Written By: Brenda L. Yoder
“I don’t need you to envy me, I just need you to be proud of me.”
These words poured onto the screen as she typed them to her mom. At forty-something, she felt like a little girl again, her life-long quest of seeking the words, “I’m proud of you.”
I identify with these feelings of insecurity and seeking approval from others – parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc. In my journey as a mom, I realize how much insecurity has played a role in how I parent.
- Insecurity that if I don’t raise my children “right,” they will turn out “wrong” and I will be labeled a “bad parent.”
- Insecurity that if I don’t get my kids involved in every sport or activity at the earliest age, they will fall behind, and my personal insecurities won’t be padded by their successes.
- Insecurity that if I don’t look a certain way, I won’t be accepted by other moms.
- Insecurity that leads to pride when my children succeed, because I’m the one who made them that way.
- Insecurity that leaves me clinging to my rights as a mom because if I let go, I can’t guarantee the results.
- Insecurity that draws me to hover over my child even though they need independence because when they depend on me, I feel loved.
- Insecurity that allows anger to rise up when my child embarrasses me because their actions define my worth.
My list could go on. I began parenting as a young twenty-three year old overcoming identity issues and insecurities from a long-term eating disorder. Being a mom became my first identity as a woman and I knew just the kind of mom I wanted to be. Motherhood was going to fill all the gaping holes in my heart. But as motherhood became my identity, the challenges it brought left me fighting against myself and the child who was supposed to fulfill my hopes and dreams.
As I’ve walked through two decades of parenting, every fiber of my being has been challenged in the process. Every notion of what I imagined parenting to be has shaken me because my identity as a woman wasn’t grounded in being a child of God, but in my own children. After walking in difficult places as a mom, I’ve humbly learned my children don’t define me. They don’t add to or take away from my worth as a woman. My security comes in who I am in Christ alone. Being a mom doesn’t fill my insecurities. Only Jesus does.
As a woman, where do your insecurities lie? Are you looking to your children or your successes as a mom to fill the voids in your heart? While it feels good to have compliments on your child’s character, behavior or performance, if your confidence is not rooted in your position as a daughter of the Most High God, you’ll be devastated when other’s judge you because of your child’s character, behavior, or performance.
Believe me, it will happen. Been there, done that.
Our family has walked through dark times. As a mom not-yet-secure in Christ, the dark times were even more devastating because the expectations I had for myself and my family formed my identity. What happens when those expectations are shattered? You stand alone with broken pieces – just you, yourself and God.
But He rebuilds. He takes the broken pieces and glues the insecurities together with Divine holding power that can’t be shaken. He fills the gaps with His grace and mercy that can’t be known when your confidence comes in what others think of you. Security comes in knowing your value is not in your family, your children, or your role as mother, but in simply being His.
Dear daughter of God, where is your security today? Your children will fail you. You will fail your children. When it happens, you will stumble less when your confidence is rooted in His strength, not yours. Today, will you see yourself outside of your role as daughter, wife or mother, and rest in knowing your full value as a woman is complete in being the child of the gracious and mighty King.
And in that alone, He says, “I’m proud of you.”
“Dear Jesus, will you pour the truth of your grace into each woman today reading these words who needs to know their value in you? Will you give strength to the weary, hope to the shaken, and grace to the insecure places? Thank you that our worth is in You alone. Amen.”
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