A few months ago, when the weather was mild and our kids were playing together at a park, Janelle and I chatted about writing a few mothering posts for the blog.
“I don’t know,” she hesitated, when I pitched the idea. “I am very aware of my sins and shortcomings as a mom.”
“Me too!” I agreed. “But maybe that’s why we should write about it. If nothing else it will challenge us to be more faithful mothers.”
“I guess so,” she agreed, before calling to our children that it was time to go. A chorus of complaints met this announcement and we both looked at each other and laughed. “Yep, we’ve got a lot of work to do!”
We aren’t perfect mothers and we don’t pretend to be.
But that doesn’t mean we are content with imperfect. The mothering bar we’re aiming for is high. It has been set in place by God himself: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).
As moms we must be humble and admit we fall short of the bar of mothering perfection. Very. Far. Short. We are not always patient with our children. We are not always faithful to teach and train and discipline. We give in to selfishness, anger, laziness, and grumbling.
That’s why a mother who is grounded in the gospel looks two ways. She really does have eyes in the back of her head.
A gospel-centered mom first looks back to her justification in Christ. She remembers that all of her mothering sins and shortcomings have been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ. That he became sin for her that in him she might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
But she doesn’t stop there. The gospel-centered mom looks forward too. She strives with the Holy Spirit’s power that works within her to be perfect as her heavenly Father is perfect. She stands on the ground of forgiveness and accesses grace—through God’s Word, through counsel from godly women, and through prayer—to grow as a mom. To be more patient, more joyful, more consistent, more loving. To be perfect.
Moms need grace. We need grace to admit that we are weak and grace to not settle into those weaknesses. We need grace that frees and forgives and grace that gives power to grow.