Monday, January 13, 2014

How to Be a Perfect Mom

It’s easy to feel imperfect as a mom. The “perfect mom” ideal fades as parenting stress takes over. By the teen years, every adolescent bump in the road can mercilessly rattle our guilt triggers. Many of us might wearily settle for the “at least my kids aren’t ax murderers” ideal!

Yet perfect parenting is as attainable as grace is free.

With God, it’s verdict first, performance later. Because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, God judges us:

“Not guilty, my dearly loved daughter. I applaud even your smallest attempts to get it right. I overlook your failures, because of my Son. I will use even your mistakes for your child’s benefit. I’m here to help. Nothing we face is too difficult for me.”

Who’s going to argue with God?

Paul puts it this way: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).

We’re perfect before we’ve done a thing, because Christ’s righteousness is ours. Understanding this, we can rest in each new, faith-solid moment as an opportunity to parent perfectly.

We do it by allowing God to parent in us and through us. He pours his wisdom, love, and counsel over our kids, through us.

There’s really no other way to parent; it’s either grace-soaked surrender or guilt-induced disaster.

I’ve read some tragic stories of adult children of divorce turning against one parent, with the encouragement of the other. It’s hard to imagine a sadder situation. In these and other seemingly hopeless parenting situations, one option remains: We can entrust the past to God, and walk through the present with him.

He will see us through.

“I care very little if I am judged by you or any human court,” writes Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4. “Indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me” (NIV).

Judgment from people can be crippling. Trying to appease the demands of a prohibitive conscience is futile. When we’re spiraling into mommy guilt, we can remind ourselves of the truth: Christ’s righteousness is applied to us. Forgiveness is complete. Each new moment is God’s offer to be the perfect mom our kids need.

How does knowing you’re perfect in Christ help you parent?

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  1. This post speaks to me, thank you. I have always been prone to dwell on the mistakes I make as a parent, but it seems like lately I've been beating myself up extra! I'm suffering burnout with an extremely rambunctious toddler boy; I love him to pieces, but some days I would love to have a 15 minute break :) I'm having trouble controlling my temper by the end of the day, and then I feel horrible about it. And I have regrets from my daughters' lives, and while I am doing the best I can with all three of my children, I often convince myself that my best isn't good enough.

    1. Yes, I can relate to your struggle, Amy. We can't be the moms our kids need by trying, only by accepting total grace and forgiveness. Then, we're golden.
      You might like my post on using the shield of faith, here:
      I'm learning to ward off accusations and guilt with faith. We can allow our regrets to paralyze us, or accept grace, pick up, and move on, giving our kids the best gift we can: a mom who lets God love through her.
      Blessings, and thanks for commenting!

  2. This is just what I needed today! Thank you! Sharing this on our MOPS Facebook page :)

    1. Thanks for sharing, Michorose! I'm glad this was helpful!

  3. This is just what I needed today! Thank you! Sharing this on our MOPS Facebook page :)

  4. When frustrations hit, it's so nice to just turn them over to God!

  5. Oh, thanks for sharing this! Oftentimes I feel that I fail miserably as a (single) parent. Knowing that God can work through me gives me more confidence in raising my child. All I should do is surrender to Him.

  6. I agree with you that by the teenage years, mommy guilt seems to grow. Thanks for this great application of these verses. In Christ, we have the righteousness of God, and that includes parenting! I can rest in that!

  7. I have learned how to show my kids the grace that God shows me. I also know that I am not a perfect parent and that I am learning from my own children.

  8. "grace-soaked surrender or guilt-induced disaster" What an interesting perspective! Talk about a great book idea there for parenting;)