This Mother’s Day I bask in the beauty to be found and treasured in the gift of our children. I also found myself thinking differently today about the blessing that motherhood really has been in my spiritual life.
As I prayed this morning, Jesus revealed something pretty neat to me. It wasn’t something I had never thought about, but He showed it to me in a light I had never quite seen before.
We tend to think that being a good Mother means all of these awesome and exceptional things. Taking care of our household, showing up to and doing a good job at work, putting our children’s needs before our own – those are all good things. But they aren’t what I think the end-all, be-all of good mothering really is. At least not in the eyes of the Lord.
See, back in the days when my children were younger, I wasted some of those years trying to be that “perfect mother”. In the process, I failed miserably to meet my own expectations or those by which the world might measure it by. My kids didn’t have a horrible childhood by any means, but I was trying to step into what I thought motherhood was supposed to be. I found myself feeling like an alien. I was never going to be that soccer mom, that mom who bakes and crafts, the one who could work to help supplement the finances, stay fit, do all those mom-type things, and still put God first.
I struggled. And somehow I knew none of that stuff was going to make me a good mom anyway. But I felt like a failure anyway. I felt like a failure that I couldn’t be that good mom.
Then I felt like a failure when I gave up trying to be that good mom, and what was left was just….me. The flawed and imperfect way that I was.The mess that I was at times. The mom who yelled sometimes, couldn’t strike the balance between her work and home life, and sinned all the time when she felt she was losing control.
That didn’t seem to be what I would call a “good mom” either.
- I struggled with being a grown up
- I struggled with being responsible for all of these people that I loved
- I thought all the other moms seemed so “together” – especially the Christian ones.
- I struggled with being the role model that I thought I should be for these dear children.
I reached a point where I threw up my hands and prayed and said “God, help me accept that I stink as a Mother.”
Before you think I am embarking upon a self-deprecation thing here, please read on. It was in that moment, that freedom in Christ began to come into my life, friends. In realizing I couldn’t be the “good mom” I think God actually empowered me to become a good mom. The real kind of good mom. The real kind of Godly Mother.
Even during those younger days, I loved my children through it all, see. I didn’t love them as well as I would have liked to have, but I did love them. I loved them through my failings. And in turn, I loved them through theirs. As I prayed this morning, I realized…”isn’t that what Jesus does for us? Loves us through our failings?”
I got so caught up before in the fact our Father loves US in OUR failings, but that HE is perfect, that I forgot for a time that .. “oh yeah….I am human too.” I just kept thinking that I was supposed to never fail – to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, etc. I was bound up. I was in my eyes a “walking failure” as a parent.
Has that happened to you? Does it still happen to you sometimes?
From the beginning, tried very hard to listen to that inner voice – the Holy Spirit about how to parent these beautiful souls that the Lord entrusted to my husband and myself. Some of the things I was supposed to hear, I did. And those things went well. Things like “each child is different and fair does not always mean equal…equal is not always fair.” I heard that from the get go.
But a lot of what I was supposed to hear, I think I pushed away. I squashed it. I didn’t listen. Things like “it will help your children to see that you are not perfect either and that you bring that to me, your God, to wash away and to help you grow stronger in me.”
But even though I didn’t hear or didn’t listen to some of these important things…guess what? Through those mistakes and through that willful disobedience that my children’s own mother displayed toward the Lord and the Holy Spirit, much growth occurred.
God has his hands around us, see. We are HIS. And He didn’t let go of us. Not one of us in this little family.
Yes, I acted like a spoiled brat as I was trying to be an “adult” all those years. I dstill do sometimes. Ironically, in the face of trying to learn to be the mature, perfect, motherly role model, I acted in the most immature and irresponsible ways much of the time. But God really did use that for good – beyond what I ever expected. I see the fruit of that today. It is evident in all of our lives.
A few years ago, as I realized that I had accepted the gift of salvation as a child, but had not actually made Jesus the Lord and Savior of my LIFE; that I had not turned over the reins of my life to Him; it dawned on me – the difficult truth:
I was not a true follower of Jesus Christ. I was not a real Christian. I didn’t know the first thing about grace, surrender, or my real need for my Savior. And I hadn’t decided to give my life up yet.
Things began to change as I went back to the beginning – I struggled and gave up and was finally a baby Christian – a real one. I had finally been “born again.” And I felt like an infant. I probably acted like one too.
These last five years I have prayed more than ever to remain child-like in my faith in Christ and my walk with Him. I still struggle with the line between being an upright and responsible adult with adult-like tasks and duties before me daily, while remaining child- like and coming to the lap of Jesus every single day.
It’s hard to be a grown up when you are truly just a little baby. I find myself wanting to scream “Waaaa” all the time. (I do it sometimes in the car, by the way – just so ya know).
It has been in these last few years that motherhood has become more what I feel it is supposed to be. As a full-blown child screaming in need of her Savior and His grace, I have been fortunate enough to be able to show my children just how flawed every one of us is, yet how beautiful we still are to Jesus. And that is an awesome thing.
Jesus has used me to show my children we are all His children, no matter what age we are. Jesus has shown my kids that we can be good stewards, work hard, yet need to come to Him for guidance and support all the time – cause none of us will ever not need it.
It’s life that is a struggle at times, but not trying to be a perfect mother is what has helped me to see the good parts of what kind of mother I actually am. The real kind. The flawed kind. The one who loves Jesus more than how awesome and perfect she can be, kind.
And that is the only kind that I can be.
At the end of this life, I feel that the things I can feel best about regarding my role as Mother to these three wonderful children are as follows:
- My husband and I introduced them to Jesus and they all love Him more than anything or anyone else.
- We were fortunate enough to give them one another and emphasize that family is vital – church family most definitely included.
- I was able to embrace that I am the child of God as well, and that is the one area in which I feel I have been a good role model as a mom….showing that we all are His children and we all NEED our Father, our Savior, our King.
I am a child for a mother – sometimes I can still be a bratty one, but most of the time I just enjoy being one of God’s kids along with my own kids now.
Sometimes I throw tantrums – so do my children.
Sometimes I get silly – so do they.
Sometimes I cry and get confused – they do too.
But one thing we all have in common is that we are ALL coming to the feet of our Father .. we are ALL in His mighty grip … we are ALL saved by His grace and mercy and the sacrifice He made for us.
I am a child for a Mother – this Mother’s Day and every day. I am so thankful for this – there is freedom in that – freedom in no longer struggling constantly to be something that I can never be. Freedom in being God’s child more than my children’s “perfect” mother.
In that release, in that surrender, the true “good” mother in me gets to come out. The true friend in Christ emerges. The true follower after Jesus, through the good, the bad, and the really ugly, shines. The true child, down to the nitty-gritty, below the molecular, most simplified level possible of who Jesus is in ME, bursts forth.
His perfection covers and then outshines my many little flaws.
If there is one thing in life I hope I teach my children, it is this precious piece of wisdom given by God:
~ Remember you are a child of Christ ~ and act that way, live that way, walk that way. Come to His lap daily and be his little one. He is your one true parent. He will never leave you, never forsake you, and values you beyond your comprehension. ~
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9
This is where my dignity as a mother resides: I am a child of God. He lives inside of me. I am saved by the blood of Jesus and the daughter of the One True King!
He lives inside of my three beautiful children and my wonderful husband. We are his children and we will live with Him for all eternity. And we are loved.
This world will try to steal our child-like spirit as we try to walk with Jesus, friends. Continue to follow after Him anyway. There are oppositional forces at work that are very real, and very intent on destroying it – making you “grow up” or distorting what being responsible and hard-working really means for one of God’s children.
But God is greater than this – He has conquered the world!
We can walk as we should, but sometimes we may still lose our way – that’s when we have to open our eyes and pray and ask for Him to reveal His footsteps to us. Sometimes we even have to allow Him to carry us for a while, and that’s okay.
It’s part of what children must do sometimes. Our Father’s got this!
And this is the ultimate in comfort and motherly love that I can offer my children:
~That He is watching over them even more than I am.
~ That He is ready for you to come to Him and sit on His lap every single day.
~ That there is no shame in taking shelter under His wing.
~ And that we must be willing to receive even more than we realize.
May my children know these words that Jesus has given to their mother – their child of a mother. May they live it. May they bask in it. May they place it inside of their very hearts, souls, and let it live there. Forever.