If you’re a mom – even if you have only been one for a matter of days! – then you have undoubtedly felt it. The sinking feeling gnawing at your stomach which is the quintessential sign that you are experiencing mommy guilt.
We have all dealt with that at one time or another (or a hundred times, let’s be honest!). But is this what the Lord would have for us? Is it His desire for us that we would feel this pain in our hearts, this feeling that we are guilty of some failure as moms? I don’t believe so. In fact, I see many problems with today’s epidemic of mom guilt.
Mommy Guilt Oftentimes isn’t Based on Biblical Standards
One of the biggest problems with mom guilt is that, more often than not, the guilt we’re feeling is not based on our failure to live up to Biblical standards. Rather, the most common cause of mom guilt seems to be that we believe we have failed to live up to standards of mothering. It seems everywhere we look- maybe on a blog or on social media, someone in our neighborhood, at our church, in our family, in our Bible study group, you name it, we instinctively compare ourselves to someone else.
We feel like we have failed as moms when we aren’t daily implementing some new sensory playtime activity for our littles or if we are not hosting elaborate Pinterest-inspired birthday parties every year. Or if we are not providing our children with all-organic meals from morning ’til night.
Should that be our focus?
While all of these endeavors are great, they are not found in the Scriptures. Our Lord has not said in His Word that we must do these silly activities or perfect birthday parties or else we are sinning as moms and scarring our children for life. (Aren’t you glad?)
With that thought in mind, we can let go of the guilt associated with not making homemade play dough for our children or not taking them to the park every single day or not making gourmet meals. If our children truly desire that we do some of these things then, sure, if we are able, I think it’s important to do some of those special and fun activities with your kiddos. We want to make their fleeting childhood a memorable, precious time. Absolutely!
We just need to keep in mind that on those days when we do not do those things, it’s ok. It truly is, mama!
Freedom is found in the right priorities
The Lord is far more concerned about the truly Biblical concepts of us praying with our children, teaching them about Christ and pointing them to Him, and showing them every day just how much we love them and what blessings they are to us than He is with playdough.
There is so much freedom when we understand that! Remember, Mama – Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Shake off the burden of trying to live up to man-made standards, dear mama, and instead embrace the Lord and His ways. In His words, you’ll find freedom.
Mommy Guilt Does Not Come From the Lord
As Christians, we need to remember that it is Satan who brings guilt, not Christ.
What if you’re experiencing guilt because you’re stuck in a sinful pattern and can’t seem to get out? That guilt still does not come from the Lord and still is not something the Lord wants us to carry around all the time. If we have been saved, the following passages reveal what our standing is before God and how He now views us:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus….. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” ~Romans 8:1, 31-34
“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified… Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” ~Hebrews 10:11-14, 22
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” ~Romans 5:1, 9
No condemnation. Or guilt.
You see, our Lord does NOT heap guilt upon us. When He saved us, He forever took away all the guilt and shame our sins had produced. We are new creations in Christ and perfect in God’s eyes, because we have Christ’ righteousness. When God looks at us, He sees Christ and His righteousness. That’s it. That is the beautiful result of justification.
Now, the Holy Spirit does teach, sanctify, and convict us, yes. But He does not condemn or guilt us. There is a big difference between a conviction that you are doing something wrong and a condemnation or feeling of guilt. Rather than it being the Lord who produces guilty feelings in our hearts, it is Satan who does this to us. Revelation 12:10 says, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers [Satan] has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”
Go Forth in Freedom, Mama!
I know first-hand how pervasive the feeling of mom guilt can be. I’ve been there and I know how much it hurts. And while it is true that we all have areas of our motherhood in which we need to grow, the Lord desires to lovingly and gently come alongside us and spur us forth in the ongoing sanctification of our mothering. He does not, however, desire to heap burdens of guilt upon us. Christ, through His sacrifice on the cross, has forever freed us from the bondage of guilt and shame. We need to embrace and believe this truth for ourselves, walk joyfully in it, and live out this freedom in front of our children – doing so is one of the most powerful ways in which we can illustrate for them the good news of the Gospel in a tangible, everyday-life sort of way.
So, go forth in freedom and grace today, dear mama! May these truths we’ve studied today set you free from the bondage of mom guilt, and may you be free indeed (John 8:32).
About the Author
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two kiddos 2 and under, home business owner, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to edify, equip, and encourage women in their everyday life, for their journey of Biblical womanhood.