My knees shadow my chin. Legs rolled up to my body. And from my toes to the edge of the bed feels like miles of distance I cannot travel. Miles of emotional instability. Roads of anxiety are the bed sheets stretched out before me. Mountains of doubt and comparison are the quilted landscape.
I tell them I’m resting. But I feel guilty for my lack of response that steals away from the fact that mothering IS MY responsibility. Perfectionism constantly robing parenthood of any joy. I’m left with guilt. Inside the walls of my skull I hold a standard so high. No way I could condemn myself like this. No one would believe unless they were in my head which makes me think I’m safe, when in reality it’s all the more dangerous.
The sea of quilt from here to the door drown me. No life raft, just sinking feelings. The demonic demanding that if I can’t clean a house by 8, control my temper and not burn cookies while singing “Jesus loves me this I know” happily I’ve ruined my children. Some think my over ambition is cute as they’ve gave way to the imperfection of maternity. They’ve found the well spring of grace, But not I. I try to find it, but My mental episodes won’t allow it. You don’t understand, they own me. And I know there are others out there who share in my insanity?
If you’re like me, mommy OCD, you know us moms have come to this conclusion that we’ve somehow been ruined. They say trauma comes at all degrees, in all shapes and sizes. We arrived at adulthood feeling as though we stepped out of our warm shower and onto WW1. Automatically wounded. We’ve been hurt feel disadvantaged and disappointed and we can’t stand to hurt or neglect our kids the way we’ve seen or experienced. We pinpoint ever wrong thing and attempt to avenge, to reverse, to amend, to perfect. So mothering takes on a whole new meaning under the pressure of trauma. only that is a pressure my soul can no longer bare. My heart cannot handle the weight of perfection. Constantly I try to fix and clean and organize the inner pain away but it never works. So constantly I tap out of the wrestling match and crawl into a bed and curl up into anxiety and just silently beg that God wouldn’t let go of me as I work it out. Angry at myself for emotionally overwhelming my heart with things I know I should give God. So I curl up and beg that God wouldn’t let me drift into instability any more than my family can bear. That I wouldn’t revolt this time to gain some sort of sensational feeling. That this backward movement is really to send me forward. That I would gain some ounce of insanity enough to go back out into the family room and be just a good mama. Not a tired mama. Not a bitter mama. Not sarcastic. Not compulsive. Not condescending. Not mommy OCD.
I want to be a good mama. But some days it is a weight I cannot bear. My emotions and compulsions get the best of me. Some days there’s more children revolving task than accessible sanity. I am 23 with 4 children and one on the way, 6 years of marriage. We’re so young our kids are so young. I’ve taken on more responsibility than almost anyone my age, that I know personally. I condemn myself harder than any man could for the path I’ve chosen. I interrogate myself over the murder of my freedom. I lock myself away in this room. In a tower with a mote and these quilts before me are water I dare not tread. I can’t parent unstable. I might mess up. Which would mess them up. I don’t want to be guilty of the sins of my parents. I just want to be a good mama. But I want it so bad my head is sick and my ambition becomes idol. I find myself trapped because the king of kings came to destroy idols. I won’t let him have this one. It is my pseudo safe. I put myself here because I continue to bow down to the idol of perfectionism. The whole time I thought “doing it right” freed me, fulfilled my sense of ability but really it was me worshiping the wrong thing.
But I’m not here alone. The helper can be seen from the heavens gliding across my room. Leaning into me, not for an instant fix. But slowly healing me. Not for an instant do we face this alone. Slowly turning my eyes from false worship. Slowly restoring the bits of me I blew apart at my own detonation. The helper comes and he dances around me and my tears and drops hints of hope where human ability can never conjure it. He makes the things that frustrate me to devastation seem less important as my eyes return to the one who first laid eyes on me in the womb. Strangely I’m not so concerned about perfecting the task that started in my womb and continues with each offspring. I’m focused on the slow deep breaths that start to fill my lungs as the helper fills my room, he lets me borrow his calm. I am swept out of my fits into the rainfall of his love for me. The constant cascades wash me into deeper realization. I really am only rescued by this love that penetrates every crack and crevice in my broken child heart and I’m becoming a healed adult who in return has the ability to slowly, SIMPLY be a good mama not by control but by relinquishing that control to God.
The very thing I was striving for and ragging about becomes the thing I simply become. Because of him. Because of Christ. Because he loved me and had compassion on me. HE becomes strong in the weak thing— me. Because he cannot fail us even when all we are failures. And it’s because of him, because of his cross, I cross the ocean of bed, I swim to the shore of family insanity, I stand on the land of my living room, I go out to try again.
To God be all the glory.
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
“In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us[a] with unspoken groaning. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.” John 16:13
I will praise the Lord at all times;
His praise will always be on my lips.
I will boast in the Lord;
the humble will hear and be glad.
Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me;
let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant with joy;
their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him from all his troubles.
The Angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear Him, and rescues them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
You who are His holy ones, fear Yahweh,
for those who fear Him lack nothing.
Young lions lack food and go hungry,
but those who seek the Lord
will not lack any good thing.
Come, children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who delights in life,
loving a long life to enjoy what is good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from deceitful speech.
Turn away from evil and do what is good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are open to their cry for help.
The face of the Lord is set
against those who do what is evil,
to erase all memory of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
and delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near the brokenhearted;
He saves those crushed in spirit.
Many adversities come to the one who is righteous,
but the Lord delivers him from them all.
He protects all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
The Lord redeems the life of His servants,
and all who take refuge in Him will not be punished.” Psalm 34