a Mom of a child with disability, do you ever get caught up in feeling of being a failure or guilt as a Mom? I am right there with you. I talk more about this struggle in part 1 of this article. You can read more about it here.
For me, there are four thought patterns that lead me to feeling guilty and like a failure. Today we are going to look at the first two of those and how to reframe them.
1. I’m not enough. News flash - you’re human. I know you know that, but really, you are NOT God. You are limited. You can’t do it all. AND, that’s not a surprise to God, just like your current circumstances are not a surprise to God. He knows. He also knows you’re in over your head. I don’t know what is behind your thoughts of failure or guilt, but for me, I have always liked being very competent. I am a perfectionist. And I grew up with a “try harder, work more and you’ll succeed” mentality. The problem with that mentality is that I’m human and at some point, my ALL is simply not enough. So, what then?
God made us to depend on Him. After-all, He is God and we are not. 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 is a good one to keep on hand when you forget you’re human and start feeling like a failure because you can’t perform supermom feats. I like God’s direct words to Paul, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Paul had to reframe his thoughts when God didn’t remove his physical struggles and this became his perspective, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Admit to yourself and to God that you can’t do it. It is beyond you. Then throw yourself into God’s care and dependence on Him by asking for help.
When I finally got to that point, after 18 long, sleep-deprived months (sigh, I was very self-sufficient), I told God, “I need you. I need you to show up with skin on and hold this child so I can sleep a few hours because I can’t do it anymore (and I literally couldn’t, my body quit and I had had a physical and emotional breakdown) and no one else is helping.” Later that week, I got over my pride and I asked some older ladies at my church who I didn’t know and had never met for help. And one couple offered to help! What a blessing they have been in our lives…Jesus showed up with skin on and their names are Mark and Marjie.
I don’t know how God will provide for your need. But I do know you need to admit your weakness, acknowledge your need for Him, and ask for His help!
2. I’m a failure as a mom. You ARE that loving, caregiving mom. Look at what you ARE doing rather than at what you are NOT doing. Your circumstances may be a result of living in this sin-cursed world as we await a perfect eternity. However, your circumstances have not escaped God’s attention. And He sees what you ARE doing. He sees how much you love the child He has entrusted to your care. He sees what you are sacrificing to care for that child. He sees how hard it is. He sees your isolation, fears of the future, what you can’t accomplish because you ARE caring for and loving this child. He sees your faithfulness. He sees that you are a reflection of His love to this child and to those around who see your dedication. And if, like me, you ask, “Who? Who sees? I have no social life.” What about the myriad of therapists and doctors? Glorifying Him by being a reflection of Him to others and this world is your highest calling, even if it looks different than what you imagined. Your love and faithfulness to this child can speak volumes!
Reframing these thought patterns is hard but when we recognize them, we can start reframing them with the truth from God’s word. Next week we will look at two more thought patterns that sneak into everyday life.
Written by Sarah McGuire