Mother love is powerful; but is it always healthy? Love does indeed cover a multitude of sins; but are they covered by my flawed, though well-intentioned love, or only by God’s agape kind of love?
Jewel, the mother in Bret Lott’s novel of the same name, maintains throughout the story that if only she loved her little Down’s Syndrome daughter enough she would be better. Sadly, her love was not enough. Her insistence on her misguided mission caused her to unwittingly neglect the rest of her family.
What is commonly celebrated as mother love is sometimes, albeit unconsciously, quite toxic. This toxic love doesn’t cover a multitude of sins, but it only covers over a crippling dysfunction that may result in some kind of pathology that later emerges in the children’s lives, and that produces guilt and failure in the mother. Mothers often grapple with guilt that pins them down instead of embracing God’s grace—a light and easy companion that lifts us to live out of His love alone.
Alice Scott-Ferguson wrote these words in her book, Mothers Can’t Be Everywhere, But God Is. Alice is an author and speaker who wrote an endorsement for Journeys to Mother Love. Her heart for mothers motivates much of her ministry. She encourages mothers of all ages to look to Christ as their source of strength and to give up the burdens of either perfectionism or guilt.
Not all of us, or our mothers, have mothered with toxic love. But we might find ourselves in that place of dysfunction, at least at times. Alice adds, “The God who runs the universe can take care of your children and loves them beyond the fiercest mother love. May you be filled with hope and joy as you trust God who wants you to live every aspect of your life—and mothering is no exception—from the life of Christ within as you walk in His rest.”
As a mother, have you carried a burden of either perfectionism in your mothering or guilt over the way you did raise your children? We can lay down those burdens and begin to walk in new freedom and joy.
~ Catherine Lawton