Beth Moore Bible studies are always life-changing for me. Somehow the way she leads us through Bible passages and then asks heart-provoking questions leads me to truth. In my Entrusted study of 2 Timothy, we looked at how Paul served God with a clear conscience and how Jesus’ sacrifice for us enables us to have a clear conscience, too. And then Beth asked if there was an area where we had a guilty conscience.
I do. It’s a heavy burden that I have carried around for nineteen years, from the day when I refused to nurse my newborn son because I had postpartum depression. The staggering load that has weighed me down is mommy guilt.
Yes, mommy guilt.
I am constantly reminded of the many times that I lost my temper with my children. I see the slammed doors and I hear the raised voices. I see my daughter’s tears and my son’s misty eyes. I see where I was controlling and unreasonable. I see my selfish and fearful choices and even the times I was suicidal. I see how my actions have affected the peace of our home.
If you are a mother, you are acquainted with mommy guilt, too. I’m sure you know it as intimately as I do. You know the regret of angry words, of parties and soccer games you missed, and of situations that you did not handle well at all. You see in your children the insecurity and fear and guilt that your actions put there. You feel the distance and strained relationship caused by times when you should have kept your mouth shut but didn’t.
Our mommy guilt harasses us in the same way that a creditor harasses us to pay our bills. Mommy guilt is always shouting, “You are such a failure. You are always messing things up. Your friends are amazing mothers. You suck.” That guilty conscience tells us that we are ruining our children, that they will need therapy, and once they leave the house, they will never want to come back. I know because I’ve heard all of these things.
Mommy guilt is always reminding us of our mistakes, our inadequacies, and our failures. The voice of our successes can’t be heard above the constant din of mommy guilt.
“A guilty conscience can’t keep its mouth shut. It constantly recounts your regrets and reminds you of what you deserve…Until the matter gets settled at the foot of the cross…the joy of every victory in Christ will be hijacked in record time by a baffling self-disdain.”
I’ve always known that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin, but I’ve never known what to do with my mistakes, my inadequacies, and my failures. When Jesus died on the cross, did He pay for the areas where we fail as mothers? Can we receive forgiveness for our numerous inadequacies as mommies?
I believe that Jesus’ sacrifice paid for our angry words and backhanded blows. I believe it paid for our selfish choices and our fearful reactions. I believe Jesus’ blood covers all of the areas where we fall short as mothers. You may be saying, “But you don’t know what I’ve done.” I don’t, but Jesus does, and He paid for that, too.
On the cross, Jesus took our many mommy mistakes, our glaring imperfections, and our colossal failures.
His sacrifice has paid for all of these things, and more, so we don’t have to carry the burden of mommy guilt anymore. In fact, we don’t have to listen to the constant insults that the devil, “Mr. Mommy Guilt” himself, hurls our way. We can answer, “Jesus paid for that mommy mistake on the cross. I’m forgiven.”
Say it with me: “Jesus paid for that mommy mistake on the cross. I’m forgiven.”
Today, I’m trading in the heavy burden of my mommy guilt for the forgiveness that Jesus offers. Will you join me?