Free at Last!

Woody Family in 1990

Woody Family in 1990

“Now that I’m older, I’m free from worrying about that any more. It feels so good!” My friend Winnie said this to me yesterday at church. Winnie is a lovely Christian lady who has held fast to her faith through life’s storms. She is now pursuing a college degree in her 50’s and tutoring college students on the side.

“I am free from so many false beliefs that I had as a young wife and mother.” I replied. “Why didn’t we learn these lessons earlier?” I said to Winnie.

This caused me to reflect on just what some of those erroneous ideas were. These were thoughts I held that kept me in bondage and fed feelings of guilt. Here is a list of some of those toxic thoughts:

* I must have a perfectly clean house before I invite anyone to visit.
* If I invite guests for dinner, the food must be homemade.
* If I am feeling overwhelmed, I must never admit it.
* If I haven’t had a quiet time, I don’t have anything of value to share.
* I’m a bad mother if I yell at my kids.
* I’m a bad mother if my children act up at library story time.
* I’m a bad mother if my children run around at Sunday School.
* I must have a “ministry” outside of my home.

These are just a few of the things that weighed me down as a mother of young children. As you can see – there is some truth in each of these beliefs – but there is much that is false. Those lies kept me frustrated and often full of guilt.

I wanted to have people over, so I would wear myself out cleaning up. I was crabby and demanding of my children – once I even locked them out of the house until the kitchen floor dried after I had mopped it. They have NEVER forgotten this and enjoy seeing my discomfort as they tell people I used to lock them out of the house. To set the record straight – I did that ONE time!

I am not a natural cook – it is an effort for me to make tasty meals. Yet I thought I had to make everything from scratch if I was having guests.

I also gauged my “success” as a mother by my children’s performance. This was partly because as a former teacher, I measured my success as a teacher by how well my students learned. I took this same attitude to my efforts in parenting.

Jesus says in John 8:31-32

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

As God began to teach me His truth, I was set free from those falsehoods that held me in bondage.

* People come to visit people, not the house. Four children make messes.
* I can buy pre-cut salad – no one cares.
* I must admit my weakness so my husband (or friends) know I need help.
* My relationship with God is based on His grace, not my quiet time.
* If I yell at my kids, I ask forgiveness.
* If my children act up at story time – I teach them respectful manners.
* If my children run at Sunday School – I teach them proper behavior.
* When I feel “I’m not doing enough for the Lord”,
I remember that my family IS my ministry.

The TRUTH does set us free from the bondage of quilt and frustration.
As Winnie said – “It feels so good to be free!”

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14 thoughts on “Free at Last!

  1. Chris Solomon says:

    WHAT A CUTIE! I LOVE THE TRUTHS YOU SHARED! Chris Solomon

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  2. Cathy Makinson says:

    So good Gayle!!!!

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  3. Hannah says:

    Very good! I definitely think I’m not doing my job if my kids don’t listen to me at home or out in public- but I want to be the same mom both places.

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  4. This is a very encouraging post! I have young children, and I go through those list of lies often. Thank you for the wonderful reminder of what the truth is.

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  5. I’m so pleased that you were encouraged. Our Heavenly Father is so patient with us.

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  6. Darlene says:

    I LOVED this post. I have recently been wishing for some more mentoring so I don’t have to learn everything the HARD way. This post was, in part, an answer to that. I feel most of my problems find their root in pride, “What will they think if….” or “Won’t they be so impressed if…” If I spent more time loving people and less time trying to impress them (or myself) I feel most of my errant priorities would right themselves. Sigh. The older I get, the more I need Christ.
    Here is a specific lie that I have seen lately: “I have to keep the house clean.” And I have taken this to mean that I must make myself and everyone else miserable OR I must completely give up on the futile task of house cleaning. Replacing those lies with: I clean house as a living act of service to God and for my family. It will not stay clean, and that is OK. I do what I can and I release everything else. I gladly receive the mantle of humility in NOT living in perfection but love and grace.

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    • Dear Darlene,
      Thank you for your insightful thoughts. I appreciate the attitude that cleaning is an act of service to our families and ultimately to God! I am so thankful for God’s love and grace.

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  7. Florence says:

    Thanks for the post. I especially liked the part about our children’s behavior.
    When my teenage son was making choices I didn’t approve of, I posted this reminder on my mirror:
    “I am responsible for teaching and loving my children. My children are responsible for their own personality and behavior.”
    It helped me feel a greater sense of peace. And also helped me remember how God still loves me even when I make unwise choices.

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  8. Dorcas Plemmons says:

    I needed this, Gayle. Thank you, and I so enjoy reading your words…words of wisdom for me. What an amazing woman you are. I am so blessed to know you.

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  9. Dorcus, Thank you. God has blessed me – you know He is the source. It is such a blessing seeing your lovely family pictures and reading about your commitment to the Lord. Blessings to you!

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