When I was in college, my mentor Jane gave me some feedback: “You’re good at a lot of things, but service is not your forte.” Ouch. Ever heard the phrase, “Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy”? Yep, it’s true. I have had to learn the hard way what Tim Keller describes as the freedom of self-forgetfulness. It’s that certain upside-downness to the Kingdom of God: “He who finds his life will lose it and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
I used to sit across the table from Jane in a Starbucks with my Bible learning these things. Nowadays, my discipleship comes in the form of three little ones demanding my time & attention, stripping away any last shred of patience and the will to act like I have it together. When my kids are throwing temper tantrums in public or I’m covered (literally covered) in poop, it seems impossible that I could have any pride left. And yet, there it is again. So I am mindful that my children and current circumstances have become my teachers and disciplers. And while the lessons have become more humbling and exposing, I see it as a good thing. Instead of allowing myself to be crushed under the standards of trying to be that perfect mom, I drink deeply and daily of the grace of God. Believe me, I need it.
As my kids grow and become more aware of my flaws, I don’t feel the pressure to try to hide or defend my shortcomings. I say to them, “There’s only one Jesus and I’m not Him. I need Him just as much as you do and all the rest of us.” Rejecting the urge to self-defend or self-deny, I put myself in a vulnerable place. A place where I must refuse the Momguilt and at the risk of repeating myself- embrace the grace.
[Side-note: I define Momguilt as shame felt over failure to be all things to all people at all times. When you’re working, you feel like you should be playing/spending time with your kids. When you’re focusing on your kids, you feel guilty that you should be cooking or cleaning your house. And so on & so on. I remind myself that I am finite and have limitations, therefore I cannot be all things to my kids or anyone else.]
Speaking of embracing the grace, I will be doing lots of more of that in the coming months. Current snapshot: It’s a Saturday morning. My 8 month old Juney, is sleeping and Ginger (4) & Pearl (2) are fighting while they watch Dora. And we found out a week ago that we are cooking a fourth. Ummm, what are we thinking??!?!? People tell me I’m crazy and honestly I agree- HA! What better time to start a blog, right? 😉
What’s a lesson you’ve learned from caring for a little one?