“The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” (Psalm 145:8 NASB)
I love my job. It’s my calling. I am a wife and a mother. I love it. It’s not easy, really, but it is still wonderful and worth whatever it costs.
I want to be a good mom. I want to parent well. I love the feeling of victory when instead of freaking out and losing my patience, I actually witness God’s grace moving through me to help me be patient. That is growth that I can praise the Lord for, and it is really encouraging.
But what about the other times when I fail?
“Our ultimate joy as parents is not dependent on our ability to parent well. God’s smile on us is not contingent upon anything other than the record of the beloved Son. It is based on our belief that Jesus has already done it all perfectly for us. Grace simply means resting in Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” – from Give Them Grace, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
This is the good news of the Good News isn’t it? We can rest in the grace we receive because of our covenant relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son. Furthermore, His Spirit fills us and guides us and comforts us and convicts us. It’s pretty awesome when you let that sink in.
I don’t have to be perfect. Well I can’t be. But I can rely on the One who is perfect, receive His grace for me, and let that grace flow through me onto my husband and children.
Big. Sigh. of Relief.
But wait… Am I operating in this grace or am I still trying to operate under the Law? Am I implementing the Law on others, as well? Am I focused on what is “good” and “bad” and missing the joy and mercy and peace that comes when I realize that there is nothing good in me apart from Him and His grace? This will be true for others, as well, so Lord help me see others through Your eyes.
This becomes most clear for me when I am annoyed with my children for something, but I fail to recognize my own part in the situation (when applicable). For example, I am annoyed because we are late again to the library for story time. We are late every time! Sure, the children did not obey me and get their shoes on and their hair brushed when I asked them to, and this made the whole process of getting out of the door another ten minutes longer even though they are very capable of doing this themselves and when I ask. However, could I have started the process of getting us ready to get out the door much sooner? Could I have anticipated the difficulty of getting three small children out the door and into the van in a timely fashion? Could I have stopped what I was doing sooner to help them get started with the process? Could I be more patient in this instant while dealing with little ones who are still learning?
Maybe you’ve been here before?
This is hard when someone is whining or disobeying or arguing or hurting little sister or when husband doesn’t understand that Mommy needs a break right now (I mean, they are just as imperfect as we are remember)… And if I’m the one doing the whining then we are really in trouble!
My calling as a wife and a mother is to my husband and my children. I may have other talents and abilities, but this is my calling. I can do those other things as long as I am taking care of this calling.
What I have learned about all of this is that it takes a servant’s heart. It takes humility and sacrifice.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1,2 ESV)
“It is no abstract thing – the state of your heart is the state of your home. You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender. You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys. And perhaps most importantly, you cannot resist your opportunities to be corrected by God and expect them to receive correction from you. God has given us the job of teaching His law and demonstrating His grace. We are to be guides to our children as they learn to walk with God.” – from Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, by Rachel Jankovic
I must rely on the Lord to make sure my heart is right. Then I am filled up, by Him, to be poured out onto them. It is a glorious way to live life – walking in love and giving oneself up as a sacrifice to God. It’s a choice that presents itself not only daily, but throughout each day.
Then I can be a grace-full mama for His glory.
And those moments when I have to say I am sorry and ask for forgiveness? Those moments teach them grace, too.
Is my attitude towards my husband and kids grace-filled? Am I allowing God’s grace to fill me?