Being Mummy

My kids still all call me ‘mummy’. The girls will also call me the slightly more grown-up ‘mum’, but for Prince, with his need for things to stay the same, it’s ‘mummy’ even at 16. I love being ‘mummy’ although there have been a few times when I have muttered something along the lines of ‘I’m going to change my name’, especially when there are several voices clamouring all at once. This is even more apparent when we have Grandma with us, too, because with her dementia comes a lessened awareness of those around her (at least, I think that’s what it is). I might have children asking me for help, or advice, or permission, and Grandma happily chimes in with her own observations or question, with seemingly no idea that the kids are bombarding me too! Still, I have to say, I have one of the nicest mother-in-laws on the planet. And three lovely, lively children. We’re far from the perfect family but, by grace, we’re ok. There’s a lot of love in our higgledy-piggledy house. More than enough, because our God is a God of abundance.

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from idpinthat.com

I made peace with feeling inadequate because the truth is I was. I still am; we all are… Look at Mary, the mother of Christ… [she was very young] when she became a mother. I’m sure she was no more ready than I was to answer a high-pitched voice when asked all sorts of questions to which she didn’t know the answers. But God had called her to parent, and so she did. 

When I thought about Mary, I decided not to strive to be a perfect mother, but to simply endeavour to be like she was: completely unprepared, but ready to take the child God handed to her…

Mary was a mother. I am a mother…

God has a way of using inadequate people… We simply trust Him, and then we have everything we need to do the ‘more’ that He has asked of us.

~ from Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20,21 (NRSVA)

You’re Little for a Little While

 

The end of the summer term brings numerous school traditions. This morning was, once again, Prize Day at Chip’s primary school, and I was invited once more to the ceremony. As they read out the title of the award, followed by the names of the children, I reflected on whether my little Chip would be likely to win any particular one. I didn’t think she’d win ‘Exemplary Behaviour’ like her sister the year before. She’s a little too – er – bouncy for that, by which I mean she occasionally forgets to be considerate in her eagerness. I joked with her beforehand that she ought to win ‘Most Like Tigger’. She just grinned.

The teacher continued to announce the various awards and when it came to ‘Most Improved in Confidence’ I nearly snorted. Chip was definitely not going to be eligible for that one. Any more confidence and she’d be dangerous. Like I say, our very own little Tigger. So which award do you think she won? You might have an inkling. It was ‘Most Enthusiastic Learner’. Bless her, the teacher said that she approaches everything, even the subjects she doesn’t like so much, with enthusiasm and endless curiosity. I was proud.

Next week I’ve been invited to Fluff’s school where she also has won a prize. It’s good to know, as a parent, that you must be doing something right if your offspring continually achieve well. It’s good to know that, despite all the horribleness and ugliness and darkness that we’ve been through as a family, we’ve not only come through, but come through strong. Even this past year, while it has been the best year of my life so far (hallelujah!), has not been easy. EMDR was nothing if not gruelling and it had an impact on the whole family, not just me. My biggest lesson from EMDR, perhaps surprisingly, has been to learn that being a good mother is good enough. I don’t have to be the perfect parent to somehow make up for the past.

So I shall spend this lovely summer’s day enjoying being a Very Proud Mother, and giving thanks to the God of all things good.

The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.

Matt 18:4,5 (GNT)

Being a Good Mother

One of my biggest ‘issues’ which I have been addressing through EMDR is the sometimes crippling anxiety over being ‘a good mother’. There are many things that have led to this fear of being a bad mother, which I won’t go into now. I imagine that for those who have been abused, or have come from a dysfunctional family, the guilt and worry about not passing on the dysfunction can grow to huge proportions, and may end up having the opposite effect of the one we so desperately desire.

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Christ in the House of Mary and Martha by Johannes Vermeer

‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things…

Luke 10:41, 42 (WEB)

Listening this morning to Luke chapter 10, I heard Jesus’ words to Martha in a new light. Martha was not married, and wasn’t looking after children, nevertheless it is often the female way to want to get the nurturing right, and this is what Martha was trying to do. She knew how important Jesus was, but she was trying too hard. Her words to her guest speak of frustration, of worry that she’s not good enough, or that what she has to give isn’t good enough. She even blames her sister for her own worries (in what might nowadays be called passive-aggressive behaviour).

Jesus sees past the blame of my sister’s not good enough and past the worry of I’ll never be good enough and instead gives Martha words that have been repeated through the centuries:

‘…Martha received [Jesus] into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me.”

Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 (WEB)

Do you have Martha moments? I do. Thanks to EMDR God has allowed me some perspective on where any blame really lies. He has also given me forgiveness and love instead of the harsh criticism of my own head. Jesus’ words to Martha tell us that blame has no place in His Kingdom. All that is required is to focus on Him. As He said elsewhere:

“…seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness…” Matthew 6:33

This is grace.