A Note from Chris Adams: How do we help the mom who feels like a failure? I grew up thinking that being a wife and a mom was a no-brainer, and I could do it effortlessly. Then my husband and I (after experiencing several years of infertility) had the joy of adopting a set of twin girls. Everything I knew about being a mom fell by the wayside as I began to feel like a complete failure at the one thing I believed I was born to do. How I needed help to know how to navigate this stage of life!
Read today’s post by Dr. Deb Douglas, the Minister to Women, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA, to discover practical help for walking alongside moms struggling with feelings of imperfection.
There are many reasons why moms feel as if they’ve failed, but we can help by encouraging them to study how one young mother in Scripture—Mary, the mother of Jesus—raised her children. Remember, Mary lost Jesus at the temple and didn’t realize it for 3 days. That’s pretty imperfect! However, her Son is perfect, and we can learn a lot from how Mary raised Him—even in her imperfections.
Here are some points to remember as you help moms struggling with feelings of imperfection:
- Mary wasn’t perfect. It’s easy for us to think that, but she was not. How do we know this to be true? We have biblical evidence that Jesus was the only perfect person. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God—even Mary.
- Mary accepted Jesus for Who He Is—the Son of God and her personal Savior.
- Mary pondered. According to Luke 2:19, she took time to think things through and process the events. I picture her pondering and praying in her small, one-room house while Jesus fell asleep.
- Mary took her kids to church, even when it was not convenient. She traveled for 3 days to take Jesus to the temple as was the Jewish custom of the day (Luke 2:42).
- Mary raised well-rounded children. In Luke 2:40, we see Jesus grew physically strong, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was upon Him.
- Mary understood Jesus’ power and position. At the wedding feast, she knew Jesus could turn water into wine. She trusted His ability and His heart, and she knew He was compassionate.
- Mary followed Jesus…wherever. Even during difficult times, we see Mary there. Even at the cross, Mary was willing to risk it all to follow Jesus. (See John 19:25.)
- Mary’s family had issues. Her family was poor, but more than that, the family faced accusations about Mary’s honor because of her pregnancy. Later, her other sons did not accept Jesus as Savior. Their unbelief caused tension within the family. Imagine what the household would be like. Imagine the jealousy. But more than that, imagine how it hurt Mary’s heart to see her children not accepting salvation. How she must have prayed! And how she must have rejoiced when James and the other siblings accepted Christ.
- Mary sought help. She went to Elizabeth as soon as she became pregnant for encouragement and guidance (Luke 1:39-56).
- Mary experienced heartbreak. She was a widow before Jesus began His ministry, meaning she was still young. (Most theologians think she was around 15-16 years old when she had Jesus. That made her around 45 when Jesus began His ministry and 48 when He was crucified.)
- Mary served. As she followed Jesus, she was there to serve others. As she and the other women followed, they ministered to the women and children, as well as Jesus and the disciples.
So, based on the way Mary lived her life, here are a few things to remind and encourage mothers as you gather together in small groups, or as you talk with them one on one:
- Follow Christ wherever.
- Accept that you are not perfect, but that’s OK.
- Ponder often.
- Seek help and godly counsel.
- Keep your children’s spiritual concerns as a priority.
- When facing hardships, follow Mary’s example and turn to God for solace.
- Serve the Lord.
Feeling like a failure distracts from our primary goal. Helping moms stay focused on leading our children to Christ will help prioritize the many tasks of mothering. We may not be perfect, but when we are following Christ, we can trust Him with our children.
Dr. Deb Douglas is the minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is also a freelance writer and contributed to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised & Expanded. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts of Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and Jacob, and grandmother to Caroline and Lincoln.