“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their face.” Psalm 34:4-5 (NLT)
We were grateful to have our adult kids home for Thanksgiving, helping with preparations for family and friends joining us for the meal. Afterward, as we washed dishes, we reminisced on past gatherings in our house. The kids had plenty of memories from the many celebrations we hosted, but to my surprise, their recollections were not complimentary:
They did not feel confident when helping with a task. They had the feeling their effort was not good enough. There was an atmosphere of tension in the preparation. In short, they did not look forward to hosting parties in our home because of my behavior.
Immediately, my heart sank, and I had this overwhelming feeling of REGRET! Instantly I thought, “Oh, no, I failed!” Yes, my mind began to travel down the road of shame and remorse. What snapped me back into reality were the words a mentoring mom spoke to me years ago: “As a mother, you will look back and think of all the things you could have done better. But remember, you did the best you could with what you knew at the time.”
Listening to the kids share their perspectives, I held my tongue! I noticed their dialogue was open and free, and they laughed while telling their stories. Though hard to hear, I grasped at that moment that all of my efforts as a mother were imperfect because I am flawed; I’m human, and that’s OK. God knew me when he entrusted those babies to me, and he promises to redeem my sin and its effects. Not only that, He uses my sinful self to bring about his plans for me, my family, and the world! (Gen. 50:20).
So, if you have been anxiously asking, “Am I doing this whole mommy thing right?” the answer is, “No, you aren’t, and that’s OK.” We can only be in the moment what we are. Putting on the pretense that we are better than we are is hypocrisy. This inadequacy drives us to the transformation found in God’s Word and in prayer. As you rest in God’s grace and love, you will find joy in your imperfect children and your imperfect mothering.
I am thankful that our kids love coming home as adults. They enjoy our company and think we are fun. They savor the memories of our family gatherings and still love to vacation with us. As a seasoned mom, I reflect on my parenting with confidence as the Apostle Paul reminds me, “(God’s) grace is all you need. (His) power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Cor. 12:9 NLT).
Melissa and the Help Club for Moms team