Oct 23

After Awful Errands

2012 at 5:00 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Motherhood | Parenting Young Children

“Just wanted to say thanks for Janelle’s post yesterday,” wrote one mom:

“I just got home from an outrageously awful trip to run errands with my 5 and 3 year old. There was complaining, arguing, rude talk, mean faces (probably from me too, I didn’t have a mirror), a couple of “in your face” disobedience moments, a small melt-down, and a moment when I started praying for help because I literally thought my 3 year old had been taken at the post office, but no she was just hiding behind something because she didn’t want to come when I asked. On my way home I kept thinking, “what is wrong with me?” “Why am I failing at parenting?” We got home, I fixed everyone a snack, let the kids have a little TV time and sat down to read your blog. And that was when I read the post from yesterday for the first time. Thanks for being real and speaking DIRECTLY to my situation today!”

Oh my, can I relate! I can still vividly recall some of those “outrageously awful” errand runs when my girls were little! Those are days as a mother that you don’t easily forget.

As moms, we are quite familiar with the meaning of our Lord’s words in Matthew 6:34: “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Scripture tells it like it is. It doesn’t present some kind of happy-go-lucky picture of the Christian life. No, it says we will have trouble. And each day will have enough of it’s own. In other words, “outrageously awful” errand runs are to be expected.

There may be a massive dis-connect between my own expectations of motherhood and what happens in real life, but there is no disconnect between Scripture and reality. The harder life and motherhood gets the more we see how relevant Scripture is.

And because an “outrageously awful” errand trip is just about as much as we can handle for one day—not to mention that it may be on top of other, more significant, trials we are facing—Jesus warns us not to do something that me, this mom, and most all of us are prone to do at a time like this: worry about the future. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Mt. 6:34).

Here’s a rule to live by: Never evaluate your mothering after an “outrageously awful” errand run. Oh I broke this rule a thousand times when my kids were little. Just like this mom, I asked questions like “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why am I failing at parenting?”—questions that draw all kinds of conclusions but offer no answers.

But in these motherhood moments we need the realistic perspective of Scripture. These things will happen. They are to be expected. And they do not mean that I am a failure as a mother or that my children will never receive the gospel and follow Christ. They are simply what Scripture says: the daily allotment of trouble.

And so my first job is not to be anxious about tomorrow or predict my children’s future based on one day’s difficulty. Why? Because I know that my heavenly Father cares for me. If you too had an “outrageously awful” day of mothering today, read Matthew 6:25-34 and rejoice in the God of today and tomorrow.