About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. this is so good. thank you. Choosing a school for our children has been so, so hard. We’ve done different things each year and have come to the conclusion that there is no “perfect” senario or situation or school option. But there is Jesus. And His precious love and grace and pursuit of us. So thankful.

    • I couldn’t have said it better, Sara. Thank you for the reminder there is no perfect, but there is Jesus. Thankful right alongside you, sister.

  2. Thank you for this post Kristen. You really nailed it for me. I have been living with guilt since my “fall from grace” 3 years ago. My children were the casualties. Although forgiveness has been sought, it’s still obvious that the pain affects them. I have to continually give that to Jesus every single day. If I don’t, it overwhelms me and I feel paralyzed and ineffective. But I know that God loves me despite me. He fills up my heart and helps me stay focused so that I can be effective for Him! I actually fell “into grace,” and when I fix my mind on that, I can move forward and continue on this new path He’s given me.

    • Dear Tawni, your words here fill up my heart here and remind me His grace is always sufficient. Standing with you as together we walk forward in Him…

  3. Yes! I am constantly giving myself pep talks…it’s okay to make mistakes, the kids will never remember, the kids love you no matter what, nobody is perfect, you’re doing the best you can! The truth is Mother’s Guilt is an ongoing battle for me…I’ve noticed I respond strongly to blog posts that suggest women online are ignoring their children or household duties. I am quick to protect a mother’s choice to reach out online and embrace this new community we find ourselves in, but I can’t help but wonder WHY I get so upset at blog posts suggesting we step away from the computer and contribute more to the family. If I’m SOOOO okay with what I’m doing online than why do I get so defensive. It’s that sneaky Mother’s Guilt that fears I’m doing something wrong and regrettable.

    The choices we make in regards to how we raise our children just get harder and harder as they grow. And yes, forgiveness is a beautiful beautiful thing.

    • Well Kat, obviously it’s an ongoing battle for me, too. I’m so thankful for sisters like you who show me I’m not alone, who link arms and hearts and encourage one another to walk in forgiveness and grace. *That* is a beautiful thing, and you are a beautiful friend ’round here.

  4. Thank you for this! I was a stay at home mom up until four years ago… with four children now in school… I often feel like I’ve stolen a piece of their childhood from them by not being there more. As if I’m making their life more difficult by working. At first it was by choice, but now it’s out of necessity. With my husbands diabetes, we now need the insurance. 🙁

    • Angel, may I look you in the eyes and tell you you’re a great mom? Because it’s true. And you know our God is big enough to make different options work for different families while His grace fills in our gaps. And we *all* have them. We love you so much, Angel. Praying for you and yours right now.

  5. Oh … guilt is such a cruel taskmaster, a tool that the enemy of our souls uses that drapes over us like a huge wet blanket, immobilizing us and keeping us from parenting from a place of love and strength.

    We’ve got too many myths swirling around us about what biblical motherhood looks like, and sadly, many are created and spread by women who claim the name of Jesus. When we beat each other up and blame and shame our sisters over the choices they’ve made along the way, we defeat our goal of ‘loving one another deeply, from the heart’ and ‘encouraging one another daily.’

    I work hard to dispel these myths as a grandma and a counselor and life coach.
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2009/07/motherhood.html

    All that energy that goes into guilt and shame and blame could be better spent in figuring out who we are in Christ, and discovering what HE has for us, no matter what season of life we’re in.

    I love your words of encouraement today, Kristen …

    • Linda, thank you for working so hard to build us mamas up, encouraging us to keep on keeping on. *You* make such a difference. Thank you, thank you!

  6. Yup, I wrestle with mama guilt.

    We had friends in seminary with young kids joke that they had already started an account for all the counselors their kids would need as young adults healing from how their parents had screwed them up!

    We are so very human…but there’s forgiveness and grace.

    Lately besides asking my kids to forgive me (and God),
    I’ve been lifting my failures up to Him and asking Him to redeem it
    …to fill my lack with Himself.
    I’m learning to go there quicker instead of wallowing in the guilt.

    • Oh Summer, I love this. Yes ~ looking outward and upward so we ask God to redeem our failures seems one of the best most sure-fire way to wallow in His forgiveness and grace. May we all go there first!

  7. Mom guilt is one of those naggers that I have to shake off daily, if not moment to moment. I give thanks to God for being a perfect Daddy to my girls and ask him to cover my defects with his grace. That he would use my careless words as breadcrumbs to the cross. I plead for his affection so that the fear of my kids hating me as adult children will be washed away. I make amends to my kids, ask them to pray for me, and tell them we never out grow our need for Jesus. It’s my hope that all of this grows in them humility and a love for the gospel. Thanks for letting me share my (often broken) heart with you.

  8. Oh wow. This weekend was FULL of mama guilt. I had someone with me that thinks she knows my faults and seems to want to be the mama she thinks I can’t be to my daughter. I praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit that leads me through these days and thankful for His forgiveness for my brokenness. Even though, some days are more than a mama can bare. Thank you for this post. I felt so lonely this weekend.

    • You aren’t alone, Cici ~ we stand with you heart to heart. Resting in God’s truth with you, sister, the One who believes you can parent your babies beautifully. Love you!

  9. I was such a busy, happy, creative pre-school mom but now I find myself dealing with teenagers! What a difference! When teenage boys sometimes demonstrate innapropriate behavior (not too much mind you, they’re all pretty neat most of the time!) I find my inner conflicts over male maturity overwhelms and feel bad not handling it right or at all. At a place to hand it over to hubby or God. I need to remind myself they are just youth in almost grown bodies and some stupid words need to be guided with love not recoiling. Perhaps a father or this mixed-up society has given some ways of thinking that are not God-blessed with compassion and respect. When or if this happens again, and I’m sure it will in this life/society, if not necessarily in my home, I pray for wisdom to not perpetuate a wrong attitude by my own responses and behaviors.

    • I pray that for all us moms, Liz. From one mom of almost teenagers to you, thank you for sharing your words here today. May God grant us His parenting wisdom and fill in our gaps with His truth and grace. I’m thankful for you, Liz!

  10. One of the ways I deal with mama guilt and wallow in Truth not tears is found in Psalm 37:4…“Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I discovered a great acrostic memory tool for the word, “delight,” which describes how I have come to apply this verse to my life:
    Daily
    Everything
    Laid
    Into
    God’s
    Hands
    Totally
    I have shared a little more about this on this blog post:
    http://bethwillismiller.blogspot.com/2010/10/delight-yourself-in-lord.html

  11. Thank you so much, everyone of you commenting. I needed your input today. Mother of 4 and only one left at home. Still plagues me, that I’ve not done it right…… God knows!

  12. For me i find it hard when events I want to go to collide with the kids things. I end up feeling so guilty about wanting them to do things that I cancel mine.

    Parental guilt can be debilitating and I have fell into the trap way to often. When we first lost Livvy I totally I over induldged the kids, I did everything for them and you know what it did me no favours. Our children are a major part of our world but they shouldn’t be all our world. We do them no favours when we raise them to rely solely on us. We need them to value themselves and what they can do and of course they need to love God and realise that in him they can do all things.

  13. Oh yes — — yes!

    And you nudge me gentle with the answer: “wallow in Truth not tears.”

    Got to preach that Gospel to myself or I forget. Keep sinking down real deep into Scripture.

    Do you know how I love you, friend? Thanks for preaching so beautifully to me today…

  14. I love this Kristen! Although I’m not a Mom, I was recently struggling with some guilt that didn’t make sense. You hit it on the head – we need to move forward and not inward. Great post!

  15. I love this! I feel like everyday and weekly there aries some circumstance or situation where “mama guilt” is an option. Listening to His Voice of Truth quickly combats that though- love your verses, and love your example of Paul. Excellent point in moving out of ourselves-forward instead of inward-so true! xo