Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rest Easy, Good Mama

I rolled down my car window and waited.  I had to tell her.  I had to catch her eye and say it before I pulled out of that parking space.  You're doing a great job!  You're clearly a good mama!  I had watched that mama in the grocery aisles, wearing her baby girl and pushing a stroller with two energetic boys, all the while loading fruit snacks and milk and dog food in another cart she pushed.  If ever hands were full, hers were!  She spoke gently and lovingly, yet firmly.  She told those wiggly boys she needed their help in the checkout lane.  I had parked right by her, me with only my youngest one in tow.  I watched her help little ones into car seats and load a trunk full of groceries.  I saw myself and a thousand other mamas, as I watched her.  So I just had to tell her.  And her response, with nervous laughter, Thank you.  I don't feel like it.

I pulled away and tears filled my eyes.  Because that was my response too.  That is my response.  I meant what I said to her.  But you know what?  She meant what she said too.  And I know that because I live it.  Thank you, but I don't feel like it.  I can't tell you how many times I've longed to hear it:  an affirmation that, despite my failings, I'm a good mama doing a good job.  I hope that someone other than me encouraged that sweet mama on that morning.  But I'm the same way, when faced with encouragement or affirmation:  my vulnerability shows up.  I can't help but confess:  Thank you, but I don't feel like it.  

I wanted to drive back and say it again.  And again.  And again.  Until she protested no longer and just received those words.  I wanted to receive those words myself.  Because this kingdom work of raising the next generation is full and continuous and selfless.  Because it is a good job.  More than that.  It's a calling and we are leaning into it, with all of our faults and failures and messes.  God sees.  It matters, what we do!  From the endless grocery trips to the endless loads of laundry.  From the cuddles and boo-boo kisses to the hours of sound it out and try it again.  From the meals prepared and lunch boxes filled to the Mama's sorry, I shouldn't have reacted that way....God sees!  

He sees our hearts, even when we blow it.  He knows our hearts during those moments when all we see is our mistakes.  And our feelings about how we're doing?  We can't trust them anyway.  I truly believe he wants us to know that we are good mamas, doing a good job.

So please hear and believe this, dear mama.  You may falter and stumble and even fall.  But as long as you fall into the arms of your Heavenly Father, He will carry you through the tough stuff.  And when your hands are so full you can barely see more than the next step, just take that step and trust that God is with you and He will lead you.  He will make up for all you lack.  Just as you clean their messes, He can clean up yours.  And when you need to hear it, take a moment to remind a fellow mama.  You are a good mama, doing a good (meaningful, eternal, life-changing) job!  

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee today
Also linking with Holley Gerth


  1. Stephanie, I can't tell you how much your post rings true to me. I had a truly tumultuous upbringing, fairly devoid of any good parental examples to emulate. As a result, I felt completely overwhelmed and insecure, *longing* for someone to tell me I was a good mama! It's actually good to know that I wasn't alone in my thinking...that even when friends would tell me how good of a mama I was (when my girls were teens), I really didn't believe them!
    I think it's wonderful that you took the time to encourage that mama in the store. And the words on your picture are really true. Just the fact that we are concerned about being good mamas...well...yes. That.
    You were my neighbor over at Jennifer's and I'm so glad I visited your inviting and lovely blog <3

    1. Caryn, I thank you for your honesty! And no, I truly don't believe any of us are alone in these feelings. The trickiest lesson to learn may possibly be just receiving the encouragement...period! Others (especially close to us) do see our strengths! But most importantly, God sees! Thanks so much for stopping by Caryn. May you be blessed in your journey!

  2. Stephanie, you were Jesus with skin on! Sometimes we just need that reminder that we are seen and we're on the right path. How great that you obeyed the Holy Spirit nudge and gave away a blessing.

  3. Thank you Tiffany! Many blessings to you today as well, as you live out your journey of being Jesus with skin on!

  4. Stephanie, it was a lovely gracious thing you did to approach this mama and offer such sweet reassurance. How our souls need to hear that! I struggled as a mother for similar reasons to Caryn above. And when folk looked at our two sons and complimented me on their upbringing I always deflected it away, feeling it was all of God (and their earthly father) and none of me.
    But I strongly feel that we may need to accept being/having been 'good enough' parents because perfection is an impossible standard that ties us up in knots. Granting ourselves grace (while being mindful of God's grace, help and guidance) will help us to see the positive part we played in shaping young lives for the future. You too are doing a great job! Blessings to you and your family.

  5. Absolutely and amen Joy! What we accomplish as parents is only by His goodness and grace! And I agree, that living by and with grace does allow us to see how God uses the strengths and gifts with which He has blessed us, to parent well...or, good enough! Blessings to you today and thank you for stopping by!