Do you ever get caught up in feeling like a failure as a Mom? I do. In my life, there are four thought patterns that most commonly lead to me feeling this way. Last week we looked at the first two of these thought patterns and how to reframe them. You can find that article here. This week we are going to look at the final two and how to reframe those.
3. I’m failing my husband and other kids.
This belief often comes because you can’t be the wife and mom you would like for your husband and other kids.
God knew your limitations when He allowed this child with special needs into your family. You are responsible to do your best to love and care for your whole family. However, when you aren’t enough and can’t do enough. Let go of the guilt and entrust that God has allowed these circumstances in your life as well as your husband’s and other kids’ lives and He can use it for good in their lives. It’s not an accident that your other kids are a sibling to a child with special needs. God has a purpose. Do what you can to love your other kids well, but when you can’t do all you wish you could do, pray and leave the rest in God’s hands.
4. I’m a failure as a child of God.
I grew up in a fairly legalistic church and went to a legalistic Bible college (2 actually), where having daily devotions (a time of undistracted reading the Bible and praying) was tantamount to being a good Christian. And to skip that, well, you simply weren’t a good Christian and couldn’t grow in your faith. Don’t get me wrong, the church and schools were wonderful and had solid, Bible-based teaching for which I’m SO grateful! However, there was an underlying message: you check these boxes (ideally, daily) and you’re a good Christian. Don’t, and you’re not. And being the good, perfectionistic, rule-follower that I was, I was okay with that. Until I wasn’t. Until life made it impossible to check those boxes.
I knew that being a Christian was a relationship with God. I knew that His salvation and forgiveness from the punishment for my sins was a free gift, given by grace and not based on anything I did or could do. By dying on the cross, Jesus took my punishment for me. All I had to do was accept that and I was free and clear.
But, life with a child with special needs happened, and with it, caregiving 24 hours/day. No time for Bible study, reading, or devotions. The guilt rolled in thick and heavy. It was crippling. That isn’t God’s way – grace, a free gift. That’s man’s way – earn it, be good enough.
What other relationship do we apply that standard to? Read an email from and talk to (husband, mom, dad, sibling, friend) for 20-30 minutes a day, check, we automatically have a strong relationship. Think of all those other relationships. Who, besides a child, doesn’t understand that it’s not always possible to connect for a deep heart-to-heart every day let alone for a predetermined amount of time. Who do you not have interactions with in passing or brief texts that add to and help build the relationship?
There’s not a right or wrong method to do relationship with God, but I’ve transitioned more to a conversational, in-the-dailies, type of interaction with God as my mainstay. A sentence prayer here and there, a quick plea for help, a word of admiration at His creation of beauty in a sunset or bird song, a verse or chapter to think on through the day or week, a few minutes of intentionally turning over my challenges and cares to Him and giving thanks as I fall asleep. And, occasionally, we get a date were I actually get that sit down, uninterrupted time to read my Bible, reflect, mediate, and have that heart-to-heart talk. Yes, the more often I get those times, the more I get to know Him, love Him, see His heart, and share mine with Him. But not getting those times many days doesn’t mean I’m failing Him.
Look at Isaiah 43:1-4 (NLT), “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep water, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD your God…because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
I love how it states over and over how, when we’ve trusted Him as our God, He is there for us and loves us unconditionally.
So, what thought patterns do you struggle with that lead you in the negative spiral of thinking you are a failure and feelings of guilt? How can you reframe those with God’s word?
Written by Sarah McGuire