I’ve got a perfectly imperfect mother.
Those may not sound like “tribute-worthy” words, but they most certainly are! I had the special blessing of spending this past weekend at Forest Home, in the beautiful southern California mountains, with my mom and my sister, Emmy. We attended a women’s retreat and enjoyed wonderful teaching, meaningful worship, and lots of laughs!
The theme of the weekend was “No More Ms. Perfect”. The speaker, Jill Savage, talked about the need to rid ourselves of the “perfection infection”, as she called it. We, as women, all fall prey to it, don’t we? Whether we expect perfection out of ourselves or others (or both!), we are never fully satisfied and frequently struggle to “measure up”. And there is a lot to measure up to! Facebook, Pinterest, playdate comparison games…they all tell us just how very far we fall short!
As I have been reflecting on the weekend, and also thinking about what I wanted to say in tribute to my mom, I realized that one of the greatest gifts my mom has given me is the gift of being an imperfect mother.
My mom has never been shy about sharing her struggles and failures. In doing so, she’s given me the grace to accept my own weaknesses and my own mistakes. When we present perfection to our children and to the outside world, we do two things:
1. We lie.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
(Romans 3:23 NIV)
2. We don’t leave room for Christ. Who needs a Savior if we have nothing to be saved from??
“But he [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)
I came across this prayer a few years ago that had been written by my mother back when I was in elementary school. Though it has been more than 25 years since she wrote it, the words she penned still ring true. In fact, they mean so much more today as I read them since I’m now a mom myself!
Mother’s Day Prayer, 1986
By Sally White
The days of Fisher-Price and Pampers are gone – there is no more pacifier;
The high chair has been given away and you’ll find no bib in the dryer.
The safety locks are not on the cupboards, the toy shelves are now filled with books;
Instead of tuning in to watch Big Bird and Kermit they’re now more concerned with their looks.
The crayons come out less often now, the play-doh has been tossed away;
The tricycle’s replaced by a ten-speed, it’s the stereo that they want to play.
And as I ponder the changes that came too fast, as one season gives way to another,
I think of the ways God has worked in my life by making me their mother.
Lord, you know I couldn’t be a mother without you,
For not only did you give me this job,
But you help me to see it through.
I look at all that a mother should be, and I know how short I fall;
So I look to you, my faithful God, the one who is All-in-All.
When I lack patience, yours never fails., you forbear so much more than I can;
You give me wisdom when there’s none of my own, you help me to see your plan.
When I’ve been unfair you’re always just, you are there to understand;
My greatest joy is to know their future is held in your sovereign hand.
So, Lord, when the ten-speed gives way to the car, and it’s off to college they go,
Yours is the voice I want them to hear, yours is the path I want them to know.
Draw them ever closer to you – keep them, whatever it takes;
And I’ll praise you for your grace in their lives that covers my mistakes.
Sometimes my priorities are not what they should be
And sometimes I forget, Oh God, just who you called me to be.
So one last thing I’ll ask, dear Lord, to cover in my life:
Remind me that ere I was their mother, I am their father’s wife!
If we want our children to see a need for a Savior, and have a desire to let Him be Lord of their own lives, we have to be very intentional about sharing our imperfections! We need to be FULLY dependent on Jesus as the ONLY one sufficient for the task of mothering.
I believe the best way we can be fully dependent on our Lord day-by-day is through prayer and the study of God’s Word. My mom has been an excellent model of this over the years. When we passed a car accident in the road, she taught me to pray for the victims and the emergency responders. When friends telephoned in the midst of a crisis, I heard her stop everything and pray right there on the phone. When I came home from school anxious about a heavy workload, she showed me how to pray and lay my burdens at Jesus’ feet. I watched my mom write her prayers in her Bible and in her prayer journal…
What a rich treasure to have those prayers recorded and ready to pass down for generations!
When I left home for college I began to follow my mom’s lead. I’ve filled many journals since then!
Now, by God’s grace, I’m seeking to leave a legacy of prayer and faith for my own children to follow.
I stumble constantly – often a better example of what NOT to do than a model of godliness – but I’m trusting that just like in my mother’s life, my weakness will provide a backdrop for displaying God’s grace and God’s glory to little watching eyes.
My mom was, and still is, quite imperfect.
And I think that’s PERFECT!
Join me in thanking God for the imperfections of your mother. Thank Him for the lessons learned and the opportunities to lean on Him through your own weaknesses.
If you’ve never recorded your prayers in a journal, consider the blessings of leaving a lasting legacy of God’s faithfulness through answered prayer. Throne of Grace would love to help you with this! We have handmade journals for both adults and children available in the Throne of Grace Shop HERE and HERE.