You've probably seen her, perhaps in the supermarket or the park: she has a baby in one arm and is trying to herd the other children in the right direction. Of course, the toddler is having a meltdown over something trivial: there's a hair on his finger or the zip on his jacket came undone. It seems like someone is always crying. Sometimes everyone is crying, even mum!
Inside a mother's mind
In the world of the mother with young children, there is constant scrutiny and evaluation and I'm not talking about from other people. A mother's harshest critic is usually herself. After all, raising children is a huge responsibility so we'd better not mess it up!
For me, just in general I am constantly assessing sleep routines, discipline techniques, what my children eat and when, whether or not I am balancing outside play with inside play with screen time. Then there is the all important question of "should I really believe my toddler when she says she doesn't need to go to the toilet?" The mental load of juggling all these components of child-rearing is enormous.
On top of these concerns are deeper and more important issues that come about because of my Christian faith. Am I disciplining my children in a way that honours God? How do I teach them Biblical morals? It is easy to worry that I am lacking in giving my children spiritual guidance in the whirlwind of nappy changes and bedtime routines.
I know the importance of leading through example. Yet being a shining spiritual example to my children seems far-fetched when personal Bible reading time is constantly interrupted or when I have to choose between prayer and sleep (sleep wins every time).
Things can look bleak from the perspective of a weary, guilt-ridden mother. All we want is a moment of rest and little bit of quiet time. Well, let me tell you that God's Word has good news for the mum of young children – and it speaks directly to my heart.
Isaiah chapter 40, verse 11 reveals a part of God's character that relates directly to how He deals with the worn out mother:
"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young."
Let these words sink into your soul. The Good Shepherd looks after his flock, taking special care of those that are weary and need help.
God is not harsh or critical of me, a Christian mum who is seeking to please Him. Even as I struggle to stay awake through church, thanks to being up half the night with my little one, my Father, the Good Shepherd, gathers me in His arms. He holds me close and gently leads me. No, God isn't harsh. He is gentle. What a relief!
I remind myself of this verse when I am tempted to let guilt or exhaustion wear me down. Let me say to all mums at a similar life stage: rest in this beautiful truth when lies creep into your thoughts. Remember His gentleness when you are being tough on yourself. Rejoice in the Good Shepherd who knows your weakness and holds you close to His heart.
Courtesy of Press Service International