“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Philippians 3:12 ESV
“Motherhood is a million little moments that God weaves together with grace, redemption, laughter, tears, and most of all, love.” Lysa TerKeur
I call myself a recovering perfectionist. As a child, I demanded the best from myself and expected to pass every test with no less than 100%. I subconsciously expected my children would be the same. Instead of pressuring them to study harder or perform better, I took any lack of motivation or average (normal!) performance as personal failure. I believed it would be my fault if they did not succeed in life. I feared for their futures more than enjoying the sweet moments we could share because they were not striving for perfection like I had done.
Motherhood became very daunting when I labeled myself a failure with every sin, developmental delay or setback one of my children experienced. I falsely assumed that if my children were successful and happy (as I defined it), then I could become a successful and happy mom (when all the hard work was finished someday, of course). Eventually, I started losing sleep from the anxiety of expecting myself to be a perfect parent and wanting them to have a perfect life, so I cried out to God. My loving Savior gently reminded me I was not called or qualified to perfect myself or my children.
“You see, all have sinned, and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed.” Romans 3:23 (Voice)
Abiding in Christ leads us to true joy, not our accomplishments or the way our children turn out. Our calling as moms is not to be happy and make our children happy, but to become holy and show our children how to find their joy in Jesus.
I started to read Ephesians 1 over myself and my children every morning. I love how The Passion Translation says our heavenly Father “sees us wrapped up in Christ” in Ephesians 1:3b. Sweet mama, when God the Father looks at you, He is not checking to see if you’ve done enough, been good enough, or if your children are coming out alright. He looks at you and sees the righteousness of Jesus. His reflection dances in His eyes when He looks into yours. What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Dear friend, my prayer for you and I, as we maneuver through each stage of parenting, is that we remember that we are made complete in Christ and not anything else. When Jesus looks at you, dear one, He sees only love. Look back to Him, Mama. He is your source. If you look for your joy in Christ rather than in your children or your parenting abilities, you might actually find it!
We can enjoy motherhood for the long haul because our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. Don’t let the circumstances of your life or your children turn your face away from the One who gave you life. Set your heart on the “well done” that awaits you in heaven, and you and your descendants for generations to come will be blessed.
Kacy Ladd and the Help Club for Moms team