To the Mother Who Second-Guesses Herself

mother-and-son-1256829_960_720 (1)Humility requires me to speak respectfully, even in awe, when it comes to motherhood. I have not yet been a parent, and I will never be a mother.

But I have learned this, mothers, thanks to my years in youth ministry: you have regrets. No matter how well your children have turned out, as they cross the stage and flip their tassels, all smiles with relief, you think of their flaws (as if there weren’t supposed to be any) and long to have some days back. Even when I’m thinking, amazed, “Are you kidding? I’ve known your kid for years. They’re awesome!”

The longing is legitimately greater in some mothers. But the mammoth task of motherhood is bound to leave holes. A mother can find the tiniest flaw in her own mother-work, as surely as she can spot a speck of dust on a table.

I want to encourage today. Yet I will never been a mother. I speak better than I know.

But I have been a child.

And I can say this with great certainty to many mothers: your children are probably thinking far better of you than you are.

You remember the fights and misunderstandings; we remember the gifts and good times. You see the missed teaching opportunities; we see what we’ve learned. Roll with me here. We may have issues up the wazoo, but we don’t fault you for the specks. We see you as the one who held back the landslide. The glass is half full on Mother’s Day.

Thanks, Mom, for always telling me I could achieve whatever I wanted.

Thanks, Mom, for raising me to be honest.

Thanks, Mom, for getting me into martial arts and not letting me quit.

Thanks, Mom, for working your heart out to schedule my lessons, correct my papers, and make me redo the rocky parts. (The sheer toil and sacrifice that comes with you homeschooling moms…this should be Mother’s Week for you.)

Thanks, Mom, for letting me vent stupidly over the phone all these years.

Thanks, Mom, for showing me how to organize my important documents into a nice, neat portfolio.

Thanks, Mom, for waking us in the dead of night that one time to watch auroras and go moonlight sledding.

Thanks, Mom, for postponing the final collapse of society by teaching me to write in cursive.

Thanks, Mom, for birthing me in the first place. That was important.

Thanks, Mom, for supporting my Air Force enlistment even though it meant we’d be apart.

Thanks, Mom, for the piano lessons. I fought you every step, and I may have taken a side trip to the guitar for fifteen years, but music lessons are music lessons. Now I’m a worship leader. (And I did find my way back to the piano.)

Thanks, Mom, for always saying my brother and I would need each other some day. You were right.

Thanks, Mom, for raising me to be a gentleman.

Thanks, Mom, for not killing me.

Thanks, Mom, for buying us a pony when we were younger. I wish I’d been willing to learn to ride. It was still a great idea.

Thanks, Mom, for paying for my orthodontia, letting me stay up those first few nights of searing headgear, and buying me peach-flavored ice cream (or was that for the tonsillectomy?) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures.

Thanks, Mom, for knowing the moment when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ceased to be a good influence.

Thanks, Mom, for cooking real food.

Thanks, Mom, for coaxing me into youth group at a time when meeting new people was right down there with death by cement mixer on my personal wish list.

Thanks, Mom, for all the advice on notaries and tax prep and credit-building. You know much.

Thanks, Mom, for withholding the Super Nintendo until I was old enough to avoid devolving into a vidiot. (At which time you bought me an Xbox.)

Thanks, Mom, for grounding me when I needed it.

Thanks, Mom, for making me read constantly. Out loud.

Thanks, Mom, for your indignation on my behalf when my first-grade teacher and principal misinterpreted and mishandled my energy. It meant a lot.

Thanks, Mom, for your expert balance in rooting for me to marry but never nagging.

Thanks, Mom, for constantly telling me how proud you are.

Thanks, Mom, for the bandaids and the hugs and the fair visits and the iPods and the people advice and the birthday money and the Uno games and the driving lessons and the missions donations and the millions of little sacrifices you made that neither of us remember anymore. This list gets longer every time I come back to it. And I know that God’s list is far, far longer.

Quit second-guessing yourselves, moms. God is offering grace. He’s not asking you to agonize endlessly over a past you can’t change. If there were errors, simply repent and give them to God. Give US to God. He won’t make mistakes. And you have given him a warehouse of material to work with.

To mothers who might have legitimate reason to regret: it’s not too late. Pray for your child. Nobody on earth has more power in prayer for your child than you. God will come for us. And he will forgive us.

The human race is nothing without you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

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35 thoughts on “To the Mother Who Second-Guesses Herself

  1. “And I can say this with great certainty to many mothers: your children are probably thinking far better of you than you are.”

    As a father of two children in their mid to late twenties, a glimmer of hope that they think far better of me than I do. While I know this is true of their mom, I may never know for sure what they think of me. When I look back on our history, I can really only see my glaring mistakes. I’m so deeply flawed and often completely broken. All I have is this day to show them how much I love them and how far I am wiling to go for them.

    I can’t help but feel that they had a much better mother than father. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone else. No one else is me, exactly. I guess I’m rambling on since that statement stirred something in me that I needed to explore.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Oh my sweet Brandon. This brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure your mom appreciates you more than you know. I’m one of those moms who never felt I did enough. My youngest is now 44 and I still have nightmares about not making their school lunches for them. I always did, but somehow I think that relates to feelings of never doing enough. Thanks for making my day 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  3. What a great way to honor your mother and all mothers who think they have fallen short. I too have felt that I have fallen short in areas where my children don’t always understand why I protected them so fiercely and wanted to know all their friends, etc. But you are right, in order to show grace to others, we must be willing to show grace to ourselves. As a mom of four beautiful children here on earth and one beautiful angel in heaven, I pray daily that God will protect my children and let them know how much they are loved. Moms are hard on themselves because we want to know we did all we could to raise them to be the best adults they could be. We live in a broken world, but this is only our temporary home. I remind myself that as much as I would like to shield them from pain and loss, they must learn to cope with that on their own. I will always be there to help pick up the pieces of their broken hearts and will love them with an unconditional love just as our Father loves us. I am sure that your mother knows what a beautiful soul you are. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Brandon, I’d say this is one of your best. So insightful. My favorite part is, “And I can say this with great certainty to many mothers: your children are probably thinking far better of you than you are.” And from reading the other comments, it seems most of us mothers have this second-guessing thing in common. And then there are the moms like me who have turned it into an art form, triple-guessing and even quadrupling it… Your words were much needed and greatly encouraged me today. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh wow! Now you have me crying! So many of us have raised children alone as single mothers who do everything possible to raise our children the way God wants with the morals and standards that He has set while they see the conflicted standards of the world. Your mother is an awesome woman and she is blessed to have you as a son. I pray that my 3 children will one day remember the little things that mothers do for their children like you have. Another awesome post. Thanks Brandon!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: To the Mother Who Second-Guesses Herself — Brandon J. Adams – She, Who Screams in Silence.

  7. This is so well put. This is how I feel constantly. No matter how hard you try, and how amazing your child turns out, you always have regrets. You’ve inspired me on what to write for my next blog post, thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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