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My 80-year-old mom took a tumble last summer while I was 800 miles away. I felt helpless and alone, my menopausal mind cloudy and overwhelmed. Sandwich season ushers in many situations beyond my control (and I’m not talking bologna). My hubby works remotely, we live part-time in an RV, and I’m the sole caregiver for my parents.
Sitting in a camper in St. Petersburg, Florida, we phoned for an ambulance in rural West Virginia, wondering at the outcome. “I’m afraid I may have broken something, I’m afraid to move. I’m so sorry, this was a dumb thing to do“, my mom sputtered over the phone, beating herself up.
It starts early in motherhood – this invisible, immeasurable, elusive, and unattainable standard we place on ourselves.
When we’re spread too thin, the guilt piles on:
I left the dishes in the sink
I didn’t remind my kid to do her homework
I forgot to wash the soccer uniform
I’m late for work again
I’m not spending enough one-on-one time with each of my kids
I missed my quiet time
I’m not helping enough at church
I served my kids weiners and box mac-and-cheese again
I didn’t discipline enough
I disciplined too much
I didn’t speak to the neighbor (she probably thinks I’m mad)
I ate too much
I don’t think this is how Jesus meant us to live: beating ourselves up over and over and over.
“But I’m a mom! Moms do everything! What choice do I have?”
Well, actually, we do have a choice – on how we talk to ourselves.
The night when my little mom broke her femur, she felt terrible about inconveniencing everyone.
But God has a purpose – even in mishaps.
Even in scattered places.
Even in imperfection.
That night, my neighbor cared for my dad, taking him to and from the hospital. She kept me up to date on all tests and doctor reports (even past midnight). The next day, my daughter marched into the hospital and cared for mamaw like a trooper. My MIL (nearly 80 herself), drilled nurses and texted updates. Friends visited for moral support.
As I boarded a flight at oh-dark-thirty and headed toward home, Philippians 4:19 brought comfort.
God had people poised and ready for such a time as this.
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9, NKJV
Good news: God doesn’t expect nearly as much from us as we do
We can’t be everywhere, we can’t do everything, and we aren’t supposed to. We’re only supposed to accept His help, His plan, and His people.
—–> Also see: To the mom of the strong-willed child; there is hope!
I was humbled at the million little ways God stepped in with skin on and used His people to help me. Sometimes the task of being the sole caregiver as an only child can seem daunting, but when I squelch my fretting and allow God to work, I’m humbled at how much more He can accomplish in His own time and way than I ever could in my own strength.
So the next time you feel “less than” or your day gets out of whack, step back and think about what God might be trying to tell you. We’ve got our plans; ultimately, God holds the agenda.
And, it is GOOD.
Mamaw has a new hip now and recovered nicely – after weeks of rehabilitation that weren’t on my docket at the time…
But you know what? God got us through it all!
And if you need more help on this subject, my book, Stepping Stones for Moms; 8 Mindsets for the mom who thinks she’s failing at motherhood, is based on the faltering disciplines in Mark 14. I think you’ll be encouraged as you read the “story behind the story” of how much Jesus loves us and what He actually expects of us.
Here are some other helpful posts: