As a writer/encourager of parents, I often hear from moms like me who not only suffered as children at the hands of others but are further burdened by the realization that as they struggled for emotional balance they caused suffering for their own children too.

Here’s just a sample excerpt from the heart-wrenching story of a mom who’d transcended much to finally become a good mom:

Can these things -- these insecurities and emotional damage/neglect, or feelings of loneliness and somehow feeling rejected -- can these things be healed? I know God can -- and is willing to -- do anything. And He works with and through our mistakes. And He loves our children more than we do. I still wish I knew, though, of ways to perhaps correct mistakes that were made, judgments that were made in haste, or excessive punishment for simple childish behaviors and mistakes, simply because Mommy's heart and mind were enduring more in life than she could handle. My heart still hurts over all of it. 

My babies are so precious, such sweet, kind, loving children who are a joy to everyone who meets them. And my heart still breaks every time I think of years past when they needed a mommy and Mommy was too wrapped up in personal turmoil to really and truly see them and respond to them the way they needed.  How do you get past all of that? How do you help to heal those hurts, outside of moving forward and just plain doing things differently? Is that all you can do? I am so thankful for a God of redemption and grace and mercy. Surely He will be that in my children's lives as well.

For those of us who came from shattered pasts, these words may sting. Even if we’ve recovered, we worry about the time before God got hold of us and wouldn’t let go.

And I can think of no better time to offer this for reflection than as we approach Easter. This week we will focus intensely on Jesus crucified for our sins, and through Lent we have asked God to show us – no matter how much it hurts – all the times we have made the wrong choices, all the hurt we have caused others and all the occasions on which we have grieved Him.

Each of us starts this journey of parenting wanting to be perfect – many of us determined to be better mothers than our own. But parenting has a way of breaking you.  Inevitably something happens that brings us face to face with the reality of how far short we've fallen. And it seems that those who’ve tried the hardest often have farther to fall when God brings us to the realization that we’ve tried to do it on our own steam, not understanding our dependence on Him.

When Jesus healed, the blind could see, the lame could walk, the possessed found peace. We can do that too, trusting in Him to guide our sight, our steps and our sanity as we move forward with our lives. For mothers who need a fresh start, I just want to encourage you to focus on the path in front of you and not to be crippled by your past. Our children at some point will have to deal with the fact that their parents were not perfect. It will be a test by which God will help them grow – if they let Him.

My point is that God is bigger than any mistakes you have made.

Is something troubling you today? Are you feeling remorseful, guilty or unworthy? The celebration of Jesus's sacrifice for us – His death and Resurrection – is a wonderful opportunity to confess and lay these burdens at the foot of the cross, to apologize to anyone you have hurt, to mend broken relationships and to allow the Resurrection to shine in your own life beginning this moment.

Blessings to you all this Easter!

Barbara Curtis is an author and mother of 12 who blogs at MommyLife.net.

Publication date: April 3, 2012