A Grandmother’s Encouragement To Weary Moms

I climbed into bed, pulled the covers up to my chin, and felt tears stinging my eyes. Another call from my son’s teacher, and another argument with him that resolved absolutely nothing. As I lay there, exhausted but unable to sleep, I found myself asking God how one of life’s richest blessings can be one of its toughest jobs. 

When my kids were young, there were so many nights like that one.

Children may be a gift from the Lord and a reward from him (Ps. 127:3), but if we’re honest, sometimes our kids can feel like more of a test of our endurance, patience, and wisdom. As Mother’s Day approaches, we might feel a weariness that breakfast in bed and a funny card cannot begin to touch. 

We can take some comfort from the world’s most famous mother, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Highly favored as she was, even Mary dealt with her own motherhood struggles. Certainly young Jesus was the perfect child, but we might imagine how parenting God in the flesh presented unique challenges. Did Mary ever doubt her decisions, question her methods, and find herself shaking her head in frustration at this kid who just seemed to be on a different level than everyone else? How panicked and guilt-stricken she must have been when she realized she had lost her own child – and not just for a few minutes, but for days (Luke 2:41-52)!

Because of Jesus’s love for us, demonstrated by his willingness to pay for our sins on the cross, we don’t have to be perfect mothers – just faithful ones. By taking the punishment we deserve and declaring all who believe in him righteous, Jesus freed us from the weight of our sin and guilt, including the guilt we experience when we fail in our mothering. We still feel that weight, but we can be assured of our forgiveness, even in those moments when we stumble in living faithfully by his Word and struggle to feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  

As Mother’s Day approaches, we might not be feeling the joy of motherhood as intensely as we would like. Our failures, unmet expectations, and weariness can weigh us down and leave us feeling discouraged and guilty. As a mother of three adult children and five grandchildren, I am a grateful witness to the ways in which God is always working in our mothering that aren’t readily apparent in the midst of our messy mistakes. God’s promises are true for moms  – he will give restoration, purpose, and rest for weary mothers. 

God Redeems Your Parenting Mistakes

Dealing with teens can often feel like an unending battle of wills. No one is more sure of him or herself than a teen or young adult who is in conflict with a parent. When these clashes continue or escalate or if our relationship with our child becomes strained or difficult, we can feel like complete failures. 

Let’s face it: sometimes we do fail to be the mother God wants us to be. We don’t trust in God’s plan for our child, so we become too controlling or fearful. We put our desires first and fail to listen to our child. We dismiss his wants and needs. Our concern with being the perfect mom leads us to help too much or to fail to recognize her problem until it’s too late. 

In these moments where we know we’ve blown it, we must confess, repent, and seek the wisdom of Scripture and the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what our next steps should be. Unacknowledged mistakes lead to pain and bitterness, but being honest with your teen and asking his forgiveness creates space for healing to begin. Redemption and restoration likely won’t be immediate; it may take years to see it. 

But when we see our kids as parents themselves being intentional to avoid the mistakes we made, or when they seek our advice if they find themselves falling into the same traps, we can begin to see God’s hand at work. Hold to the hope that God can and will bring goodness out of your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).  

God Gives Us Our Ultimate Purpose

Perhaps you’re feeling a bit ambivalent about your mothering skills. You’ve moved on from guilt at your shortcomings to a resigned acceptance of your limitations. Maybe you feel overwhelmed at the unceasing work of motherhood and wonder if your life will forever and always be defined by your kids. After years of carpool, soccer tournaments, and seemingly endless appointments with the pediatrician it’s easy to feel like being a mother is your only role in life. The older women in your church shake their heads sadly and say “it all goes by so fast,” but you feel as if it will never end – and yet you’re slightly panicked at the thought of what you’ll do when it does. 

While being a mother is one of life’s greatest blessings and responsibilities, it’s good to remember that it is not the primary reason God created you. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God says “everyone who is called by my name whom I created (is) for my glory.” (Is. 43:7)  You were created specifically for God’s glory long before you ever became a mom. When the kids leave the nest, your ultimate purpose is still God’s glory. In your work, in your service to others, in your prayers, and in your worship, you are fulfilling God’s design to be a living witness to his goodness and grace. Recognizing our ultimate purpose to glorify God frees us from performance anxiety about our mothering skills.

God Gives Weary Moms Rest

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28) is a promise that can be difficult to believe when we’re exhausted from the constant mental and emotional rollercoaster of being a mother. Our responsibilities don’t lessen or suddenly improve just because we’re so tired we “leave it all at Jesus’s feet.” As mothers we can struggle with knowing when and how to enter into this rest Jesus promises. 

One way we can receive his rest is to commit to faithfulness to his commands, even when it’s difficult or we would rather, for our own self-preservation, do something different. In the story of the widow’s mite, we see a woman who remained faithful and grateful to give all she had despite the poverty and fear that defined her existence. (Mark 12:41-44) Jesus, who certainly knew the depth of her worries and insecurities, commended her generosity and faith as a stark contrast to those who give generously out of their abundance but pull back when it begins to cost them something.  

Being faithful in this season means praying continuously, even when you can’t see those prayers being answered. It means finding a moment every day to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and remember that the God who created and loves you is present with you through the Holy Spirit in all moments of your chaotic and frustrating day. It means trusting that God will provide as he did for the poor widow – even when you feel you are giving the last bit of yourself that you have to give as a mother. 

Weary moms, there will come a day when you will look back at this season and marvel at how God was always leading you through it. Being faithful to believe that God keeps his promise of redemption, purpose, and rest will produce a perspective of gratitude for the incredible blessing of the trials and triumphs of motherhood.

Check out the Rooted Parent Podcast for more gospel encouragement for moms and dads!

Tracey Rector is a freelance writer in Birmingham, Alabama. She and her husband Al are the parents of three adult children who are reasonably well-adjusted. She is a member of Brookwood Baptist Church where she taught youth Sunday School and plays in the handbell choir. She loves reading mysteries, cooking for her family and friends, and singing silly songs to her grandchildren Joshua and Evelyn.

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