We moved into our new home in November, and I placed hanging our family pictures at the top of my husband’s honey-do list. I like to call it my family wall. I do my work-outs in the same room, and I love to look at those photos, and pray for the people in the pictures. He did such a beautiful job, placing each one perfectly level and plumb, but every time a door closed or someone walked by, the pictures shifted a little and ended up askew. It became a never-ending straightening game.
When I was a younger mother, I always wanted the perfect little Christian family, with the perfect little Christian children. I’m pretty sure that I believed that if I tried very hard to be a “perfect” mom, I’d have children that never rebelled or disobeyed God. As I’ve watched my children grow, and as I’ve done the most difficult thing ever – pushing them out of the nest, I’ve spent many moments white knuckling it. Guess what? They’re not perfect little Christians, and neither am I.
Now, back to the photos on the wall. I gave up straightening them, and one day as I exercised, it hit me. Leave them crooked! Better yet – mess them up as a reminder that we are not perfect, and that we are each a work-in-progress. When I am reminded that we are each real, with strengths and weaknesses, I am reminded to extend grace and mercy to my loved ones.
Mothers are amazingly good at many things. Unfortunately, we are especially proficient at beating ourselves up. I agree that we do need to give our children our very best effort, because in doing so, we are giving them the greatest chance at succeeding at what really matters, but there’s no such thing as perfect mothers or perfect children. When things don’t turn out exactly how you’d hoped, don’t be hard on yourself. Remember that God is more powerful than your shortcomings, and your children’s disobedience or rebellion. Remember that He loves your children even more than you do.
I had a lot of fun intentionally messing up the pictures, and I am joyful when I look at them. Those haphazardly placed pictures are a visual nudge to me. I’m reminded that I need to trust in the Lord, not in my parenting skills, and that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end – they are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness.