I remember when we first got the diagnosis three years ago. The school my fourth-grade son attended said he wasn’t trying hard enough. Suspecting dyslexia, I took him to a testing facility that specialized in diagnosing learning disabilities. Many hours of testing and $1,400 later, we had a diagnosis I wasn’t prepared for. No, he didn’t have dyslexia. Instead, we found he had dysgraphia, ADHD, and dyscalculia. A few months later, we also discovered he had high-functioning autism.
I can’t tell you how many times since then I’ve sat in the closet and prayed, cried, journaled. Why didn’t I see it before? I would have gotten him help then. Why didn’t my friends say anything sooner when, after hearing the news, some responded with, “Oh yeah, that makes sense. We suspected that.” I’ve wracked my brain going back in time to when I should have noticed, when I should have suspected, but nothing stands out.
We’ve switched schools three times since getting that initial diagnosis, finally finding one that seems to be a good environment for him to learn in. We’ve sought out counselors and therapy and sensory tools. Some days are harder than others, and those are the days when I feel like I’m not momming well. Days when I’ve spent all of my energy on one child, giving only leftover time and energy — if anything — to the other. Days when I’ve gotten a phone call or email or meeting request from the school. Days when we’re eating chicken nuggets for the third day in a row because making up time from a doctor’s appointment earlier in the week meant I didn’t get off work in time to make real food. Days when I don’t understand how autism can make the same child who is a Christian and the first to speak up in Sunday School come out of church to tell me that he doesn’t think God cares about him and doesn’t see the point in going to church.
Those days are the hardest, the ones where I choke back tears. Those are the days when I fall into bed at midnight, tears clouding my vision, asking God, “What am I doing wrong? I can’t do this. Clearly, I’m not momming well. I stink at being a mom. I don’t even know what they need. How do I give them both what they need when there isn’t enough me to go around?”
But those are the days when God swoops down and fills me with courage to keep going.
When I hear myself say, “I can’t do it. I don’t know what they need,” those are the days the Holy Spirit whispers into my heart, “You are what they need. You are the exact parent that they each need. You were hand-picked for this role.”
When I hear myself say, “I can’t keep going,” those are the days when the Holy Spirit sends a verse or someone to check on me or a text from a friend that says, My day was rough, and I tell them, Mine was too. But chin up, sister, we’ll both be fine tomorrow.
When my heart is heavy because my son is struggling with his faith, the Lord reminds me that He loves him even more than I do. He shows me my sweet daughter and how she is growing in her faith, and He reminds me to keep sowing seeds even if they’re falling on rocky soil because it’s never a lost cause, even if I feel defeated.
And I do feel defeated, but it is there that my Savior meets me — just like when Sarai’s handmaid Hagar was running away in the wilderness. The Lord met her when she was at her worst. Genesis 21:14b-18 (NIV) says,
She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.
Hagar had no idea where to turn or what to do when He met her. And although my circumstances are not the same, there are times when I feel a bit like Hagar, unsure of what to do next.
I do, however, know where to turn.
When we are not momming well, when we feel defeated and broken, that is exactly when the Lord wants to share our burden. Our courage to be the best moms we can be comes from Him. He gives us strength to start over the next day, to encourage others sojourning with us, and to recognize the moments when we shouldn’t give up because He’s at work.
If you are struggling in mothering, take it to Jesus. He is right there, waiting to take hold of your hand in the wilderness.
If you are struggling in mothering, take it to Jesus. He is right there. -Karen Sipps: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Hi, Karen! Thanks so much for this frank discussion.
As mums, I think we have a tendency to draw a line between our kids’ problems/challenges and our own weaknesses, taking blame and feeling inadequate. Maybe we’re drawing the wrong line. I’m learning to re-draw the line between my kids needs and my strengths. If God has hand picked this little flock for me to shepherd, he must have put us together for a reason.
I’m grateful for your words here this morning!
Amazing words here and just what I needed to hear right now. Mom Ming is definitely hard and we all know what I mean when I say there are some days….that push our buttons, that make us question what are we doing wrong or what should we do…or why?…how and the list keeps going! But then you get those pieces of magic, a smile a hug a laugh and well it makes it all worth it! I’m going to Jesus right now…All I can say is keep going beautiful mama xx
even when they are grown
I needed this today. Thank you so much!
Oh Karen….. I feel your pain! I have an 18 yr old son with Asperger’s (who struggles with faith too) and a 15 yr old son with ADHD and all that comes with it. I often wish I could go back and tell my tear-stained face with 2 little boys that eventually, they DO grow up. Differently, yes. But there’s a blossoming at some point, where just like other kids, they come into their own (I have to remind myself of that daily sometimes as the 15 yr old is not quite there yet, and I have a feeling it’s a long way off for him). Obviously, there’s a whole spectrum which can mean different things for different people….. but I’d like to tell YOU today that yes, chin up – they WILL grow up, you WILL keep going with God’s grace, and they WILL blossom into their unique selves, just how God intended them to be!!!
With much love….
Becky Keife says
Karen, yes, our Savior meets us in our defeat. Our courage comes from Him. Yes and amen. I don’t know a mom who hasn’t felt the things you’ve described. I’m so sorry for your suffering, for how your son is suffering too. But God did not make a mistake you making you his mom. You were made for this. Keep on keepin’ on. So grateful God goes with us! xx
Amy Harper says
I needed this today. I have a twelve year old boy who has ADHD, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and has a mood disorder close to bipolar. He questions his faith sometimes too. My almost ten year old daughter just got diagnosed with ADHD and has a lot of anxiety also. I am afraid my youngest will eventually be diagnosed with ADHD. It is really hard right now and I often question if I am supposed to really be their mother even though it was a total God experience in how they came to me through adoption. I know God will get us all through our trials. I thank you so much for sharing. Mothering is so hard. God bless you.
Amy be brave mothering IS TOUGH both of my daughters are grown off making bad choices sometimes all we can do is pray. In the end GOD IS IN CONTROL HAPPY MOM DAY
Lynn G says
Beautifully said, heartfelt, and very encouraging. We all have those days that we feel like we are completely ineffective and wonder why in the world we were chosen to fill the roll of mother. Then, as our children grow and mature we find out that we really were what we were supposed to be, we grew in the ways we were meant to and so did our children. Just in the last little while my 19 year old has amazed me with miraculous examples of his maturing, despite all the obstacles he has had to overcome with Asperger’s, ADHD and ODD diagnoses. I’ve watched him prove a newfound ability to process all kinds of information he struggled greatly with before. And the kind of confidence that goes with being a success is becoming visible, rather than the constant cloud of thinking he was a failure. God was there pushing us both forward into the purposes He has for us, no matter how far away we thought He was. He never left. He did the work in us. Hang in there, He’s got big plans for you both! Don’t let the devil tell you otherwise, cause he will do everything in his power to destroy what God builds.
Beth Williams says
Praying for you as you mother you child. Mothering children in this day & age is hard enough without the trials you have to face. Praying also for your son. May God meet you both in your weakness & help, guide you both. Everyone has days they feel like a failure. I have trials with aging parents & didn’t know what to do next. Like you said-God in His infinite wisdom meets us in our weakness & guides us on the journey. Praying for better days & strength to carry & walk this journey God has put you on. Tell your children they are not mistakes & also remind yourself God had a plan when He put these little ones in your care. He knew you could handle it. Even if only in the strength of God! Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”. God will send the needed strength. We just have to ask!