If you’re a mom, you’ve probably given yourself one or more, “Mom Awards”. You know the ones I mean: “Worst Mom of the Hour/Day/Week/Month/Year or Decade”; and the most despised: “Worst Mom of the Century”.
I have a closet full! There are days when I received all of them in one afternoon.
We rarely give ourselves awards for the things we do well, but oh how quickly we are to engrave our names on the trophy cups of failure and shame. And then place them on the dark shelves of our past
We declare ourselves failures when we
scold and attempt to parent with harsh words spoken in sleep-deprived frustration to our little ones.
We award ourselves trophies of failure because we angrily punished our children rather than disciplining in love.
We stepped up to receive the gold medal of failure when we quickly abandoned the best-laid-plans to lead our children with daily devotions.
Yes, I’ve done all that and worse. And, I’ve sat by their beds late at night while they slept, writing letters of apology. I had to; just in case they recalled my horrible days of failure should they need therapy as adults. I still have the letters. Just in case.
There, it’s out there, I have more stories I could tell. The worst part is that I refused to extend grace to myself. Instead, I mercilessly judged myself as a bad parent.
Guilt? Yes! Feeling like a failure? Yes! There was no way to remove it. I would try to cover it with kind acts; maybe I would make cookies or dish up ice cream, or plan a trip to the park, but always lingering in the background was the closet full of trophies.
However, one day I learned that there was a way to remove the guilt: Come to Jesus and confess the sin.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 NIV
“For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean…” – Hebrews 10:22 NLT
And so, like King David, I cried out to the Lord:
“My guilt overwhelms me – it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins. I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long I walk around filled with grief.” – Psalm 38:4-6 NLT
Amazingly, when I cried out and confessed my sin — my failures and my selfish angry reactions to my children being children — Jesus cleansed me, just as he promised he would.
Did I immediately become a great mom? No. That’s still in the works. Did my closet of trophies disappear? No. But the door doesn’t get opened as often.
Over the years I’ve grown more adept at asking for forgiveness, both from the Lord and from the boys. It is good to keep a short account, to confess sin quickly.
Sometimes now, the boys will laugh at me when I bring up long ago events and ask for their forgiveness. They, like the Lord, are quick to forgive, and quick to forget.
There is much freedom that comes with forgiveness. And despite all my failures, my son’s have grown into great men who love the Lord, and who are leading their families to worship and serve Him.
Yes, I may not have been the best mom, but I am assuredly the most blessed mom. And, by the grace of God, my boys survived my parenting fails.
Moms, please don’t let your failures, your harsh words, your impatience, your frustrations define you as a mother, or as a person. You don’t have to live in guilt or shame, Jesus died for you, too. Let him cleanse you, and remake you. How? Cry out to him, ask for forgiveness, ask for rescue, and ask him to save you. He will. And he will restore you, and give you a purpose. Then Jesus will give you the greatest gift: the privilege of introducing him to your children.
Happy Mother’s Day.