"But he 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." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
It was an "I'm crushing this motherhood thing!" kinda morning.
Justen's Colonial Day costume? Check.
School lunches? Check.
Then, at work, came Justen's teary phone call: "Mom? I left my costume at home!"
Normally I didn't interfere with natural consequences, but I could tell Justen was broken-hearted. I promised to bring his costume in time for the Colonial Parade.
I got to school just as all the kids were lining up to change and raced to hand Justen his bag. But the teacher stopped me, saying: "If Justen can't remember to bring his costume, then he'll not be wearing it in the parade."
What? It was an honest mistake. And who was she anyway to tell me how to discipline my kid?
My son marched onto the stage ... the only child still in school uniform.
He was upset. But as soon as the parade was over and the kids were enjoying their orange slices, he'd recovered.
But me? Not so much.
I knew that while Justen stood there in his blue polo, every person in that audience saw the invisible sign hanging around his neck: "Bad Mom" and thought: Obviously, if Justen's mom had her act together, he would be sporting his George Washington costume.
Have you ever been there? Overwhelmed by the shame of failing as a mom?
I tried to hide my failures, hoping nobody would see my weaknesses. But what I've learned is that when I'm fearless enough to admit that I don't have this mom thing completely down, I'm finally humbled enough to admit my need.
Second Corinthians 12:9 reminds us that God's "grace is sufficient" and that His "power is made perfect in our weakness." Which means the weaker we are, the more we experience God's power.
So, how do we allow God's strength to overpower our weaknesses?
Have grace for other moms.
And I mean a ton of grace. I'm talking, "I'm giving you a look of solidarity, mom whose child just ended up in the principal's office for saying a bad word because his friends dared him to. I realize it could just as easily have been my kid."
The phrase "My child would never ..." needs to be banished from our vocabularies. I can promise you that every mom's kid has done something shame-producing. And every kid's mom is sure she's the only one who is failing.
Have grace (and some mercy) for myself.
Years ago, I would fall into the "bad mom pit of despair" when one of my kids threw a fit in public. I would kick myself for days because I wasn't a better mom with kids who said, "Yes, Mother" and "May I help?"
But as my friend Kim would say, "Have you been to Target lately? There is a meltdown happening in Every. Single. Aisle."
One meltdown is, well, a meltdown, not a report card on your parenting.
Beg God for help.
Perhaps we turn quickly to God for the big stuff. But do we seek Him out when we forget the George Washington costume?
I, along with two friends, actually did start The Bad Mom's Club simply because we were all feeling like failures at the same time. Don't you love it when God gives you company in your pit of despair?
When one of our kids is "going through it," whatever "it" may be — bad attitudes, bad behavior, bad choices — we have two other moms ready to listen, to pray like it's their own kid, and when we ask for it, offer advice.
Because that's what it's all about. Admitting our weakness, holding it up to God, and letting His blanket of grace cover it.
Dear Lord, I pray that I would look for Your grace in my strength and in my weakness, so that everyone who sees the good and the ugly in my life knows that I live each day with Your power sustaining me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 40:29, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (NIV)
Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: When you're in that Bad Mom pit, who do you turn to?
How can you encourage another mom who is hanging out in the pit with you today?
© 2014 by Kathi Lipp. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org