Forgiveness for Moms Who Fail

March 7, 2012

Forgiveness for Moms Who Fail

In my twenty-five years of pastoral ministry, I don’t think I have met a mom, including a preschool mom, who feels like she has done a good enough job. Most mothers labor under the weight of guilt—of frustrated ideals, imperfect performance, and deficient production. The laundry remains undone; story books unread, and tempers flare. . . .

Distorted Guilt

The guilt you feel may be distorted guilt. We may wrongly place ourselves under a law we erect: “Good mothers should do X, Y, or Z,” even though X, Y, or Z may go beyond what God’s Word  commands. I think of my friend—a good mom by any fair standard—who believed that all good moms should take their kids to the library three times a week. Sometimes those false standards come from outside of us—the ideals of your church or small group, your mother’s model, your mother-in-law’s advice, or the latest book or blog from your favorite Christian counselor.

Sometimes they come from our own perfectionist hearts as we seek to establish and live out our own legalism and self-righteousness (Philippians 3:3-9).

True Guilt

On the other hand, your guilt may be true guilt. You and I certainly fall short of God’s standards every day. We fail to love the Lord our God with everything we’ve got and we fail to love our spouses and children the way we selfishly love ourselves. Whether you are mother of a pair of preschoolers or a dad (like me) with two grown children, the apostle John reminds us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us… If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:8, 10).

God’s Answer for Our Guilt: Christ

What is God’s answer for your guilt? Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection for all who repent, believe, and follow him. Sandwiched between John’s two convicting verses above is 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” For those who honestly own their sins, God grants free pardon and thorough cleansing.

While you may find it hard as preschool mom to even get time for a shower, let God’s personal promises of forgiveness spray over you today as you turn toward him in repentance and faith:

  • “Daughter, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).
  • “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11-12).
  • “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?… You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19).
  • “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
  • “In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back” (Isaiah 38:17).
  • “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).

Instead of endless drips of guilt, God bathes believers in Christ with forgiveness. His promises of daily grace cascade upon you like an invigorating waterfall. Especially on those days when you don’t feel good enough.

Join the Conversation

Whether you’re a pre-school Mom, an empty-nest Dad, a single parent, a single adult, or an older teen, how can you turn to Christ to be bathed in His forgiveness?

26 thoughts on “Forgiveness for Moms Who Fail

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  3. Great article. Now, please write one on living out the rest of your life, seeing the consequences of your sinful parenting on your grown child. A foolish son is, indeed, a grief to his mother, and I live with that grief daily.

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  5. Very timely sir! I am speaking to a group of Mothers of Preschoolers tomorrow morning. My topic deals with perfection and the idea of having an attitude of grace towards ourselves. Thank you for giving me some more ideas to add to our discussion!

  6. Thank you for this post! I am a mommy who struggles with guilt every night my head hits the pillow…I always fall short. But I am so glad that every night I am caught in God’s grace!

  7. Sholland – That living with grief would be assurance.  Oh how many tears have been shed by mothers of sons/daughters who are wayward and foolish.  I’ve seen it happen to the best mothers in this world, and sadly, the worst.  Our child’s spiritual temperament, knowledge and belief in Christ do not depend on mothers once the child is a grown adult.  It then depends on the person.  Your son has choice which frees you from guilt.  Your grief is there to spur on fervent prayer and tangle in the root-infested mire of sin and foolishness in search of hope.  Hope glimmers out of reach, but it is there as long as his veins rush with living blood.  Never lose hope; never stop praying.  It’s the most and the best you can do for him.

  8. I was having a difficult morning with my three oldest children yesterday and feeling totally overwhelmed.  Realising I needed a break (and so did they!) I sent them all to separate rooms.  I strapped the baby in a seat and brought him into the bathroom with me, and ran a bath. Then I just prayed, and prayed…asking God to forgive me for my short temper, my selfishness, preferring my comfort and peace over parenting my children…then asking for patience and wisdom.  I felt so much better after leaving my concerns with the Lord.

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  10. I do appreciate the input of books but there are so many and reading them or not reading them sent me feeling guilty.I am learning to apply the A- admit you cannot do it on your own P- pray  T- trust ( look for a specific verse principle for you problem ) A- act on it T- thanksgiving.
    God works wonders with imperfect people.

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  13. As an empty nester who until quite recently struggled with guilt over the short comings of single parenting, I had to decide within myself whether I was going to take God at His Word or not, believe God or not, trust God or not and go from there.  My first step?  Forgive as I wanted to be forgiven.  Forgive who?  ME!  Then?  Forget about it!  That’s what God does!  Understand that all the worrying in the world will not change what happened 2 seconds ago, an hour ago, this morning, last night, last week, last month, last year, 5-10-15-20-30…years ago.  You cannot change it and I was basically throwing the grace of God back in His face by not believing that His grace is sufficient.  Basically, what I’m learning is to stop looking at my image and look at His!
    Stay Blessed!

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  17. When a women give birth to the child many responsibilities also come along with it. To manage everything some times it get difficult to play all the roles. It has been seen that the single mothers face more problems then others.

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  19. would it be ok to feature this on my blog with your permission and credit given? amazing post! Thank you

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  22. hello all I am a single mom of five I am or have been having a hard time with life and just dealing with the day to day things I have no friends or family I am so ashamed I am trying so hard not to just end my life and maybe my kids will be better off I try to pray over and over but I really feel that God has left me or he is very tired of me I am trying to live my life right but its so hard I am alone so very alone no one cares I mean really cares for me or my 5 beautiful children sorry to be just a drain on all you good people I don’t mean to be I am so sorry god please help me and my children please

  23. Hi Sholland…my name is Vicki…I see this post was written 4 years ago. Are you still having trouble as stated above?

  24. When my daughter and son were 5 and 2, I lost their father to a massive heart attack. He was much older than me….I was 26 and he was 43. I had a good job, a little life insurance, and SSI for my kids from their father. I did the best I could but, unfortunately, I remarried someone that was way wrong for my situation. He was a disciplinarian…I was but not as harsh as he was. When he started trying to “do it his way” I stepped in and squashed his plans. The rest of my children’s lives were a catch-22. When we were together it was great but when “stepdad” was along it was utter chaos. I am still married to him but my son has a lot of anger over the way his stepdad tried to make him walk the chalkline. He doesn’t blame his stepdad but me! My son is now 36….an alcoholic like his dad was…a former Marine (demanding and loud)…married twice with one sweet little daughter who he mainly has custody of. To shorten the story…he was a mama’s boy for years but now he resents that I stayed with my husband while he was being a jerk to all of us. My son has no respect for me and often texts me calling me ignorant, stupid, dumb…plus expletives (just now got a text from him calling me a “psycho bitch”). My heart is heavy with the guilt I feel because I stayed with my husband through a lot of turmoil. I am sick of being the bad mother….my daughter sees me as a bad mother, too, but her complaints are different because she is a 3rd grade school teacher and adds psychology to the mix. We are all members of the church of Christ so I know what God wants me to do….surrender to Him. That’s a work in progress but, since we all live in the same town, I am reminded of it quite frequently….I shed a lot of tears. I want a good and Godly relationship with my children…..but I’ll be dead and gone before they will see the sadness they brought about in my last years….any thoughts or help??

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