Confessions (of a mama) part.16.

(8 mos. pregnant.. and our almost two year old dude)
I don't know about you, but I like a good book to treat me like a good friend - by giving me the one, two punch of 'love' and 'truth'.  The kind of truth that smacks you up the head and says "you need to hear this"... the kind of love that says "because I love you too much to leave you where you are".

Well, a good friend got me this good book: "Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood", and I ate it up pretty fast.  The author was putting a finger right on that pressure point in my own life... and speaking truth, and love, to it.

Because, as you may recall from that last 'mama confession' about the self-pity vortex, I am really seeking to weed out this rotting reaction to any trials in parenting.
This book has helped remind me to take the times of chaos, and those moments of indulgent pity parties and self-loathing... and use them as a spring board to recognise: 'yes, I am weak' but 'God's grace is strong'.

"Motherhood has taught me how very weak I really am, and that is a hard, hard truth to accept.  But by living in my weakness, I see more powerful God really is.  I come to understand that his power is shown to be perfect through my weakness and failures".Kimm.p.56.

Another weakness I think many of us women face is that 'no-win' game of comparison.  Is it easy to think of five other moms you compare your parenting to?  Or, do you seek to define yourself by the version of mom you want to be - the all-natural, granola mama; the sporty mom; the artsy mom; the homeschooling mama... etc?  We can beat ourselves up trying to 'keep up'.
We can be super defensive of any one who may question how we parent.  We can stay up at night wondering 'am I going to screw up my kids?'... imagine living in the freedom of not having to perform, or maintain such fragile identities:

"God's grace is a one-way love - love and acceptance that flows down on us so we may in turn show it to others.  A love we have done nothing to earn, grace as a gift.  When we truly believe that this permanent, unchanging approval God has bestowed upon us because Christ is enough, then we can receive compliments or complaints, approval or rejection, with a minimum of temptation to respond pridefully or defensively.  Why?  Because ultimately it's not about us." Kimm.

So whether I put the kids to bed in a flustered and frustrated rage.. and then lament my pathetic parenting, or tuck them in tenderly.. and congratulate myself on being 'wonder-mom' - both are 'me' centered perspectives.  It all boils down to a personal performance identity.  I feel validated for a good day or vexed by an exhausting one.  As the author is this books states, though, I need to trade in my 'performance obsession' for a 'Christ obsession'.

And you know what?  I already see a difference - a subtle shift in my heart - during those moments where grace instead of selfishness takes the spotlight.  Prime example: each morning when the kids wake (much) earlier than I would appreciate.. my heart can start grumbling before my feet hit the ground.  I can soon be nursing a full out pity party and contempt for my 'rough start to the day'... and blame those early risers for it - instead of recognising it's my own heart festering.  But, lately when I feel that temptation to start brewing a bad attitude - I remind myself of God's grace, always present, always free, always enduring for me.
I feel lighter.
I feel freer.

His love has opened the cage, why bother putting myself back in it?

I can't explain the difference grace makes if you don't know Jesus personally.. but I can pray you find that freedom in His love that erases all our sin and self-preoccupation.

Thanks for hearing this mama's heart,
feel free to share any great reads you've been into lately too!

Mel ;o)


  1. This sounds like a great book- it's on my list to read now! I love to hear of books people are reading and enjoying. Life is too short to read bad books! Most of the good books I've been reading are novels; I don't know if you read novels? Praying for you as you enter into the l-o-n-g last months, and can't wait to meet Inglis Family Member #5!!

  2. Sounds like an interesting perspective, but not sure I totally agree. After all, we have 'free will'. A will that sometimes makes mistakes, is moody, has ideas, excitements, disasters. All part of being human. Even Jesus got angry and upset at times. God's grace gives us strength (we hope) through all of this human-ness. If frustration or anger or upset take over, (because none of us is a perfect 'whatever' - artist, mama, friend, worker, partner), for me, it all comes down to remembering what is of utmost importance. Act fairly, show kindness, walk humbly with God.

  3. Thanks for your input Annie, maybe I wasn't clear in articulating that what the problem is - is when we take those 'valid' angers or frustrations and turn them into a self-preoccupied focus... Yes, one can be angry/upset - but that should push us to prayer and not to festering in a pity party, for example. Does that make sense? It's the goal of keeping my heart/mind fixed on God's grace - and not turning inward with pride or pity...
    Hugs to you friend. xx

  4. True enough - I used to actually avoid reading for fears of 'wasting time' on a dud... how silly of me - been missing out on a lot of good reading in the past, making up for it now! Novels are great too... it's been a while since I found a real treat like that one "Freckles" I mentioned last year. Thanks for the prayers, hugs to your crew!

  5. 'YES' to moving to prayer in all of life's aspects! I so get that. But it is some of the author's wording I have difficulty with, primarily the 'it's not about us' part. I think we are, well, human, and social. The way we relate to people, and the positive or negative reactions in ourselves, even the 'pity parties' are part of who we are. If that self-pity makes us stop and think and turn to God in prayer, then even the weak parts of who we are, serve the purpose of reminding us to turn to God. Not saying one can't seek to be a better person, just that I feel that LOTS of this IS about us, about us and our relationship with God through prayer and with others through our human-ness. The author's statement, "Because ultimately it's not about us", feels like a copout to me, giving up on our responsibility to grow in God's love and strive to move toward God THROUGH the best and worst of who we are... (not trying to be difficult, just presenting another view - hugs back xo)


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