I’m going to state the obvious right out of the gate. It’s the bad news we’re familiar with.
Being a mom is incredibly difficult.
Had you said that to me when I was pregnant with my first child, I would have laughed in your face.
Had you said that to me when I was a new mama with a fresh babe in my arms, I would have laughed nervously because the giving birth and recovery part was hard, but the mothering? It seemed so easy from my vantage point. My new baby needed me. And that felt good. Sure, I was exhausted. But incredibly difficult? Nah.
Had you said that to me when I had three young babies and preschoolers, I’d have nodded my head in agreement. Remembering how many timeouts I’d doled out that day and that someone was always following me around. Even into the sacred space of the bathroom.
Had you said that to me when I had grade schoolers, preschoolers, and babies under my care, I’d have high-fived you, and hugged you in the same movement. Because it is difficult.
And if you said it now that I have a teenager, middle and grade schoolers, preschoolers, and a baby my eyes might start to well up in the corners. Because it is incredibly difficult.
It isn’t incredibly difficult because of my kids. Not always, anyways.
Mostly, it’s hard because I don’t always behave well toward my kids.
Moms are faced with opportunity after opportunity to choose wisely or unwisely. Selfishly or selflessly. In light of the grace given to us or not.
And that is incredibly difficult.
It doesn’t matter how many kids you have, or how big they are. It just so happens that for me, as the number of kids grew and then the actual kids grew, the stakes grew too. The choices you make will become more and more important as your kids grow.
You’ll be less and less able to sweep bad choices under the rug, because kids notice.
They’re forever assimilating information. And unfortunately we don’t get to choose what they keep and what they overlook. It’d be swell (though creepy and harmful) if we were able to program their brains to remember only the good stuff. But alas, we can’t. So we’re stuck with the risk of them remembering the junk too. Because there will be junk.
We will utter careless words.
We will get angry, and react in embarrassing and regrettable ways.
We will raise our voices to levels we never thought possible.
We will argue with their father.
We will be so exhausted that we treat them poorly.
We will partake in sinful habits that are hard to shake.
We will push them to the backburner in search of our own interests.
We will be impatient with questions, nagging, messes, the dragging of feet, and bedtimes.
We will be overly sensitive.
Yeah, there’s a lot of junk. But it isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s good in a way. Without screwing up and feeling awful about it, we wouldn’t see our need for help.
Help in the form of Jesus.
He is the good news in all this.
The moment we accept His covering — His redemptive act on our behalf on the cross, is the very same moment He lifts us from our mess. Sets us back on our feet, and bids us to keep walking toward Him. Grace lifts. And urges us to keep moving forward.
There is no grace punch card that is full of punches and then must be handed over. Jesus doesn’t run out of the desire to lift us. He does it because He loves us.
Just as we lift our toddling child as she learns to step — face plants and steps again. We cheer, we lift, we cheer again. We never grow tired or weary of lifting our children back to their feet. They are learning and growing, so we show them grace.
The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. – Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
See? He loves us this way.
He bids us forward. One step.
I kept my voice controlled in the face of a lying child.
I held my tongue this time when my child repeated the same mistake. Because she already knows.
This is forward.
Not perfect. Just onward.
This is you. Moving into and reminding yourself of the grace given you. He lifts.
So we lift. Again and again. Choice after choice.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.