Several years ago someone walked up to me and said “You used to look like a good mom…..until you had the twins”. This person proceeded to laugh as if it was the funniest thing ever said. We chatted a few minutes and then we parted ways. I was stunned. This person lives in Italy and has never been to Holland.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” I don’t know who had the bright idea of coming up with that saying, but it’s a lie. Words can cut, words can wound, and words can hurt someone so deeply that they never recover from it. These words hurt me deeply, and I began to wonder if they might be true. If the girls misbehaved in public I heard a voice in my head that said “You used to be a good mom….but now you’re not.”
The girls once both had a meltdown while we were in Kohls. I walked past the returns department with my two little ducklings following closely behind me. I decided to turn around and see if the people in line were staring. Yep…sure enough four complete strangers were staring at us. And I thought I knew what they were thinking. They were thinking that if I were a good mom, I would be able to control my children.
I started to hear the “you used to be a good mom” voice more frequently and it became louder and louder. I heard it at church, I heard it at Walmart, and I heard it at family gatherings. I was hearing it just about every time I went anywhere. The voice began to torment me. It made me not even want to leave our house.
I went through a time of having an emotional breakdown every Wednesday night while we were at church. I would drop the girls off at their class, the older girls would be in youth group, and I was alone where they couldn’t see me cry. So I would cry every single Wednesday night. I wondered why I couldn’t just have my cry at home in private where no one would see me. The answer was simple. God knew that I needed someone to hug me, to pray with me, and to love me. You know the saying “You can’t hide from God”. Well, I’ve also learned “You can’t hide from Mona”
Mona is a wonderful woman of God who I am privileged to attend church with. One Wednesday night I was sitting and having my usual cry while I was waiting for church to start. Mona was talking to someone a few rows in front of me and she glanced up and noticed I was upset. She did not know me, but she came up to me and she started praying for me. I felt a heavy burden lift from me as she prayed for me.
Then on another Wednesday night, the girls were misbehaving on the way to class and I was weary and frustrated. I sat through church not really hearing anything that was said. Towards the end of the service, the tears started flowing once again. Church dismissed and all I wanted to do was grab the girls and head straight to the van. As I was walking to their class, Mona spotted me. Yep….you can’t hide from Mona.
She began to pray for me. She had no idea what I was going through. As she was praying she said the words “God says you are a good mom.” I began crying uncontrollably. God wanted the “you’re not a good mom” lie to be broke off from my life. I was healed that night. Once the tears stopped I was a new person.
Yes, I used to be a mom who appeared to have it all together. But the truth is that I never really had it all together even when it appeared that I did. Appearances aren’t always reality. Unfortunately, we live in a world where appearance takes top priority. People see our faults and they like pointing them out to us. They seem to enjoy making us feel like we are less than we are. And I believe that God is looking down from heaven with a tear in His eye and He’s longing for His children to just love each other. He wants us to speak words of encouragement over each other instead of words that wound.
I also believe that God looks down from heaven and He smiles when His children choose to be the hands and feet of Jesus. He smiled at Mona when she stopped her world to enter my world. She accepted me in the middle of my mess and she loved me anyway. She chose to say you are rather than tell me what I used to be. She did all of these things because she knows Jesus. Jesus does all of these things. He always wants to enter our world. He accepts us in the middle of our mess. He loves us no matter what. He never reminds us of what we used to be. He only tells us who we are and what we can become.
I occasionally still hear the “you’re not a good mom” voice but I choose to not listen to it. I am all that God says I am. And He says that I am a good mom. He says you are a good mom. He says you are a good dad. His opinion is the only one that will ever matter.