They say a picture says a thousand words, and this picture does not disappoint. This day, 9 years ago, I had taken the kids on the annual MOPS pumpkin patch trip. After a hayride and picking out pumpkins, we ate a picnic lunch and then I let them loose on the playground. Honestly, Fall has a way of making you feel like a Super Mom if you have a few picnics and take your kids on a hayride. Throw in some Fall decor and BOOM! Super Mom. Back to the playground with me feeling pretty Super. Garrett, my youngest, was toddling close by while Matilynn and Cole climbed up this pile of hay off to the side of the playground area. I came along and gave Matilynn a little boost to finish the climb. They were so stinking proud to be, what seemed to us, the only kids around that had the courage to climb this monster. I grabbed my camera and came to the front of the hay pile to snap a picture of this momentous and proud moment when there it was: PLEASE DONT CLIMB ON STRAW.

To some of you this is no big deal. You are not rule followers. I am. I gasped, certain I had just taught my children, publicly nonetheless, to disregard rules, and felt the heat of judgmental stares from every mom on the farm. A quick glance at my children’s faces and in the same second I knew they had broken no rules and neither had I, for we were ignorant of this sign that faced one way on a four sided haystack. I snapped the picture and had them climb down and come around to read the sign. We laughed and laughed and couldn’t wait to tell Dad later that night what we had done, knowing we had made a memory. Now, for someone who has never raised a small herd of young children and felt the extreme swings of thoughts and emotions that we women go through, this may sound a bit insane, but I assure you it is the norm. We are our toughest critic and can be desperate for approval.

Years have passed and many lessons have been learned and missed since the haystack, but what was true in that moment remains a core lesson in my mothering journey. As a mom of some pretty outgoing, strong willed, and sometimes head strong children (where do they get it from?), God has taught me to look into their faces and see their heart’s concerning matters. Learning to respond in kindness and love to my children has kept me on my knees in prayer, for it is all but natural to me. Instead anger, teeth sucking attitude, and snide remarks wait on the ready for a tense moment. In Romans 2:4, Paul asks us to realize that God’s kindness is intended to lead us into repentance. This kind of kindness is the kindness given in a taxing situation. A heavy hand of discipline, anger, and frustration are far easier reactions than showing kindness and love to our children who have done wrong or (gasp)  embarrassed us, yet we know from our experiences with God that kindness is needed.

If we’ve ever sat together and chatted about mothering, you will have heard me say mothering is embarrassing work. It is a vulnerable task assigned to us to be walked out in front of others. That day in the park, the judgmental stares I felt were my own assumptions and harshness towards myself. It seems the smallest of mess-ups confirms the voice saying “You’re not a good mom. You’re not enough.” These thoughts are lies that function as kryptonite and weaken what God has made indestructible.  Titus 3:4-5 reminds us, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy.” This mercy along with the fruit of the Spirit is the “enough” we need to be the mom we desire to be. Mothering is not a walk of perfection, but a perfecting walk with many lessons along the way. We must keep our hearts soft and ears attuned to the voice of the Lord as He speaks and moves on the playground, in our home, and elsewhere. I have it on authority when I tell you, sweet Momma, you are enough. You are hand-picked and equipped by The One who has everything you need, including all knowledge, patience, and mercy for kindness, no matter the season you are in with your children. Whether your children are yet to come, toddling around, teenagers, or grown, you are a Super Mom through the equipping of God and His over flowing and all-consuming love and kindness.

Addendum: I send this in to the office on the morning after leaving a child at church last night. Turning onto my street in Yorktown, Y-O-R-K-T-O-W-N, “NCC” showed up on my phone and I wondered what I had forgotten. As I answered and heard my child’s voice saying, “Mom… did you forget me?” it all came clear. I had not taken that child to church and the one I had taken went home with someone else. Compounded with giving another student a ride, it was a weird night, but the guilt and shame was ready to flood in. “You’re not a good mom. You are not enough.” Yet, I testify of God’s kindness. Had I realized what I had done before that call I would have panicked with crying and an all-out frenzy. Instead a sweet child told me they understood how it happened and that there was no hurt or offense. Pastor Steve met me at the door and after I confessed to being Mom of the Year he said “Hey, you came back! Don’t underestimate that!” So, I read the words I wrote yesterday reminding myself more than anything of the kindness, love, and forgiveness given to me.
Super Mom.



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