Aaron spent a lot of time last summer writing. He wrote each day about things that were important to him, and stories from his life. Right now he's in the midst of making this into a book and I know I'm biased, but you will love it. Seriously love it. Anyhow, a few days ago we were going through some of the old entries and I ran across something he had written about me. I stopped dead in my tracks because I wanted to read some encouragement from my husband and since that day, I can't stop thinking about it.
I have read that page a few times since then, and each time I still don't believe it. Aaron wrote words that day proclaiming me to be an awesome mother. He wrote about the love I have for our children, the ways I point them to Jesus, and how good I am at this whole mothering gig. Tears arrived the first few times I read this because, friends, most days I don't feel like this. Most days I feel as though I'm failing my kids.
Parenting is the thing in my life that is the hardest for me. It's the one thing I lose sleep over. It's the one thing I feel as though I'm constantly taking 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. It's the thing that I am battling constantly for making me feel as though I'm missing out, or getting the raw end of the deal. It's the thing that keeps me clinging to Jesus the most.
I was chatting with a friend yesterday about some verses in 2 Corinthians where Paul is talking about the thorn in his flesh actually keeping him closer to Jesus. I immediately thought of the time that we waited for our kids to come home from Haiti. It was a time that I was closer to Jesus than ever before because I needed Him so much. Then my mind moved to present day life. I was thinking about what keeps me longing for Him more, and my first thought was parenting.
I want my kids to see Jesus in me so much and yet so many times, I feel as they only see the sin in me. (Maybe my kids are what God is using to show me my blazing sin!!! – There's a thought!!) The sins that don't come out in public. The ones that don't show up on a stage. The sins that don't speak up on a podcast. They get to see my struggles and my insecurities up close and personal.
Yet, they also see me apologize and learn from mistakes. They see me doing better than last time, and they see me pursuing their hearts even when they don't want me to.
My encouragement for all of us momma's today (speaking to myself mainly here, but thought I'd include you as well in case you are feeling like me today!) is this: Keep on needing Jesus. Parenting is not something that I want to do well so that I can get a gold star at the end of my days. I want to parent well because I want my kids to love Jesus well. End of story. Nothing else.
So today I'm thinking that they are seeing the real me (and all my sin) and seeing Jesus. Because the real me, even with all my crap, does show them Jesus. I think so many times we want our lives to reflect perfection and we think that will then equal Jesus, but let's be honest with ourselves for a minute. When our lives display our screw ups and us still loving Jesus, and Him still loving us, then we are displaying the gospel to people. The message of Jesus is that even in the midst of our sin He loves us, pursues us, and values us.
I'm starting to feel that my inadequacies in parenting actually shows my kids Jesus. My struggles in parenting shows them Jesus. Because here's the deal friends, I'm not giving up. I'm not letting my insecurities, inadequacies, and sinful heart keep me from showing them Jesus. In fact, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that all of those things that I feel make me a bad mom, actually make me a good mom. They make me a mom that needs Jesus a whole stinking lot. They make me a mom that knows I can not do this on my own. I want my kids to know that their momma needs and loves Jesus a lot.
I've heard it said before that the mark of a true believer is not one that never sins, but one that constantly is fighting the sin. I'm here to say that the mark of a great momma is not one that does it all perfectly, but one that is constantly fighting for more of Jesus to overflow from her. That is what I want my kids to see. Jesus.