Mom guilt. It is a very real and powerful thing. You have a bad day and maybe lose your temper or something happens that you just can’t seem to stop beating yourself up over. I know that I’ve been eaten up with mom guilt quite a few times. Some days it’s because I just don’t have the patience I need that day with my toddler. Other days, I’m so miserable from being pregnant and wish I wasn’t pregnant that I’ll instantly feel guilty. Of course I’m absolutely thrilled to be pregnant with my sweet baby girl, but some days being a mom is just hard. And on those days when you feel so guilt-ridden, it’s easy to feel like you’re a horrible mother.
And it’s not just the mom things we do that make us feel guilty and like we’re a horrible person. It’s also the things that we may have done when we were young (and let’s be honest, not exactly as smart as we thought we were) or even how we may have acted towards another person. Satan uses our mess ups to tear us down and distract us from the purpose that God has called us to. Part of that purpose is to be the best mother possible to our sweet babies. Sure, we would love to be perfect moms, but the truth of the matter is, thanks to Adam and Eve, sin has entered the world so perfection is not possible.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-” Romans 5:12 NIV
That verse makes our situation seem a little hopeless, doesn’t it? If we’re doomed to feel guilty a lot because of our sin, what are we to do? The good news is that God has made a way to wash us clean of our past mistakes and give us a new slate. In Hebrews 10:22 (NIV), we are told to “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” We can rest assured that our guilty conscience has been washed clean because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. If we sincerely ask God to forgive us for what we’ve done, the good news is that He will. Paul is the perfect example of this.
Paul was once named Saul and a persecutor of Christians. He was on his way to Damascus in Acts 9 when he had an encounter with Jesus that led to his conversion. After this happened, all of Paul’s energy was focused on spreading the gospel. I don’t know about you, but if I had spent my life persecuting Christians and then realized how wrong I had been, I would be feeling pretty guilty about my past. It would be hard to get past that and see how God could use me for His glory. Paul though was able to see that God’s mercy had been poured over him and that he had been forgiven of everything he had done – as horrible as it was. He writes in his letter to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV):
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
He admits that his past is anything but spotless and knows that he has been given new life in Christ Jesus. He also tells us in Philippians that we cannot dwell on our past, but instead need to look ahead.
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heartbeats in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14
Guilt will try to consume you to bring you down and derail you from the path that God has laid before you. Instead of allowing our thoughts to focus on our shortcomings as a mother or in other areas of our life, we need to focus on who we are in Christ and the calling that has been placed on our hearts. No matter what you may have said to your kids in anger or bad decisions you’ve made, you mistakes do not define you. How you move forward and allow God to use you says a lot more about you.
What are some things that you need to let go of? Remember, we are washed clean of what we’ve done because of what Christ did for us on the cross. The chains of guilt will try to bind us tighter and tighter, but Christ is ready to set us free. We just have to let him.