I feel like the worst mom in the whole world when I blow it. When I’m impatient with my kids. When I yell at them. When I respond harshly and watch their spirits wilt and recoil.
I did it again the other day.
My girls spent an hour cleaning their room. Their little chests puffed out when they asked me to come look at their work. Exhausted, weary and annoyed by other things in life, I pulled myself from the comfort of the couch to inspect their efforts and immediately spied twenty things wrong with their room. Shamefully, I lit into them. When there little faces fell, I justified it by telling myself, “They need to learn excellence and I must be the one to teach them.”
The Lord spoke, “Julie, you chose your desire for perfection over My desire to encourage their growth. You unnecessarily hurt their spirits. Go and repent.”
I did and they graciously forgave me.
In the aftermath, I’ve been digging a bit deeper about my sin and self-talk regarding mommy failure. Here are two truths God has been showing me about blowing it big:
1. Modeling vulnerability, humility and repentance are better than pretending to model perfection.
We all know perfection is a pipe dream, but it’s amazing how mad we get at ourselves when we miss the mark. When we blow it, it is important to remember that every good relationship thrives on vulnerability, humility, and repentance.
It starts with being vulnerable, humble, and repentant before God, first, “Lord, I blew it. I’m not responding to guilt, but to Your conviction and I repent for my sin. Would you forgive me and help me make things right between me and my child? Would you redeem this as only You can?”
Sure beats the extremes I’ve chosen in the past — the pendulum swing between self-condemnation by telling myself I’m “the worst mom in the world” or by denying the truth with guilt, “I’m sure there are worse moms out there.” Neither settle my spirit on truth.
It’s embarrassing to fail and even harder to admit it before the offended party, but humility, genuine repentance and reconciliation is what builds maturity in the heart of any believer. When we live this well in front of our children it not only gives them permission to mess up, but illustrates how to respond when they do. That is worth its weight in spiritual gold!
2. You are still the perfect person for the job — even when you mess up.
You may not feel like that perfect mom you see in church — especially after you’ve blown it — or the mom on social media who would make even Pinterest proud or even the wise author whose books you read, but you are who your child needs. God didn’t call someone else to do this job. He called you.
The other day, I asked my oldest to go get the broom and the mop out in the garage. I later discovered she sent her sister to do the chore because my husband had discovered a mouse in the garage the day before.
The incident reminded me of David, Saul, and Goliath.
David went to see King Saul prior to his epic battle with the giant. Saul told him something I often hear through the voice of the enemy, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33). Saul not only told David he couldn’t fulfill the mission God had called him to, but notice — he didn’t volunteer to do it himself either. Like my daughter convincing her sister to get the broom and mop because of a mouse in the garage, Saul was more than eager to send David to do the tough job. Ultimately, God didn’t call Saul. He called David to slay the giant. David had resources laughable to Saul and the rest of the army, but he had the power of God and slay the giant, he did.
When you blow it, remember — God called you to parent this child in this generation. When the armor is too big and the stones, too small — know that He will lead, equip and empower you to fight the battles He has called you to fight.
Every single one of us blows it. Even those you think are above all that. I heard a story the other day about Adrian Rogers, a well-respected pastor who throughout his lifetime held a number of notable leadership roles. A staff member from his ministry, Love Worth Finding, shares he was in studio recording with Rogers. At the last minute, he remembered he’d promised a recording to a radio station. Awkwardly, he asked Pastor Rogers, “What are you doing in the next few minutes?” in an attempt to broach the subject of making an additional recording. Rogers responded with, “Well now, that’s none of your business.” Rogers went on to make the necessary recording and left. A few hours later, the staff member received a phone call. It was a contrite Pastor Rogers who told him God had convicted him of his sarcastic response and said, “I hope you’ll forgive me.”
Our children know the real from the fake. When we mess up choosing humility at the expense of pride contrasts the difference between the two.
Blowing it big stinks. The good news is we serve a God who is not limited by our failure and doesn’t do condemnation. He is a Master at exchanging our ashes for beauty and our mistakes for His triumph.