I had a difficult childhood growing up. I didn’t have a mother I felt safe with emotionally. I didn’t grow up hearing words of approval and grace but criticism and guilt. Growing up as the oldest in a single-parent family meant that I grew up fast, taking care of myself and my younger sister.
But God used my life experiences to strengthen my faith in Him and draw me closer to His Word. Still, when it was my turn to become a mom, I didn’t have a role model in parenting the way God intended. Instead, my model for motherhood became an ideal: to be the mom I wished I had had. I cobbled together an image of a mom who would always comfort, help, support and give counsel, always be patient, and always be there.
I wanted to be a loving mother so passionately that I put my desires and emotional well-being last. I carried my childhood mindset into motherhood: if I just work hard enough at it and push through, everyone will be happy and all will be well. But I soon learned that motherhood wasn’t a job God wanted me to perform and trying to live up to an ideal made my life as a mom unsustainable.
I applied the same self-critical voice in my mothering as I had heard in my childhood, and although I was doing a good job, I felt weary. I didn’t experience joy and peace in my heart.
God looked at my practice of negative self-talk and began replacing it with compassion and whispers of love. He invited me to prioritize rest, to learn to receive His love, grace, understanding and compassion for myself first before I pour out to others.
Instead of criticizing and shaming us, God wants us to heal with rest. As I searched the Scriptures and started taking care of myself better, I found God’s whispers of love renewing my mothering. I hope they will do the same for you as well.
Let your soul relax into these three whispers of God’s love for you:
1. Be very gentle with yourself. God’s love is gentle.
Your right hand upholds me; And your gentleness makes me great.
Psalms 18:35 (NASB)
Don’t be hard on yourself. Take a breath and exhale into the loving arms of Jesus and let Him whisper over you, It’s okay. I’ve got you. I understand you. I will take care of you. See the gentle love in His eyes for you and know you are His beloved.
2. Give yourself grace. God’s love is unconditionally patient.
Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus,
will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you.
1 Peter 5:10 (HCSB)
Are you walking through something hard and feel the weight of your children’s journey? God whispers, Come, lean into Me. Let Me wrap you up in the warmth of My unlimited grace. You are doing so many amazing things that are hard and worth it, and you don’t have to do it all perfectly. He is not impatient as you learn, grow, and make mistakes. You are cherished by Jesus who is willing and eager to help you, love you, and delight in you.
3. Speak kindly to yourself. God cares about the words you say about yourself.
Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)
Do you tend to be critical of yourself? I do. We put on a magnifying glass to review the week or day, agonizing over what we could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve done. But God sees and celebrates every little thing you did, and He is proud of you. Let His kind words wash over you, and speak His words over yourself.