I’m a deeply flawed person. I love my children and I try to be the best mother I can be. I love my husband and try to be the best wife I can be. I try, but I constantly fall short. I fail, make mistakes and yes, even lose my temper sometimes. My Facebook persona may appear to be perfect and full of positive upbeat posts, but my real life is far from perfect. Don’t get me wrong – I love my life, but it’s not a fairy tale. It’s full of chaotic days. Days full of tears, tantrums and the frustrating world of “discipline.” Real life and real motherhood is messy and full of constant mistakes. That perfect mom in the school pick up line has flaws too, I promise. She may seem perfect with her well kept hair, designer purse and freshly painted toes – but she is flawed too. She may not admit her mistakes freely, but they’re in there somewhere.
Flaws, I’ve come to realize are a BIG part of parenting. Just like our children grow and learn from each mistake they make, we parents do the same. We yell, we second guess ourselves, we regret our decisions and we ask our children for forgiveness continually. We’re all trying to figure out this whole “parenting thing.” The secret to surviving this chaos filled world is not to avoid these inevitable mistakes, but to embrace them. How do we do this? The answer is actually quite simple. The secret to surviving motherhood is grace.
Grace is given to us as a gift, from God. The minute we hand over our hearts and decide to trust God with our lives, we are given the gift of grace. It’s free and oh so incredibly wonderful, but it’s not something we deserve. That’s the whole point. Grace is not something we can earn, and much like salvation – it’s a gift. All we have to do is accept it. Once we start realizing that we can never do enough or be enough to earn this gift, that’s when the real benefits start to kick in. When we realize that the point of grace is that it’s unmerited, undeserved and unable to earn through our own doing – we are set free. Free to start enjoying grace. Free to forgive our failures, because we understand God already has.
When Jesus died for you, he knew about your failures. He saw your past, present and future sins (yup, even that one) and He still died on that cross for you. He was powerful enough to stop it, but He chose to die – for you. So many people are deeply confused about grace, and faith for that matter. Religion might cause some people to run far away from people like me. Maybe you hear someone talk about God and think “Oh great, they’re going to preach at me.” If that is you – then I want to apologize to you. I want to say I’m sorry that imperfect people have given you such a bad impression of a perfect God. People are, as you know, full of flaws. Religions and churches are run by those same flawed people, which is why many see hypocrisy within the walls of those churches – but that is kind of the point. Whenever we try to be like God, we fail – but God is not to blame, we are.
I’ve had many people over the years debate with me about God. I never hear any criticism about God himself though – it’s always about religion which is organized by people, by flawed humans – by sinners. We’re all sinners, we all need faith and we ALL desperately need grace. You see God knew his people would fall short, that’s why he gave us the gift of grace. For mothers who cry at night, regretting the way they reacted to their child, He gives grace. For Fathers that feel like they don’t do enough for their families, He gives grace. For people just like you and me – who need undeserved comfort when they fail, He gives grace.
My pastor always likes to shock people with one bold statement, when he introduces himself to someone new. “I’m not religious,” he says with a big smile – “I just have a relationship with God.” That is what we should be pursuing my friends, a relationship. If you chase after rules, laws and standards you’ll always fall short of the glory of God. If you change your focus to the relationship you have with God you’re set free. That’s when you can really feel the true weight of His grace. Should we strive to be good people? Of course, but that won’t save anyone. Salvation is a gift, all we have to do is accept that gift.
I constantly mess up as a mother, wife and woman. My relationship with God doesn’t solve my human nature to sin, as much as I wish it did. We have free will and our choices matter, so perfection will never be possible. What my relationship does do is give my life value and purpose. I have someone to turn to for comfort, guidance and constant forgiveness. When my son messes up and I embrace him with love instead of yell about how badly he behaved, that’s grace. When I drop to knees in prayer and ask for forgiveness, God forgives me – out of grace.
The secret to motherhood and life in general is quite simple, it’s grace. Grace that I need on a daily basis as I continually make mistakes, feel overwhelmed and fail to live up to that perfect mother that only exists in my mind. God is the secret, I put my trust in Him years ago and never looked back. Not because I’m religious, but because I was lost. I need grace, not because I’m righteous but because I’m deeply flawed. The secret to motherhood is not something I do, it’s something He does. My secret is grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)