When Motherhood Feels Like Childhood

“Dog Mask” by Krista Nuñez

“You’re the best mom, EVER!” he squealed, as I finished tying the mask onto his head.

To be honest, I didn’t take pleasure in creating the mask.

I was annoyed.

All I wanted was to sit down and drink at least one HOT cup of coffee. A couple hours had already passed Saturday morning, and I had served the kids with a happy heart, but I wanted a mommy-break with a hot cup of coffee.

“You’re welcome,” I managed to say while exhaling.

Then it happened.

All three of my children played happily with each other. They created a fort and pretended to be dogs and dog owners. The view and story line was priceless.

While sitting on the couch, sipping my hot coffee, my mind drifted back to my own childhood. I don’t remember playing sweetly like this…

Several memories returned to me and my heart grew heavy with regret and sorrow.

O, Lord! How I wish I had been able to play without adulteration smeared throughout the language and actions. Or without fear of being abused overwhelming my being.

“Enjoy them!” I heard the Lord say to me. “Relish in their childhood.”

The rest of the day wasn’t perfect or filled with obedient children at every step, but I delighted in their play, in their curiosity, in their need for me.

These moments of self-awareness and self-evaluation reveal themselves more frequently since I’ve started speaking out about my past sexual abuse and abusive upbringing.

“Christians are often apt to refuse to look clearly at life. An honest look is too distressing and demands deeper trust in God than we may be inclined to have. The core of all denial is the refusal to trust God in the midst of unexplained and unabated suffering,” (Allender, Dan. The Wounded Heart. Colorado Springs: 1990, 242).

Allender’s words “too distressing” accurately describe how I have walked through much of my life because of the “unexplained and unabated suffering” from my childhood. Everything substantial seemed to create great distress within me.

As a result, I ran from God.

Disobedience always comes with a cost. For me, I postponed my ability to feel positive emotions at my core for longer than just a moment, living in depressive numbness.

“Peaceful coexistence cannot exist between the Lord” and any other false god or belief system, including self-reliance, because it will “eventually lead to compromise, and with compromise…a confusion of loyalties” (Swindoll, Charles. Living Above The Level of Mediocrity. Plano: 2002, 131).

I confessed my sin of selfishness to my son and asked his forgiveness for having growled at his initial request. He sweetly forgave me and then barked at me before running back to his dog house.

Finger-painting, climbing trees, riding bikes, and giggling over homemade French-fry-sword fights at dinner softened my heart and helped me enjoy the spark-and-life God has infused within my babies.

We finished the evening with star-gazing post-bath time. We listened to the crickets and made up their conversations. We tried to guess if the vehicles passing were a car, van, or truck just by looking at the headlights and the sound of the engine. We made up stories about the shining stars and pretended they were moving.

And we giggled, snuggled, and loved one another.

Thank you, Lord, for these times when motherhood feels like childhood should.


What’s your next step?

Are you apt to refuse to look at life clearly or experience distress regularly? Instead of relying upon your strength, lean heavily upon the good-nature and righteousness of the Lord to face and, ultimately, to heal a little more deeply. After all, there is so much beauty and joy to experience in His unfailing love.

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
    he is faithful in all he does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of his unfailing love.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth (Ps. 33.4-6).

Join me on the healing journey.

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