The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

Multitude Mondays: When You Wish You Were A DIfferent Mommy…


A piece of  white hair hung over his icy blue eyes as his flushed face contorted in brow-furrowed frustration.

His lanky three-year-old legs dangled over the edge of the little red time out chair. 

His words hung heavy between us.

I wish I had a different Mommy! 

He clenched his fist and swatted the air in exasperation. 

I knew those words weren’t totally true.

They were just the arrows of anger coming from a preschooler who had been told no. 

No, you cannot dig a hole in the neighbors backyard.

I know you want to excavate dinosaur bones, but you’ll need to do that in our yard.

I don’t care if the neighbors have better mud. You may NOT leave holes in their yard.

But the words of my firstborn still stung deep, made me want to kick and scream along with my disgruntled boy and hurl my own wounded rebuttal at my knee-high child:

I wish you had a different mommy, too. 
 Not another mommy. Just a different me…

A me that was better suited for toddler tantrums and time-out battles.

A me that responded with grace when my child knocked down little girls at playgroup in his hurry to be first at the snack table.
A me that knew how to show love to a too-busy-to-be-cuddled boy.
I had no idea that someone so small could stir up such big doubts. 

I ‘d felt like a champion the day we met.

I’d pushed him from womb to world in silent strain, awed by the holy reservoir of strength that had spurred me on. 
And when the doctor had placed that precious prize in my arms,  I was an Olympic athlete being handed the gold.
I had no idea how fiercely I’d grow to love that saggy-skinned gift of life– or how deficient I’d feel as I tried to unwrap it.
I didn’t know how inadequate motherhood would make me feel.
I didn’t know that when my child failed I would feel like I had failed, too. 
I didn’t realize that shepherding another’s soul would cause me to be discouraged with mine. 
Or that despite all of my best efforts, I would still feel afraid. 
Afraid that I wasn’t enough.
I thought I’d figure it out in time, believed I’d eventually learn how to be the kind of mom I’d always dreamed I’d be.

But the more children I had, the less I knew. 

And the more my gaps became visible.

I didn’t know that every child would expose my holes.
I had no idea how deficient I’d feel as I struggled to celebrate the delights of my unconventional second-born.

Didn’t realize that I’d feel lost when my third-born cried over starving babies in Africa.

I didn’t know how I’d feel helpless when my fourth-born asked intricate questions about mechanics but struggled with articulating the simplest of words. 
I never guessed that my fifth-born’s midnight wails would render me dumbfounded and discouraged. 
My firstborn isn’t the only one who has demanded more than I have to give. 

Each child has forced me to face that silent fear:  I am not enough.

I cannot love enough, give enough, pray enough, laugh enough, instruct enough.

What I didn’t know on that day long ago when my three-year-old begged for a different mommy was that in time, my fear would fuel faith.

That my holes would be windows to Christ’s holiness; my deficiencies  magnify His majesty. 

So when my firstborn returned from church camp last week- this serious fourteen-year-old who still has fast feet and a determined spirit- I knew that my faith was finally growing greater than my fear. 

I listened to him hum worship tunes under his breath.

And watched as he smiled even when no one was looking.

And I caught him pulling his little brother on his lap and hugging him longer than necessary, and spinning his little sister in circles and kissing her soft blonde curls.

And I saw the way he glowed with a Moses-radiance; noticed how he sported the look of one who has spent time in the presence of the Almighty.

And I realized that my holes matter little.

He told tales of worship that moved his soul and of his counselor’s powerful testimony.

He spoke of afternoons spent in the lake and the thrill of midnight games.

He sighed, satisfied, this one with an unquenchable hunger for more. 

And when I asked what the best part of it all was, he quietly answered, “God was there.” 

And I knew deep in my soul where my shortcomings simmer and taunt that what faith says is true–

I’ll never be enough.

But God always will be.

Enough for my fast-footed son and my carefree girl.

Enough for my tender one and my hard-working one and my stubborn and sassy one.

My children don’t need a different mommy. 

They simply need a faithful Father.  

And that will be ENOUGH. 

The Overflow:  God! Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways, the choir of holy angels sing anthems to your faithful ways!  Search high and low, scan skies and land, you’ll find nothing and no one quite like God. The holy angels are in awe before him; he looms immense and august over everyone around him. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who is like you, powerful and faithful from every angle?”Psalm 89:5, The Message

Still counting gifts from my faithful father…

1241. A swimming party at my dear friend’s pond- birthday fun and giggling girls

1242. My niece’s visit for the week- a marvelous unplanned joy

1243. A waterpark on a 100 degree day

1244. A quiet house by 10 pm. Time to pray. Think. Savor.

1245. Curled up beneath a tree with Hannah doing our Mommy and Me Bible study. Sweet words shared. Precious time alone.

1246. My son, aglow with the radiance of Jesus– the glories of camp still shining in his eyes.

1247. The Holy Spirit stirring conviction deep in me; a call out of complacency

1248. The sweet sounds of a little boy making truck noises as he plays 🙂

Linking again in community with Ann and these lovely grace seekers:  l.l. for on, in, and around mondayslaura for playdates with god, ruth at the better mom, and jen for soli deo gloria 


23 thoughts on “Multitude Mondays: When You Wish You Were A DIfferent Mommy…

  1. What a beautiful post!! My oldest is only 7 so we have a ways to go. I pray that my children will be as passionate about Christ as your son is! What an amazing blessing.

    I’m glad I found you on the WLW link-up! Thanks!

    July 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm
  2. Yes! I have an 18 yr old that is only OK in spite of me, not because of me. God has covered so many of my failures and shortcomings. He is faithful! Praising God with you!

    July 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm
  3. Visiting from Multitudes on Monday – so glad I came by. I love how you expressed these thoughts, so true for all of us as mothers. And yes – we are never enough as moms. But God is enough. Thanks for this clear reminder …

    July 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm
  4. “I’d pushed him from womb to world in silent strain, awed by the holy reservoir of strength that had spurred me on.” – What a divine experience, birthing a child.

    Ah, God was there! Jehovah-Shammah, here, there, and everywhere there’s a crack in the wall.

    He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

    And He has led you the whole way Alicia.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm
  5. Your post is like a wistful look into the future for me, Alicia.

    Not there yet — oldest is only 11 — but trusting Him to be enough for my kiddos, too.

    God of all our gaps, indeed.

    Thanks so much for the faith-words. I’m taking them with me.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:11 pm
  6. Beautifully written, inspired, and a good reminder that it is okay to not be enough but to continue to leave it with Him.

    This tension – wanting to be enough, yet knowing you can’t – it’s a daily relinquishment, isn’t it???

    July 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm
  7. Mindy @ New Equus - A New Creation

    This is absolutely beautiful Alicia! You speak for mothers everywhere with your humble words showing strength in our God behind the doubts of our flesh. God is awesome and He does some awesome things with those of us who listen and follow Him. 🙂

    July 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm
  8. I just accidentally found your blog tonight, through Heavenly Glimpses, which is written by a good friend of mine. And I’m glad that I did. This post that you wrote today was lovely, and is a great reminder that we’re never really meant to be enough, because only God can fill the “enough” role. We sent our 11 year old to church camp for a week this summer, too, and I loved when he came home, singing new praise songs, like your son did. Melts a mama’s heart.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:29 am
  9. Kim

    Strong willed children leave us feeling so incredibly weak and vulnerable. My youngest was that child, pushing me to hold my temper in check, daring me to be a more resourceful mommy. There were so many days I didn’t think I’d make it, especially since we weren’t a Christian family at that time.

    I love how your boy has grown and how his simple answer was so incredibly profound: God was there. Sends chills up my spine!

    This week I wrote about the amazing experience of hosting and volunteering at our week-long church workcamp, and I wonder if perhaps it’s something your son would really take to.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:47 am
  10. Oh, thank you so much for writing this. It is so encouraging… just what I need today.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm
  11. This brought tears to my eyes. You perfectly articulated what I was feeling. And then you showed what I hope is the future for my son. You see, I’m still in the toddler years! My son is just 18 months old. I pray that he shares a similar testimony as your son one day.

    Mary Beth @newlifesteward

    July 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm
  12. I love your post!

    If mommies were enough, our kids wouldn’t see their need for Jesus. If our holes weren’t exposed, then we wouldn’t see our own need for Jesus.

    In God’s great wisdom, he made holes, as well as giving us constant reminders that nothing is ever “enough” except for him.
    Blessings to you.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm
  13. Beautiful prose and thoughts so full of truth. Thank you!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm
  14. You do not know how much I needed to read this today. After a few criticisms about my parenting, I was in the pit about who I am and what choices I have made. But, this post puts the focus back on Jesus — on the more of Him and the less of me. Thank you for being faithful.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm
  15. I’m new to your blog (through Better Mom), but I just wanted to say this is a beautiful place. And this was an encouraging, very relatable post!

    July 25, 2012 at 1:57 am
  16. Alicia, this was absolutely heart-warming….so hopeful. Thank you for your constant encouraging and insightful words!

    July 25, 2012 at 4:50 am
  17. Wow, this really spoke to me as my son is 3 and sounds just like your son! Thanks for a great change in perspective! I have been reading a lot about Mary and Martha. It reminds me that being busy trying to be enough will never get me there.

    Unrelated to this blog, you talk about doing Bible study with your kids in the morning. How did you get that routine started and at what age?

    July 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm
  18. Oh Alicia…you have a special way of always speaking right to me! I miss you…and love all that you give me!
    This is such an inspiring post for moms! Thank you!

    July 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm
  19. “Bible Study” with my kids looks different for each one. I guess since my little ones are tiny, I’ve pulled them on my lap first thing in the morning and read out of their children’s Bible. Nothing fancy. Nothing long. Just what we call “first five”- give the first five minutes of our day to God. My youngest son calls it “fueling up” (Makes sense to a little guy who is crazy about wheels and engines) and my three year old calls it our “happy minute.” More than anything, I think the kids have never questioned this ritual because they have seen me beginning my day that way morning after morning. As my kids have become readers, I’ve begun to pass off the Bible reading to them- each one taking a moment over breakfast to give God first place. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to get kids in the Word. I have one who thinks the Bible is “boring” as she told me not long ago- and so I bought her the action Bible- reads like a comic book. It’s at least a place to start! My son is making his way through reading the Bible in a year- at nearly 14 he wants a challenge- and loves marking off his reading and seeing the progress. I’m humbled by his commitment because I’ve never made it through the Word cover to cover. Love how our kids inspire us 🙂 If you want to chat more about this- drop me an email ( Blessings as you plant those seeds of truth!

    July 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm
  20. I fought tears as I read your words, remember the times when I felt like I failed my daughters. But yes, God was enough when I wasn’t. I’m now watching my own come to the realization that she isn’t enough for her four. I see her pointing them to God over and over, because He is enough for them, too. You have written this so beautifully. God will use it to bless more than me, I’m sure.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm
  21. This is so recognizable! Thank you for this post. You encourages a mother in Europe. Cool huh?

    July 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm
  22. Jedidja-

    I love the way motherhood crosses cultures and oceans 🙂 Such a sweet common-ground God has given us, isn’t it?

    July 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm

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