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  • Rachel E. Reed

I'm Guilty 

Parenting is the only job you can fail 80% of the time, and still be considered "good". From a mother's heart, I can tell you first hand it's the most difficult job we can face on this earth. We are homemakers, lovers, storytellers, doctors, prayer warriors, and so much more. We all have very unique parenting skills and qualities that make us the mother of our home. No two parents are alike and we have different opinions about parenting. One thing I think we all can agree on is that we all fail at some point. We mess up and get angry or we give up from time to time because the stress is too difficult to bear. We all make mistakes as parents, fathers too, but I can only relate as a mother. I know I made a lot of mistakes with my son when he was growing up, some that are very difficult to admit, and I have parented from guilt for a long time. It's unhealthy not only as a parent but as human, we weren't meant to carry that burden. I hope my story can help you lay down your guilt at the foot of the cross where it belongs.

I was a drug addict for many years and what came with the territory was losing my son. He has bounced around from his dad and crazy ex-girlfriend to his grandmother, to my sisters, to my friends, to his grandpa in Texas who he never met before. He was severely abused the entire time he was away from me. Things I can't even talk about because he wouldn't want anyone to know. He was physically and mentally punished for crimes he didn't commit, and when he tried to stand up for himself the punishment only got worse. When he tried to tell proper authorities what was happening the beatings got longer and harder. My son went through hell while I was on my drug and men escapade and I was blinded to the whole thing. I had a fog over my eyes that wouldn't allow me to see the severity of what was really going on. Even though at one point his father took him from me and because we didn't have a court agreement I couldn't get him back, and that's where most of his abuse happened, I still blamed myself for my son’s abuse. He was unwanted and passed around and broken and bruised and scared and alone and he had no idea why I was gone and wasn't coming back. Talk about guilty. When I finally cleaned my life up and fought long and hard to have him back, I was so caught up in guilt that I could barely function as a parent. I was so mad at myself for leaving him, and I couldn't see past his pain long enough to be an effective mother to him. Even if your situation is different than mine, I'm sure you can relate to a time where you felt guilty as a parent and didn't know how to operate in forgiveness so you parented out of guilt instead.

Forgiveness is key in growing and changing no matter the situation may be. You could just feel bad for yelling at your kids and now here you are letting them out of time out because you feel bad for yelling. I felt bad for many reasons and I started to become my son's friend instead of his mother. So much so that I am still, 4 years later dealing with the consequences. I knew he forgave me after he came home but I didn't forgive myself and I didn't walk in the forgiveness he offered me either. I walked in shame, and condemnation and fear of him not loving me anymore after all the wrong I did. I wanted so bad for him to accept me and even though I was still his mother, I would say yes often even when I wanted to say no. I would give little to no punishment or I would never follow through. I would threaten but show no action. I would manipulate him in ways to make him feel bad for what he did wrong so he wouldn't do it again. Instead of using God as my example to be a good mom, I used what I knew, and that was my feelings. I was alone, I didn't have his dad around and although my sisters were there to support me, my mom passed away and I was in charge of trying to mend this broken relationship between my son and me, what felt like, all by myself.

I found out along the way, many mistakes in, that I wasn't alone, and that I had support not only from my family but from God. He taught me many things that helped along the way, number one, it takes a village to raise a child. It's hard, and parenting is frustrating all by itself and when it feels the world is against you it's even harder. I learned that I needed encouragement from my three sisters to get through the tough times. I also needed the Word of God to show me the way a real Father loves so I can duplicate the same love with my son. We are all given free will, and no matter the age when someone tries to take that away, we rebel. That's why God gives us the options to serve light or dark, good or bad. I also learned that God loves me unconditionally and I need to do the same with my son. No matter what he does wrong I still need to love him and show him I am here for him and his needs. God tells us not to neglect the gathering of the saints, and I learned that being around people who can help mold and shape my son and our relationship. It was the best decision I ever made. I was unjudged and loved by my church family and it helped more than I could have ever thought. When the village was there I didn't feel so alone, and I started to release some of the guilt from my past. I started to move on to better my relationship with my son and learning to parent properly without the guilt.

Did you know according to a study done by baby care product company NUK, 87% of mothers feel guilty at some point in their parenting careers, with 21% feeling that way all the time. We as mothers need to band together and love on one another no matter our differences. Being a parent is a fight, it isn't easy and no one is perfect when they make their decisions on how to raise their kids. We as mothers need encouragement and we need the village to stand up and take its place so these numbers can diminish. God loves us in our mess so we can love others in their messes. If it is one thing I've learned along this journey of parenting it is that life happens no matter who you worship, and humans make mistakes, but more than anything we need to be forgiven and we need to forgive others, including our children. Our connection with them should be so important that nothing can break it. Just like the word says in Romans 8:38-39 [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, so it should be with our children and family. Let's start loving one another and growing as an imperfect body with a mission doing our earthly duties to serve one another in love and humility. Remember, we all feel or felt guilty as a parent at some point and instead of shaming one another let's point our brothers and sisters to the cross where they can trade their heavy burdens for the yoke of Jesus which is easy and light. We all fall short of the glory of God but thank you, Jesus, that you are renewing us every day to become more and more like you. No more guilt, no more shame, no more carrying around burdens we weren't meant to bear. He is able to take care of more than you or I could ever ask for, so trust Him today as you let go of your past hurts and shame that have shackled you into the prison of parenting out of guilt, and become free today because who the Son sets free, is free indeed! God bless you all I am here if you need prayer.

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