We can be so unforgiving of ourselves, can't we? We can lavish grace upon women we've only recently met, seeing fully the good work that God is doing in forming His masterpiece of them. We can give grace to our children, husband, sisters, brothers, friends, and neighbors...knowing that God isn't finished with them yet! But then we look so harshly in the mirror and point the finger at every wrong she has done...or left undone. We can feel such a hopeless cause. We look around. We compare. And we realize we will never do it well enough to warrant any kind of "her children arise and call her blessed" praise*.
But what if we gave a measure of grace to the face in the mirror? What if we saw her potential, despite her struggles? What if we allowed ourselves to believe that even when we don't perform perfectly (per our unfair standards), we are still made perfectly in the image of God*? What if we allowed ourselves to see the difference we are already making in the lives of those entrusted to us?
I had such a glimpse recently and I'm only just now swallowing it and realizing that the glimpse is God's gift to me. He's allowing me to see that my labor is not in vain*. He is showing me, ever so gently, that even though I do my very fair share of messing up with my words or actions, or lack thereof...who I am matters! Who He made me to be is enough to impart grace and love to my children.
I pray with my children regularly. We pray daily before school, always have. We pray before meals and at bedtime. We pray when someone we know is sick; when an ambulance sirens by; when someone has a bad dream; when something doesn't work; when circumstances seem overwhelming; or to give simple thanks. It's just how I live with my children. I depend on God through prayer.
Recently I had a glimpse that it matters--that it is making a difference. This past Sunday had some low points. My husband and I had a disagreement right before I left to grocery shop (something I detest doing on a Sunday, but was necessary due to being snowbound and having a baby with pinkeye all week). When I got home I felt drained: inconsiderate Sunday shoppers, no lunch, cold coffee, headache...just drained! My husband gave me a hug (there was forgiveness on both ends) but I just had a good little cry. My sensitive seven year old was concerned. She asked Ron what was wrong with me. I didn't want to divulge all of my emotions. Ron said "maybe just give mommy a hug." She did. But she really wanted to know the why's and what's. She kept asking and then she said "well maybe if we know, we can pray about it." My heart melts just remembering this. Now I do not take credit, but I do have a part to play in my little one responding this way. And not because of what I've done! But just because of who He made me to be: a mama who depends on prayer.
Last week I wrote about my favorite belated Christmas gift: an entire chalkboard door! (I still love it!)
Well, mama's girls wanted a chalkboard space in their room too. Why not?! So we rearranged the furniture and picked the ideal spot to paint the chalkboard. Those little girls were thrilled. Yesterday I was picking up some things in their room (an endless chore) and I glanced at their chalkboard drawings.
My five year old drew like a five year old....and it's precious.
But when I paused to read what my Ella wrote, my heart was so encouraged. "I love Jesus". "God is good and I am loved". " God created everyone and everything".
Please be encouraged sweet mama! When you glance at that face in the mirror, don't glare and remind her of how she falls so short of her own harsh expectations. Instead gaze into the face of God that you see in who she is becoming! He is not done with her yet. He who began a good work is faithful to complete it*. And even when you huff too heavily over homework hurdles, and bark too brashly over bedtime battles, and sulk too seriously over sibling squabbles, remember that you are not only what you do or don't do. You are also loved. You are also the workmanship of God Almighty*. He sees you. He knows you. And He says that who He is making you to be, matters. He picked you to nurture, raise, and love these little ones. He has a perfect purpose. Be encouraged, sweet mama!
*Proverbs 31:28; Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10
*I am having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth