Where my mind has been recently is that our pride often has us putting up a false front as mothers. It's easy to do that these days where so many of our interactions are on social media, and we can pretend we aren't struggling, pretend we have it all together, pretend our homes are mess free and our children are perfect.
Our pride can keep us from coming alongside other mothers to encourage. Instead we judge. We tear down. We pick apart their homes, their parenting, their marriages, and their methods.
And it's no wonder mothers are falling apart. I believe the Lord longs to use us to encourage each other. He wants to speak words of Life to each one of us, not only for us to receive but for us to lavish others with too.
A friend and I were hanging out in my living room several weeks back, babies wiggling in our laps, when she said, "I feel like I've been fooled." See, all these women gave her a glimpse of the beautiful side of motherhood. But no one said there would be hard days. No one told her it would be a struggle. No one told her that some days she wouldn't exactly like her children. No one said that some days she'd feel like walking out of her life.
I think there's several reasons for that. First of all, we're all trying to give each other the best impressions rather than committing to just be real. Secondly, we're good at hiding the reality because we aren't living in community with others. We spend just enough time with people to give them a glimpse of the highlight reel. We hide the crazy just long enough. Once our guests are gone, we can let it all hang out again.
My friend's comment reminded me of how important it is to not let my pride get in the way of being who I am, where I am. My pride wants to scurry around and tidy up my home before people stop in. My pride gets embarrassed by the mess. But I know there is something soothing to a fellow mom who can enter my abode and see that a dose of chaos lives here too with princess costumes strewn about, the stove top looking like a lasagna bomb went off, and crayons tossed around like confetti.
I don't have to be embarrassed when my toddler has a melt-down or my nine year old says something absolutely horrifying. Likewise, I don't have to look down my nose with judgment when someone else's baby pitches a fit or their big kid makes a big blooper. We can love people for who they are and where they are.
I don't want my pride to get in the way of loving others. I want my friends and their families to know I am for them, even if we don't look the same, parent the same, homeschool the same, worship the same, or keep house the same. I want them to know they are adored even when they make huge mistakes, say hurtful things, or fall apart, just as I want others to love and forgive me even when I screw up big time.
I want to be an encourager. I want to build other mothers up. I want to be an encouragement to their children. I want them to see my home as a loving place, and my family as expressers of grace. I want to lavish people with the love and grace I receive from God.
As C.S. Lewis said, "Pride is a spiritual cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense." I've seen pride tear apart strong friendships, crumble marriages, estrange children. Pride tears down. It decays everything it touches. It's not surprising that Satan often appeals to our pride because He knows how deadly it is to relationships, especially our relationship with Christ.
I just want to encourage you to reach out to the mothers in your life—maybe even your own mother— and offer genuine words (and actions) of encouragement. Write your mama a letter thanking her for all her hard work during your childhood. Offer to babysit a friend's children so she can have lunch with friends, grocery shop by herself, or finally get that hair cut she's been wanting. Invite over a couple moms you know and have some coffee while the kids run crazy together. You will not only encourage, but you will be encouraged (and you'll probably have some good laughs too)!