• Angelene Woodard

Free to be Me


Hiding my weaknesses and shortcomings has become a hobby of mine over

the past several years. Oh, yes. I enjoy long walks on the beach, reading

mystery novels, and trying to improve upon all the traits I find

unsatisfactory.

Thankfully, I have come to a point in life where I can not only stop trying to

fix my broken self, but I can accept myself for who I truly am. Actually, I can

take it a step further.

By God’s grace, I can embrace those traits that make me feel so insecure.


Let’s say I make a list with two columns. The first

column is titled, God-given Traits I am Satisfied

With. The second column is titled, God-given

Traits I Wish God had Never Given Me.

(Note: This is strictly a hypothetical list. I mean, it's not like I literally wrote a list on a piece of my kids' notebook paper with a Hello Kitty pencil or anything. Puleez. That would be so pathetic.)

For the sake of time, let’s pretend this list is specific to motherhood.

Some of the traits listed in the first column would be: strong intuition,

nursed all three babies for the first year of their life without too much

trouble, and loves to read to the children.

Some of the characteristics I would like to change or eliminate

altogether would be: hates to play games with the children, delivered all

three babies via c-section, and worst homeschool mom in the universe.

Now, I believe with my whole heart that God made me this way. He created

my personality, my strengths, and my weaknesses.

For real. He knew before I knew that I would love to read aloud to my little

ones. Likewise, He knows I hate Candy Land with all that is within me.

So why do I sometimes feel guilty for my weaknesses pertaining to

motherhood? Why do I sometimes feel confident and proud in my strengths?

At the end of the day, it’s not about me, my personality, or my mothering

abilities at all.

When the last book is read, when the last baby is weaned, I shouldn’t be lost

in my own head about how I’m rockin’ it as a mother. I should be praising

my God for this lovely experience He has blessed us with.

Likewise, when the stitches are removed from the final babies’ delivery and I

decline an encore round to Chutes and Ladders, why am I obsessing about

how I coulda-shoulda-woulda done it all different? Wouldn’t it make more

sense to focus on the fact that God in Heaven already knows my weaknesses

and He chose me to mother these kiddos anyway? Shouldn’t I just pray a

little prayer asking God to intervene when I’m less than perfect?

This never-ending, two-column list runs strong through my head and heart.

And it sucks the life right out.

I’m getting it all wrong when I focus on what I get right and wrong.

I’m not concentrating on the big picture.

The big picture isn’t about me at all. It isn’t about motherhood. It isn’t even about the children.

It’s about the One who called me to motherhood.

Right. Wrong. Good. Bad. Strong. Weak.

One way or another, it all points back to God. If I let it.

When the focus is on His provision, His ways, and His grace, I am not zoned

in on my lack or my abundance. I am focused on Him.

That totally frees me to just accept who I am. I can accept all the traits listed

in both ridiculously detailed columns.

Strengths and weaknesses don't really matter much anymore. Keeping score

is pointless. I can just be me without needing to overcompensate, stress,

celebrate, or think much of it all.

Motherhood is not a test, or a race, or an opportunity to try harder; it’s an

opportunity to lean hard into Jesus.

Motherhood is not a chance to stare at ourselves, glare at ourselves, smirk,

frown, or smile arrogantly into the mirror. He already sees us. Do we see

Him?

When we lay our whole selves down before Him and know we are seen, He

grants us the grace and mercy to just be.

Thanks so much for reading.

Angelene Woodard is a wife, mother, writer, and reluctant homeschooler who blogs about her frustrations and victories at www.unqualifiedmom.com where she encourages fellow Christians to embrace their weakness and accept His strength. Click here to subscribe to the blog.