Destiny In Bloom

Grace to Silence The Voices In My Head

Grace to Silence The Voices In My Head

posted on July 23rd, 2010 / by Rebecca Gates / 18 Comments

After I had my second baby boy only 15 and a half months after his older brother, people used to say to me in their most sympathetic tone, “Don’t worry, just make it through the first year, and it gets easier.” The saddest part about that statement is that it was a big fat lie! It actually didn’t get easier until about five or six years later. Good thing I didn’t hold my breath–although at times I would have liked to hold it until I passed out and could get a little rest. Like the time I was neck deep in laundry when I heard my eldest boy calling me, “Mom! It’s an emergency!”

I slowly picked myself off the floor and followed the screams to the bathroom. It was there that every horror movie I had ever seen flashed quickly through my thoughts, and not one of them was as scary as what was unfolding before me. I could hear the theme song for Halloween playing in my mind, and it was as if Freddy Krueger himself was oozing over the toilet and all over my floor. I found myself standing in an inch deep of poop water, and all I wanted to do was scream for my Mom to come and save me. Holding my breath and hoping it all went away was not an option. I was the only mom who was available to save the day, so I did what I had to do and cleaned up the nastiest mess all by my big girl self.

I suppose that is the best way to describe what mothers do all over the world. We do what we have to do so that our children and our homes are safe. We sacrifice our own needs kind of instinctively to take care of our little ones who for years to come may never thank us or even notice how we have laid down our lives for them.

Those days weren’t so long ago for me: having two in diapers, potty training, having children who were completely reliant on me for every one of their needs. Those were the days where sleepless nights met spilled milk at breakfast and tantrums in public while the world watched and judged me for my incompetence. I could feel the burning in my back while I was trying to deal with my son’s bad behavior, and I knew what the other shoppers were all thinking. “That child just needs a good spanking,” or “Doesn’t that mother know how to keep her kids in line?” It sounded so familiar to me. Why did it sound so familiar?

Four years earlier I was standing in line behind a lady and her disobedient son. I rolled my eyes and shifted my body as he screamed again. The mother seemed to be ignoring the chaos that was ruining my shopping experience, so I decided to let out a little passive aggressive sigh to get her attention. It was all I could do to keep from tapping her shoulder and declaring, “Don’t you know how to keep your child in line!?”

This scenario of feeling judged continued to play out day after day at grocery stores, family gatherings, airplanes, and doctors’ offices with me and my kids. It is what the Bible warned me about if only I had listened. “Judge not lest you be judged.” Mathew 7:1. Now that I was a mother, every judgment I had ever made on other moms and their children was coming back to haunt me. I heard my very own words tormenting me in my head.

I have been a mom for nine years now. I spend most of my time with other moms and I see our world a little differently now that I actually know what I am talking about. Before I had kids I only THOUGHT I knew what I was talking about. I have learned that any perfect child, given the right set of circumstances will act out. And I have also learned that there is no such thing as a perfect child. No matter how hard I ride my boys, they will still at times embarrass me, which is fine because someday they will be teens, and I will get to reciprocate. If you take a happy child to run errands half the day, and then try to squeeze in one more errand at naptime, it is a sure disaster waiting to happen. Now when I see a young mom with a fussy toddler at the check out stand I smile to myself and think, “Poor mama thought she could squeeze in one more stop today.” I no longer assume that the child is always such a rascal, nor that his mama is a bad parent because maybe she wanted to get everything done today so that she didn’t have to leave the house the rest of the week.

Now that I am a mom and understand what we go through, I have grace for these public meltdowns in other families, and I have more grace for my children and myself. I am thankful that God has changed my heart of judgment and my perspective. Yet it saddens me to think of my boys’ early years and how as a young mom I was robbed of just enjoying them the way they were. They were toddlers and what a surprise! They acted just like toddlers! I was a new mom still learning (some things never change), making some mistakes, doing some things great. What joy I missed out on because I didn’t silence the voices … my voice in my head!

If you’re a mom in the thick of mothering little ones, I just want to say to you, “RELAX.” You’re doing a good job. Your children are just being children; it’s kind of their job. Maybe you have made some judgments that are haunting you. They are stealing your joy and causing you to strive instead of enjoy. Our job is hard enough without adding undue pressure to please perfect strangers with our children’s behavior. Save your energy for potty training and toilet bowl plunging. But when your little man is on an airplane and his ears are hurting and he’s crying, just comfort him and relax. Who cares what anyone else is thinking? The most important person on that plane to you is your sweet baby.

Even if you’re not a parent, the same principle applies. Judge not lest you be judged. If you can’t put yourself in someone else’s shoes then don’t try to pretend you have the answers to their problems and could do a better job then they can. Choose to believe the best about others and let grace cover what people cannot do on their own … achieve perfection.

When we learn to walk in grace towards others, it silences the voices in our head, and we experience God’s peace even when we fail.

What voices are in your head? Tune your ear unto grace.

Father, I repent for the judgments I have made on others. I ask you to teach me to listen to grace and to extend grace. I thank you that your love covers me. It is big enough to cover all of my mistakes in the past and even today’s mistakes. I know I can’t be perfect, but I receive your grace to cover those things in myself and my children that I can’t perfect, but you can do the work through your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Rebecca Gates

Rebecca Gates

18 Responses to “Grace to Silence The Voices In My Head”

  1. Rebecca- such a good word. It is so freeing to just accept God's grace and trust that it is sufficient to cover all of our shortcomings. PS- you're a GREAT mom!

  2. Passing this on to a mom who needs to hear she is doing a good job! :)

  3. R-I think you jumped inside my brain here on some of this! I told a frazzled momma at Target the other day to enjoy her newborns cry bc it doesn't last long. And there is nothing sweeter than that newborn cry! I have long advocated that there are no "bad Kids" and sleep and food can cure just about ANYTHING! This blog should be hanging off every flagpole, posted on the front door of every grocery store. You did great here my friend! -R

  4. I love when you write. I remember when there were two 15 months apart. We drank much water spiked with lemon slices, yes? How I love you, R. And so glad you can now write a great poignant article….with a funny tidbit I still can't believe you survived, which brought to mind moments I stood begging for my mom to save me from some awful grossness. All Mama's need to read this!

  5. LOL! I'm laughing at the image of you cleaning up that toilet.

    Rebecca, this is such a powerful message of grace. I pray for eyes to be open and for ears to hear and for lives to be changed.

  6. love it! I wish this would have been passed out at the hospital every time I had a baby! hee hee!

  7. Cleaning toilet messes, red juice on the carpet, paint on the walls: the joys of motherhood! While I was quite upset in the midst of these messes, I can now remember them and smile and sometimes laugh. That's grace, God's grace. I am constantly reminded of my own messes that God has cleaned up for me and I hope that He too can remember them with smiles and laughter. Great message, Rebecca! I am blessed to call you friend!

  8. Wow- this was so good! I've been the woman feeling eyes burning in to my back as my child tears the displays off the tables while I drag him screaming from Albertsons but before that I was the judge-er…
    *sigh* funny how that happens! Thanks for sharing the connection between the two!

  9. I really needed to hear this today. Thanks!

  10. Rebecca,
    Thank you for reminding us to have grace and relax, I hear my husband saying the exact same words the other night, You are not perfect because God wants u to be needing Him all day long. Nobody should judge you because you're doing a great job. Thank you for reminding us about grace, grace , and grace everyday……

  11. Such a simple message but a difficult one to follow. I too have been that person judging others on their children acting out in public only to be that mom in the limelight a few years later. I was standing in line yesterday with my daughter in my arms and she started hitting me in the face and laughing. Yeah, not a pretty sight! Thank you for always being so transparent. It inspires me!

  12. Wow – this was amazing and exactly what I needed to hear right now. I'm my own worst critic and there are so many times that I worry I am a "bad" mom when I can't control my two and three year old in public. Thank you so much for writing this – this was so encouraging to me to not only apply grace to my kids – but also to myself!

  13. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. My husband and I are believing God for children right now and I, just yesterday in fact, sat guilty of judging a young mom and her child. Seriously, what do I know?!?! But today, after reading your article, the Lord convicted my heart and I prayed the prayer of repentance and Im found innocent because of the blood of Jesus that covers me. The Lord gave me your article in His perfect timing and Im thankful for His grace. Thank you.

  14. Thank you Rebecca!!

  15. Very well written! Very relatable! This was a fun read and comforting hearing "my" experienced explained so well. Thanks! I have been in those shoes. Nowadays, I don't want to have anything to do with judging and everything to do with grace!

  16. Wow, I really enjoyed reading this and I TOTALLY relate! I had my own special toilet moment just this weekend! As a mom of a three year old and a 6 month old I really had a good chuckle while reading this. I have found myself repenting often for how critical I was of the houses of mothers with young kids. Now that I can hardly keep up with my house my judgements have definitely haunted me! But thanks for the word, I have repented, now I am going to move on and try to RELAX!! Thanks again:)

  17. Good times huh!? I remember when we didn't have kids how judgmental we were at the store or in restaurants. Ohhh how time has flew by and we have survived!! ha! ha! (and so have our children) Love ya honey!!

  18. Wow, great post, Rebecca! Thank you for sharing! I know I am guilty of passing judgement. This could be true for a lot of other people, in all different walks of life, to not judge someone else in their place in life.