“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (Deut 20:4, NIV)
The struggle is real. It doesn’t matter if you are staying at home, or a working parent, whether you are a parent or not, the struggles become very real the moment you confess before God and man that Jesus is Lord. When you kneel before the Lord, there are 4 people in the audience; God the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Standing way at the back, so that you don’t even notice him, is the enemy, listening, despising every moment that you call on the name of Jesus Christ. The enemy is insignificant and powerless to a faithful believer, but he is still there. As we are all called to a battle, we must never underestimate the enemy. We must fight like a skillful warrior, with our full armor on, being a step ahead of the enemy. We are not unaware of his ways. He is neither creative nor omnipotent to come up with new schemes to hinder God’s people. It is always the same lies, the same manipulations. Jesus, when tempted, showed us the way the enemy attacks. The battlefield is your mind, and God’s word is your weapon.
Mom-guilt is Real (First-time mom)
When I became a mother, the battle intensified. I was no longer at war for my own sake, I was also fighting for my children. I was at war against the schemes of the enemy that were at work against my husband and my children. The only way Satan could weaken me was to attack my competence as a mother. He assigned two of his foot soldiers to do this task. Their names were guilt and condemnation.
When I gave birth to my first son, my recovery was hard. But the real struggle came with breastfeeding. My son was not very good at latching, so he continued to bite, as he nursed. He was also rather lazy to spend time getting the milk out, so my milk supply plummeted. My baby was hungry and crying, and I was in pain. Then guilt and condemnation walked in and took advantage of my crazy postpartum hormones and tired mind.
Everyone around me was trying to get me to breastfeed him. I tried everything. But my body just could not produce enough milk to satisfy my baby. Then the comments from well-meaning people came. “You are not relaxed”, “Your body is too weak”, and the worst of them were “You don’t love your baby enough, that’s why you can’t feed him”. The last one broke me into a million pieces.
Guilt and condemnation started to take charge and whisper, “Why can’t you feed your own baby? So many other women do it, why can’t you? You must be a horrible mother, God is punishing you, you can’t take of a child! You will fail”. These were the thoughts that were going through my mind. I was drowning in my own depression.
One night, out of desperation, I emailed a friend who went through a similar struggle and shared everything that was going on in my mind. She replied, “It is not you who feeds your baby, it is God. So give him a bottle and put him to sleep. How could you think that your milk is the only thing that matters? Give him what he needs, and God will take care of the rest. It is God who provides”. I obeyed her instruction, gave him a bottle, and we both slept. The rest is history. My son is now a kind-hearted, spirited, and healthy 3-year old. Thank God. I was drowning and He saved me.
Mom-guilt (Two-kid family)
Guilt and condemnation took a different form when I gave birth to my second son. This time they attacked my ability to split my time between two kids. I was suddenly struggling to split my self between my older son who was used to having all of me, and my newborn baby, who needed me. I stretched myself very thin juggling myself between the two of them. I longed to do the things I used to with my older son (playing at the park, bath time, snuggling before bed, etc.) and got really emotional and angry when I couldn’t. There was a week or so where my mind was in utter darkness. I resented my baby, I felt so guilty about the burden I had put on my older son, forcing him to grow up and become independent. I felt really ashamed of myself. I could not love both my babies the way I wanted to. I was fearful to even share this with anyone. In my struggle, I yelled at my older son and my husband, more often than I cared to admit. There was no peace in my house. The enemy was winning.
One day, I was so overwhelmed with mom-guilt, I just cried out to the Lord. I complained, threw the biggest tantrum in front of Him. Like rain falling on a parched land He said: “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, now get up, this is my battle I will fight for you., I chose you to be their mother, I have equipped you”. Those words went through me like a double-edged sword. I repented for my sin of self-reliance and asked for help. I let go of trying to do everything the way I used to, and I allowed others to step in and help me. I let go of my pride of wanting to be a perfect mom, and decided to be one that did her best, and left the rest to God. I took authority over my mind and thoughts and surrendered it to God to be cleansed. I rebuked and confronted the enemy, took back from him what was mine. God stepped in, and He helped me every step of the way.
God changed my older son. He began to desire more independence instead of relying on me. He taught my son to love his baby brother. My baby also turned out to be the easiest baby ever. He sleep-trained easily at two months, had no reflux issues, and was sleeping 6-7 hour stretches by 5 months. My boys are now the sweetest of brothers. My older son always says “Mummy I love all of us, together!” We cannot imagine our life without our younger boy. We are so grateful God allowed him to be a part of our little tribe. I am humbled that God chose me to care for him.
Enforce your victory over guilt and condemnation
Guilt and condemnation still try to rear their ugly heads every now and then. This will always be an ongoing battlefield in the life of a parent. In response, God always reminds me that the battle belongs to Him, I need only to pray and praise Him. God reminds me it is never my ability that matters, but His all-sufficient grace that supplies the needs of my family. The victory belongs to him, and I need only be still and know that He is God.
In Exodus 17, God reveals himself to Moses, as his banner when he defeated the Amalekites on behalf of Israel. When the enemy comes at you with his lies, remember that he comes against the Almighty God, who will wipe away everything that stands against His kingdom and His people. Remember to put your hands up as Moses did, and keep them up in prayer, praise, and worship, so that you remind your self that it is God, who is fighting for you. When your arms get tired as Moses’ did, because of hard parenting days, or sleepless nights, ask for help. Ask fellow believers in Christ, to “put a rock for you to sit and rest on”, and to put their hands under yours so that your hands will remain up. We are called to fight together, with the body of Christ, so that when we are hard-pressed we are not shaken. You are not alone in this battle. The Lord is your banner. He goes before you and with you to fight against your enemy to give you victory.
When parental guilt and condemnation leans on your doorbell, stand your ground, put your hands up to the Lord and say with confidence: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31 NIV)
To God be the glory forevermore.