Some days my heart just can’t handle reading another article telling me about the 3 Ways to a Better Morning and the 10 Ways to Discipline and the 15 Ways to Declutter and the 20 Ways to Rock Your Child’s Bedtime Routine and the 225 Ways to Sneak Vegetables Into Your Child’s Food.

This is very strange because I write similar titles on my own blog! I also click on these posts regularly because so many are helpful and I want to be a good mom with all of my heart.

But is a good mom defined by how well she can get her family out the door in the mornings? Is a good mom defined by how well she can organize her home? Is a good mom defined by how fast she can potty train or efficiently handle a toddler meltdown in the grocery store produce section?

Pinterest likes to make me think so!

But then there are days where everything goes wrong and none of my tricks and tips have worked.  When dinner is straight out of a box for the third night in a row, the baby has been up all night crying, big brother and sister have been arguing all day long, and the house looks like a tornado blew through.

In my exhaustion and weakness, my mind wanders to ‘If Only’ thinking. If Only I had it more together like the bloggers sharing their how-to’s! If Only I had tried harder to be more consistent with the baby’s schedule—then she would be sleeping better!  If Only I was more patient and had super creative conflict resolutions on the spot to tenderly shepherd my kids at all hours of the day —then they would not be fighting so much! If Only I had pureed ALL THE SPINACH and hidden it in the meatballs—then my kids would be healthy!

This kind of thinking only produces guilt. Which makes me feel like I have an elephant on my back.  Who is playing a piano. While also juggling three minivans full of sugar ants.

Isn’t that just where the enemy wants us? Despairing, anxious, and ineffective.

Because it is paralyzing to think that we are the ones in charge of A+B equaling C.

In the Bible, there was a group of men known as the Pharisees.  They were quite good at following all the rules according to God’s written law and they preached a message that sounded a lot like a step-by-step program for success.  If you obey all the rules, then God will be pleased with you and bless you—which is a similar message I sometimes adopt while scrolling through social media.

But we cannot achieve this kind of perfection! No matter how many articles we read, there will always be another telling us something new that we haven’t done yet and we ‘should’ be doing in order to get it right.

Dear mamas, you have been RESCUED from the RULES by a REDEEMER.

Jesus came so that I might know the sweet freedom of not being under the law, but under grace.  His perfect life and death and resurrection has power to remove my If Only thinking and replace it with the glorious hope that He loves me and IS ON THE THRONE.

Doesn’t that remove the elephant?  Doesn’t that good word usher back the joy of motherhood God intended us to have?

So what do we do?  We run to Jesus!  Ask God to help us be aware of when we are carrying burdens in our mothering that add to the Gospel any notion that it’s up to me.  And then we take all the voices from the articles and posts and hold them with open hands before the One Voice that matters.

I promise His voice is gentle, kind, and does not come with condemnation.

We can be faithful, good stewards of the As and the Bs, but, ultimately, we get to trust Jesus to determine the C.

On the good days and bad, when we end every day at His feet, then we will have everything we need to be the best mothers ever.

Do tips and tricks work?  Yes!  Can we learn from the experts and the experience of others?  Absolutely!

But let’s make sure we are experts on loving and worshiping God first.

You’re amazing, Mom!  I am cheering you on from my sugar ant infested minivan! 🙂

– Julie, Happy Home Fairy