Derek sent me an article the other day. The title read, “Moms of 3 Are More Stressed Than Those with Any Other Number of Children.” Checks out. I replied.
Full transparency, didn’t bother to read the article. I mean, Adeline was complaining about a sick stomach, Oliver needed a diaper change. I didn’t even know where Landon was at the time.
I did have every intention of reading it, but in that moment, no time.
Later that night I laid there thinking, why did they cut out all that good parenting stuff from the bible? Jesus was a toddler and a teenager, He had hormones and mood swings right? I mean, that’s all part of being human.
Well, he was fully human, but he was also fully God. (I can’t unpack this today, I’m not even sure if I want to attempt to unpack it in my own words.)
Can you imagine being a sinner and trying to raise God? …I wonder if Jesus ever sat His earthly parents down and told them how best to handle certain situations…
Anyway, why was all that stuff left out? Because I’ve got both, a toddler and a teen (and a five year old who thinks she’s a mom).
I could use some words of wisdom about mothering from Mary. Or even a reminder that everyone went through the attitude stage. Even Jesus??
Maybe not. Perhaps it wasn’t put in so we wouldn’t hold our little broken babies to an unobtainable standard. Would we say things like, “Why can’t you be more like Jesus was when He was a teen?”
I know if I try my hardest everyday, I still fail. And I already know the difference between right and wrong. I already navigated through those awkward teen years. Maybe it’s better we don’t know what Jesus was like during those years.
But man, what I wouldn’t give for “The Gospel according to Mother Mary; the Toddler through Teen years. How to Raise a Child Holier than Thou.”
Maybe it’s best for me actually. Instead of trying to be more like Jesus, I could see myself trying to be the ultimate mother. Like Mary instead, not focusing on Jesus.
My calling is not to be more like Mary. It’s to be more like Christ. More patient, kind, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. More loving, joyful and peaceful. (Especially in parenting.)
Mary was not the example of these things, Christ was.
Listen, I know whatever the reason, it’s a good one. I’m only half joking here.
But, sometimes I do feel like I need a little extra help. And I know I’m not the only one out there that feels this way.
Thankfully, we no longer live in a society where “Leave it to Beaver” is the standard. We live in a time where our imperfections are starting to be seen as beautiful, because they are part of us.
I am so grateful this.
My children, they know I am not perfect. And though I have claimed that “Mommy will always find out,” I have never made a claim for perfection.
I saw this quote in a pretty Instagram image once and it stuck with me. It said, “My children do not need a perfect mother, they need a mother who is in love with a perfect God.”
That silly, pretty little image, was a great reminder of WHO the goal is. It’s not me, and it’s not my kids. It’s God.
Listen, some days I lose my mind, I raise my voice, and I even let an “f-bomb” fly. Is it pretty? Not one bit. (Might I remind you of the article I did not read…Moms of 3 Are More Stressed Than Those with Any Other Number of Children.)
Do I apologize every time I mess up? Every. Single. Time.
I cannot tell you how many times I have laid in Landon’s bed, next to him, apologizing for losing my cool. That conversation usually starts with tears and ends in laughter.
Between those tears and laughter I often remind him that I am also a work in progress. That I also need Jesus, and that my sins are battles I fight every day. Just like him.
For most of my childhood I held my parent’s up on this pedestal and thought that “I will never be that perfect, so why try?” They were not perfect. They never claimed they were, but that is how I saw them so often.
I swore that I was never going to allow my Landon to think that about me. Because it is an unnecessary pressure I put on myself, I didn’t want him to put it on himself.
Instead, I want all my babies to know the perfection of God’s grace.
I wrote this in an old journal of mine as I was studying Romans. (I honestly probably just googled “What is Grace?”) But here is what it says, “God’s Grace is – ‘mercy, not merit.’ Grace is the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and not getting what you do deserve.”
Under that paragraph in my journal is a quote by Paul Zahl. “Grace is unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it.”
God’s grace is extended to me because I have accepted Christ in my life as my Lord and Savior.
This doesn’t mean sin is “okay” in my life. I don’t sin and then use Grace as a get out of jail free card. This means that I try to be more like Jesus. By extending grace and forgiveness to myself, other people and my children.
It means I try to use Jesus as my example and live as he lived.
I know it’s not fully possible. He was both fully human AND fully God, but it is His love for me, that overflows out of me for others around me.
I hope my children can see that in me as a parent. And that they can see that in their lives as their relationship grows with their Heavenly Father.
And, some days I am better at showing them what that looks like, and other days I fail miserably.
Honestly, the only person I want my babies striving to be more like is Jesus. That’s the only one I need to be striving to be more like too.
When you love your God with all your heart, you accept His grace and forgiveness. For all your flaws, faults and failings. And that’s the beautiful part. That part removes the pressure, and should invoke the worship, the obedience.
My friend Brooke recently posted this on an Instagram post, and it was so well said:
“Christians, can we please stop saying, “I am enough”? I know I’ve whined about this before on here but it really is a falsehood we are spreading that does not reflect the truth of Scripture. I understand the sentiment behind it is meant to reflect that we have value and worth and are made in the image of God. Those things are true. We do have value because we are made in the image of God. But we are not enough. We never had been enough. Just read the story of Israel and you will start to get a good picture of how long and how deeply humans have not been enough. When you say that you are enough you are erasing your need for a Savior. The Bible demonstrates our sin and brokenness and our not enough-ness to point to the amazing grace of Christ’s enough-ness. God is enough in hard times and doubts and disappointments. Christ’s enough-ness is what covers me so that even though I’m am a selfish, disobedient brat somehow when God looks at me He sees the beautiful righteousness of Christ. So I think a truer coffee mug or t-shirt could say something like “I am not, nor will I ever be enough. God is infinitely more than enough.”
That’s just it. I am not enough.
I am not a good enough parent or person. Not without God’s grace covering me.
Even if I had “The Gospel according to Mother Mary,” I would still need God’s Grace in my parenting. In my life.
And that is okay, it’s more than okay. It’s BEAUTIFUL.
Because it’s in those hard moments of parenting (and in the easy ones too), God’s grace is there. And His grace IS enough.
For you, for me, for them.