Yesterday, I had a meltdown. My children and I were getting ready to leave for school and work, and we headed downstairs so they could eat breakfast. Well, on this morning, my children did not want to wait for their waffles to cook. As soon as I put the frozen waffles in the oven, my son and daughter started crying hysterically. I reached my tolerance level and out of frustration handed them a frozen waffle so they could see for themselves that the waffles were not edible unless they were cooked. That didn’t work, and nothing I said assured them that breakfast was coming. That’s when I went into panicked and frustrated mommy mode. “LORD, HELP ME!” I cried out on the verge of tears. I felt like a mommy failure.
If you’re a parent, especially a single parent, these moments can be frequent. Parenting is no joke, and it’s not for the faint of heart. My desire is to be a good mother. I want my children to praise me and “rise up and call me blessed” when they’re adults (Proverbs 31:28). I want them to recognize the sacrifices I made and the things I endured so they could have a good life. It’s very important to me to do a great job mothering them. I have very high expectations of myself. However, I hear the Lord telling me that my standards are not His standards (Isaiah 55:8-9). In other words, I’m harder on myself than what the Lord is requiring of me. I’m putting too much on myself.
I’ve said this before, but I have a “Type A” personality. I like to work. I like to produce. I like to feel a sense of accomplishment. I like results. These characteristics don’t always work well in parenthood. You may not see the results of your efforts for many years. When I feel like I’m not producing or making any strides in motherhood, I feel down. I feel defeated sometimes. My son’s autism diagnosis doesn’t help either because his development is progressive. His frustrations and seemingly random emotional breakdowns require great patience. He needs tolerance. Mothering a child with autism takes courage, faith and trust in God.
That’s why when I was sitting in a meeting at work and the Lord kept drawing my attention to this statement on the agenda, “What does the Lord require?” I paid attention. What does the Lord require of me as a mother? Do the expectations I have for myself match His requirements, and if not, maybe that’s why I feel so frustrated.
What does the Lord require of us as parents?
If you’ve spent any amount of time in church, you’re familiar with Micah 6:8.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV).
As believers, we use this scripture often when comes to talking about what God requires of us as Christians, the Church or Body of Christ or when it comes to social justice issues. However, have we really inquired of God about what it means to our everyday lives? Have we even asked the question in all the areas of our lives?
What does the Lord require of me as a wife or a husband?
What does the Lord require of me as a sister or brother?
What does the Lord require of me as an employee?
What does the Lord require of me as a mother or father?
I know I have hit many figurative brick walls in my life because I did not inquire of the Lord what He required of me in a particular relationship, on a certain job or in a certain role or responsibility.
If we just inquired of the Lord, many of us wouldn’t be carrying such a heavy yoke because as Jesus says in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV). My burden has been feeling really heavy lately because I’ve been relying too much on myself, and I’ve felt like I haven’t met MY expectations of motherhood. The Lord is reeling me back in and helping me set things in their proper perspective.
Do you feel like you’re not measuring up in whatever role, responsibility or position you’re in? Are you frustrated? Maybe your requirements and expectations do not line up with what God requires of you? Take some time today to seek the Lord and allow Him to restore your faith and strengthen your heart.
Here is a great scripture to meditate on for the rest of the week if you’re a stressed out mom or dad.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).
Leave the producing to Jesus!