I know what it’s like to feel like a failure as a mother. Having a prodigal challenged every belief I had about God, man, myself, my husband, my educational and parenting philosophies. For too many years I felt like it was all my fault. If only I had done better, made fewer mistakes, been more attentive, prayed more, played more, laughed more or disciplined more then surely things would have turned out differently. Yeah?
Nowadays I am confident about one thing.
I was a good mum. I did my best. I am a good mum and I’m still doing my best.
I didn’t choose for my child to go AWOL. I didn’t want it or work toward it. It happened anyway. But it’s not my fault. I worked hard to be the best mumma I could be. I devoted my time and energy to developing relationships with my kids, to educating them, to meeting their emotional, physical, spiritual needs. I focused on reaching their heart. I applied myself to creating a warm, loving atmosphere in the home. And I loved my husband, the kids dad.
Every fibre of my being screamed and rebelled against what was happening. Shattered dreams, not only for the beloved prodigal child but also for the other children who were affected. Regardless of my prayer, my cries, my despair and my hope – it still happened.
Sure I made mistakes. Show me a parent who doesn’t. Only God is a perfect parent but He is the Ultimate Parent. Every single person since the dawn of creation is only a parent, only a reflection of the Ultimate Parent. Every single parent is also imperfect.
I’ve felt shame and despair. I’ve been lonely. I’ve listened to the voice that told me I was a total failure, that I should have done better, done more.
But that voice isn’t telling the truth. That voice lies. For I was a good mumma. I am a good mum. Even when one didn’t want to be mothered by me I was still a good mum. I fought for their heart in deed and in prayer. I grieve for the years we lost, the years I didn’t get to mother her. But I prayed and loved regardless. For His reasons, God gave these children, this particular child, to me (us) to raise and love and care for. He knew my heart and my desires. And no one could have mothered these children better than I did. It is not my fault. Oh what sweet relief to finally know this truth.
I love my children fiercely. I care for them, protect them, nurture them, encourage them and listen to them. I believe in them. More importantly I believe in a great God, an awesome God, who loves these babes even more than I do. Even though I’ve learned this truth through having a prodigal, I know it is applicable to many mothers, many parents who are in different situations yet have the same heart.
I did not fail. I am not a failure. It’s not my fault. God is in control still – always was and always will be.
God is good. All the time.
This is a post written from the heart. It is not a doctrinal or theological discourse on parenting. This is a truth that I know is truth for me, for my heart condition at this time. Feel free to chew on it but spit out any bones.