I woke up in a panic at 3:17 am. Heart beating so fast I could feel it in my chest. And the words tumbling around in my head – well, they wouldn’t quit.
You haven’t done enough.
My mind raced to all of the things I haven’t accomplished yet with our kids.
My boys don’t know how to cook a full, from scratch meal on their own yet.
I don’t think our boys love Jesus enough yet.
I haven’t taught them to be perfectly responsible citizens quite yet.
Sometimes they’re just so mean. I haven’t made them kind enough.
The tears started to come and though I tried to pray over top of the screaming, ugly voices in my head, they were louder and they were winning.
You haven’t done enough. What kind of mother are you?
Remember that time you just crawled into bed and didn’t go and pray with them because you were so tired? I can’t believe you did that.
Would it really be so hard to have cooking days 3 times a week where they actually learned chopping and sautéing skills? You are a failure.
All those times you let them play video games instead of having nurturing, life-giving, family time so you could curl up and read a book? You haven’t done your job at all.
My mind replayed every time I had raised my voice, lectured them on the whole drive to school, dropped them off with frustration.
I saw all of the moments I said no to going outside and shooting hoops, all of the times I shoo’d them away because I just needed a little quiet, each time they came to me and I said, “Not now! I’m busy.” These flashed in my mind like an unending firework display.
Bang! You’ve failed. Boom! How could you. Kabam! Shame on you.
Something happens in a Mama’s heart when she realizes that the years left to nurture her kin in her home are nearing an end. Our oldest turned 17 last week, he’s in his last year of high school and the truth of it is – I don’t know how much longer I have him here.
But it’s not just him. Our middle is in grade 10 and our baby 13 and I feel like once we’re on this conveyer belt that’s moving towards thrusting them out into the world I just won’t be able to stop it. One will go, then another, and soon enough – what?
As my heart dwells on preparing my men for the next stage of life, to say it’s overwhelming would be an understatement – as evidenced by my middle of the night panic.
I was married at 20. Paying rent on time, selecting college classes, cooking meals for my new hubs. By 22 I had a new baby on the way and it’s all been a bit of a blur since.
When I think that in just a few short months my boy could move out, make career decisions and be dating the girl he plans to marry the thoughts on whether or not we’ve taught him well are pervasive. It can be a lot for our hearts and minds to handle at this point. Wondering if they’ll thrive or fail out in the world. Feeling like we’re responsible for whether they do or not. It’s all just. too. much.
No wonder the feelings came crashing in, pounding my soul rhythmically just like the waves on the shore. While I’d like to say they were all lies, overspiritualize it and call it the voice of the enemy filling my mind with untruth, I think it’s exactly the opposite. I believe my panic was the beautiful voice of God.
You aren’t enough. You haven’t done enough. You will never be enough.
But I am.
You haven’t taught them enough. You haven’t shown them in enough ways that they are loved. You haven’t, though you’ve tried so hard, bent them to your will. Because you can’t.
But I can.
You haven’t prayed enough. You haven’t drilled scripture into their mind enough. You haven’t pried open their ears or made the blinders fall from their eyes. Because you’re not the Holy Spirit.
God said to Moses, “Tell them, I AM has sent you.” (Exodus 3:14)
I told my boys the same thing in the morning. I told them I Am has sent me. Sent me to be their Mom, to nurture their hearts, to teach them so many things, to carry the weight of responsibility for their lives but only so far as I’m doing what is commanded of me.
The coolest thing about having teens is the conversations. I told my boys about my panic in the middle of the night. I told them about the voices and the tears. I told them about my prayers.
Most importantly, I told them I Am has sent me. I’m only sent by Him – not him. I am not I Am, and so, though I’m their Mom they need to look to one greater.
I get mixed up sometimes by wanting to be their Saviour. I want to be the one who changes their hearts and minds, the one who is their everything, the one who mends all their wounds and guides each of their paths. I want to, but it’s not my job. My job is to show them I Am, not to be their God.
My boys laughed at me that morning (second best part of having teens!) and told me I am enough, in fact – I’m more than enough. It was nice to hear, but they’re also wrong.
This is usually the part in the post where I would tell you the same. You are enough. You’re doing enough. Rah-rah! Go you!
But I think the more important word for our Mama ears to hear is that we aren’t enough. We can’t be enough. We can wear ourselves thin, work our fingers to the bone and become ever so weary and we still won’t be enough because we were never meant to be enough. We can’t chart their course and we don’t have to – because He already has. We can’t force their hearts and we needn’t try – because that’s His job.
You aren’t enough. Find freedom in that. You will never be enough. Find solace there. In fact, you can’t be enough. Find joy in this release of pressure.
We aren’t enough because He is so much more than enough.