It had been a really hard day for me as a mom. Endless frustrations led to tears streaming down my cheeks and those tears led me to the end of myself, which is exactly where I needed to be. If you found your way here from inCourage where I wrote a post for the mom who feels like quitting, I am SO glad you’re here!!
That afternoon, while my boys were napping, I sat down to do some work and came across a story about Andrew Carnegie that ended up changing my perspective as a mom, and as a child of God.
Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America in the early 1900s, so wealthy he employed over 42 millionaires (which was unheard of). When asked how he developed these men to become so valuable he would pay them that much money, Carnegie explained that “men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt — one goes in looking for gold.”
Buried in the dirt of motherhood, discouraged and feeling like a failure, I was so disappointed in myself and sure God felt the same way about me. I wished I had a gold-miner in my life who could see beyond my mistakes and find the gold in me.
I decided to pull out my journal. “Filling blank pages with scribbled thoughts, I wrote:
I hate who I have become. I’m such a horrible mom. Why didn’t someone tell me how hard this was going to be? I’m frustrated with my kids and myself. I have no patience and I don’t know what I am doing! I feel guilty all the time. I couldn’t wait to be a mom and now I want to quit.
That’s when God whispered to my heart, “Renee, I am that gold-miner. You are the one who is so critical of yourself. You are the one who focuses on your faults. But I see the gold of My image in your heart, and I want to bring it to the surface so your kids can see Me in you.”
As I sat there trying to process what God was whispering to my heart, stories from the Bible flooded my thoughts, helping me believe God really did see beyond who I was to who I could become.
That day God used this story to give me a new perspective – of Himself and of myself, and He challenged me to look for ways to transfer that perspective to my children.
It’s easy to get buried in the dirt of discontentment, discouragement and our kids disobedience. You may even be thinking, Where’s the gold in it all? I wondered, too. But after reading Carnegie’s story and hearing God speak to my heart, I wondered if I could become a “gold-mining” mom.
As I thought about the gold I wanted to see in my children, character traits like patience, kindness, obedience, sharing and other “golden attitudes and actions” came to mind. I decided to write them down and looked up Bible verses to go with each trait, hoping our family could learn them together. I ended up making a poster-board chart, character trait cards and even gold nuggets to give the boys when I noticed each trait in them.
It took time for me to embrace grace-based parenting and let God’s perspective sink in. But I was so excited about having a spiritual focus as a mom, I started getting creative about finding time in the midst of my busy days to get into His Word and get His word into me. And as I did, He used His thoughts to re-shape mine.
Those little boys of mine are 21 and 24 now, and we also have a daughter we adopted who is now 10 years old (so we are life-timer parents). I look back now and I’m so thankful for the ways God’s Word became a part of our everyday lives as He taught me to take my eyes off of my children’s habits and focus on their hearts.
Not only did it change my kids’ attitudes and actions; it changed me and eventually the change in me changed our home and family life. I will be forever grateful for the day I almost quit, the day God gave me a new start and new sense of confidence and purpose as a mom!
There is so much more I want to share, to encourage you as a mom (no matter what ages your kids are)! So, I’ve decided to kick-off a FREE online “Confident Mom” mentoring series this summer, and I’d love to have you join me. I’ll share more details in a follow-up email next week. For now, all you need to do is
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Lord, thank You for seeing beyond who I am to who I can become. Help me believe that, receive that and give it to my kids, my husband and my friends. Help me look at their hearts and encourage the glimpses of You that I see in them.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Portions of today’s post are from my book, A Confident Heart.
Copyright 2011. Baker Publishing Group. All rights reserved.