Why I Am an Unfit Mother

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09.14.15 Lisa Smith

Motherhood wrecked me. I remember holding my firstborn for the first time. The pure love swelling through my soul. The ferocity of it all. The challenge to love, protect, nurture and raise well  this perfect baby girl came at me colliding with my own broken self. I vowed to God, “Whatever it takes.”

It wasn’t five minutes before I knew we were in over our heads.


I had no idea what that prayer meant, “Whatever it takes.”

Turns out, mothering takes our all. All our time. All the time.

That baby girl I vowed to love, protect, nurture and raise well? She, along with her sister and brothers, are the most precious gifts that keep giving. Mothering is a gift requiring us to give our all back to it every single second of every single day. A gift that leaves our broken laying before us, well, broken. When they fail, sorrow feeds my broken. When they succeed, humility pokes my broken. Mothering can be our greatest joy and our deepest sorrow. Our greatest pride and our deepest heartbreak. Mothering is after all, our heart laid bare, exposed.

As my daughter wears a big, blue sling and administers an IV to herself instead of taking her driver’s test, I realize how unknowledgeable I really am. Clueless. Unfit. As my son immerses himself in an iPad gaming adventure as the doctor shakes his hand, I realize how unable I really am. Clueless. Unfit. As my daughter tells stories about her friends and I later realize they are TV characters, I realize how unqualified I really am. Clueless. Unfit. As my son slumps next to me in the church pew sighing and squirming for the entire service, I realize how unprepared I really am. Clueless. Unfit.

Really, I am simply not fit to raise kids. Not alone. Not without prayer. [Click here to tweet this.]

But God.

God doesn’t want me to simply raise kids. He wants me to raise them prayerfully, His way. To Prayse Them is what I’m calling it. He knows I’m not fit. He made me unfit. He made me unable, unqualified, unprepared. He allowed me to be born broken. So I recognize my need for Him.

Nothing in my life leaves me face to face with my own broken like mothering. Nothing causes utter dependence on Him like mothering. Nothing.

A few months ago when I buried my face in the carpet beside my bed and cried out to God, I was feeling failure. I was humbled at how unfit I really am, how unknowledgable, how unable, how unqualified, how unprepared I still feel as a mother. My babies are (almost) grown. More teen than baby. And yet, here I am. Still clueless.

God reminded me He never intended for me to simply raise my kids because I can’t. I am unable, unknowledgeable, unqualified, unprepared, unfit, clueless when it comes to parenting His way. And God reminded me that I vowed not to raise my children well. But I vowed to raise my children His way. On that piece of soggy carpet, I vowed to prayse them all over again. I started all over again. In His Word. With His promises.

Now, when I am reminded of being unfit, I respond like this:

Lord, You tend Your flock like a shepherd: You gather the lambs in Your arms and carry them close to Your heart; gently leading (me) that has young. In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Isaiah 40:3)

And when I see my own brokenness reflected in those I vowed to do whatever it takes, I respond like this:

God, You know the plans You have for (Julia, Allyssa, Hunter and Palmer), You declare, plans to prosper them and not to harm them, plans to give them hope and a future. In Jesus’ name, Amen. (Jeremiah 29:11)

And although, I haven’t seen all the miracles I expect. I am encouraged. This unfit mother is becoming spiritually fit for the job of mothering. When I focus on how I’m praying for my kids instead of how I’m raising my kids, I am a mama who feels spiritually equipped and ready for whatever mothering may bring. When I focus on how I’m praying for my children instead of how I’m raising them, I see myself as the mother I want to be. [CLICK HERE TO TWEET THIS.]

As I prayerfully raise my children to be who God wants them to be, I become the mother He wants me to be.

Are you unfit to simply raise your kids too? Want quick personalizable prayers for your children straight to your inbox everyday? Sign up here to Prayse Them!

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