Have you ever really blown it on the parenting front?
Have you snarked at your kids in public
or sarcastically bit into your preschooler when he acted childish
or had such a bad day that you went into the basement and screamed
or told a persistently crying toddler to “can it’
or forced a child to do things your way even though you knew it really didn’t matter, you just wanted to win?
Before your inner alarms go off, most people would describe me as a good and gentle mother. But there are days, and then there are days-that-drag-on-and-I-can’t-seem-to-get-anything-right…right? I think I see you nodding at your computer.
So what do we do with all this unholy parenting?
A lot of parenting blogs I’ve read would have me believe that
It’s okay, we all do it.
You’re in good company.
Kids are forgiving, they’ll turn out okay.
Above all, the message I hear from both bloggers is usually,
Is accepting defeat really the path to stop feeling like a bad mom?
In a sense they’re right, because Ephesians 2:8 tells me that it is by grace I have been saved through faith. And this is not my own doing; it is the gift of God.
But then again, it’s not okay because 1 John 3:6 tells me that no one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
Grace isn’t the end of the story, it’s the beginning. If grace was the end of the story, I would be given grace and then nothing would be expected of me. God’s grace would simply be hell insurance.
Grace is what enables me to stand before God, and it’s what allows him to come into my life in order to effect a transformation in me.
Grace is how God chooses to deal with my sin right now so that I can begin to live in the victory that he has won through the cross.
He loves me in my sin, but in his great mercy, he doesn’t want me to stay there.
“Grace doesn’t tell us that our bad choices or failures don’t matter; quite the reverse. Grace tells us that our failures expose us for who we really are, which puts us in a right posture toward God to receive from Him.” (Sheila Walsh, “The Shelter of God’s Promises”)
I first found this Facebook community called “The Better Mom” a few years ago, and at first I thought it seemed a little pretentious. Did they truly think they were a better mom than I was?
But as I started reading their blog, I discovered their intentions behind that title.
Yes, God loves me in my sin and has rescued me from the dominion of darkness to bring me into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13, 14)
But he also calls me towards holiness. Growing in holiness will affect my parenting, helping me to become a better mom.
The message of grace is that I don’t have to live in defeat. I don’t have to just accept my failings and allow them to define how I parent. Through Christ, I have victory.
My friend, you and I will sin in our parenting, and it’s okay, but it’s also not okay. Thankfully God has given himself as an ally in this parenting gig.
God the Father forgives my sins,
Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, advocates on my behalf to the Father,
and the Holy Spirit works the transforming process in my soul,
helping me to become a parent who heals instead of hurts,
who brings softness instead of sarcasm
who trades judgement for justice
and who knows the value of approval over anger.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” John 2:1
I am a garden-loving, zumba-dancing Christ-follower with a passion to help families cultivate authentic faith in their homes. I have the three best jobs in the world: Mom, part-time Director of Children’s Ministries at my church in Alberta, Canada, and the author of “Wise for Salvation: Meaningful Devotions for Families with Little Ones”. I also blog about raising kids in the faith at www.wiseforsalvation.com and occasionally speak at other churches. My favorite people in the whole world are my husband and three young boys, who just happen to be the most interesting, creative, and precious boys on the planet. We are far from a perfect family (and we drink a lot of coffee), but by God's grace we are learning to be a true community. Website: www.wiseforsalvation.com