Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
– James 4:10
I think it’s safe to say that we all mess up.. Our intentions are good, we honestly strive to be the best moms possible, but no matter what, in one way o–r another, we always seem to come up short.
It’s human nature, you know, this sin thing. Being born into this broken world, sin is inevitable. As soon as Eve took that first bite, becoming a perfect mom became unattainable. But praise be to God, we have been given a gift, the BEST gift, the gift of Jesus Christ. As human beings, we may be unable to live a sinless life, but because of that grace-filled sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, we are able to be forgiven, washed clean, and most importantly, LOVED!
It’s not something that I enjoy talking about, but sometimes I feel in order to advise or encourage others, we must swallow our pride, and open up about our shortcomings..
As a mom, the area that I seem to struggle with the most is yelling. When my kids misbehave, one of my first reactions is to yell. I definitely have times where I am able to deal with the situation without raising my voice, but often it becomes my go-to move. I watch moms like Michelle Duggar (love her), and I so desire to learn to speak softly like them. I try and I try and I try to will myself into becoming that, but sooner or later, I slip up again.
Now, I could blame it on my upbringing, I could say “I was born this way”, I could even say they provoked me, but let’s be real here, none of these are valid excuses. The truth of the matter is this: it is a sin, and the only way to overcome sin is through Jesus Christ.
But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
– Acts 15:11
I can see the upset in my children’s eyes when I yell. They obviously don’t enjoy it, they also don’t really understand it. I am all for disciplining my child when they misbehave, but I have come to learn that discipline ≠ yelling. Yes, it may intimidate them enough to make them listen, and it may get out some of my frustration, but it is in no means the correct way to teach them. The Lord does not yell at me when I do wrong, so why should I?
Now, learning how to overcome our downfalls as moms is a topic for another day (when I feel more able to advise on it), but for now, I want to talk about what I believe is SO important to do when we do make mistakes as moms.
Here’s the answer, the key to using our flaws to teach our children one of the most important, and beautiful lessons… we must go to them, humbly admit and apologize for our faults, and ask them for forgiveness.. AND then, most importantly, we must together ask The Lord for forgiveness.
Humility, Repentance, and Grace.. these are three beautiful, Godly qualities that I know each one of us hopes to instill in our children. These qualities don’t just happen by chance though (at least not in my experience). As I stated before, we are all sinners saved by grace (Romans 5:8). In our flesh, we make mistakes.. a lot of them. Our children are no different. They’re just beginning their understanding of this world, and the difference between right and wrong. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach them these things. Yes, we can tell them they need to possess these qualities, we can even go into precise detail about what they mean, but the best way for them to really understand and adopt these attributes is to see us, their parents, demonstrate them.
By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life.
– Proverbs 22:4
What is humility? Well, my definition of the word is this: it’s seeing yourself as less important than others, and realizing that we aren’t really all that amazing.
Jesus is the ultimate example of walking in humility. He is the Son of God, He is TRUE royalty, but when He came to earth, He didn’t come as a King, but as a poor man. Instead of living pridefully, He lived with a servant’s heart. Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that is one the most beautiful qualities that a person can have! It is truly my heart’s desire to not only have it myself, but that my children would as well. We can teach our children this humility by expressing to them with a sincere heart, that what we did was wrong, and why it is wrong.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
– 1 John 1:9
Repentance is coming to God (and in this case, also, our children), and admitting to our faults, and sincerely asking for forgiveness.
Repentance is what enables us to draw near to God. In our flesh we are sinful beings, but through repentance, we are able to gain forgiveness from The Lord.
It is so important to teach repentance to our children! We all mistakes yes, but what brings reconciliation, healing, change of heart, is true repentance. By coming to our children with a heart of remorse, and asking them to forgive us, they will be able to see the power that it has.
We also need to ask them to come along side us, and ask The Lord for forgiveness. We need to show them that not only is it important to seek forgiveness from one another, but more so, to seek it from God. This also teaches them to turn to The Lord in every situation. It instills in them the understanding that whatever circumstance they may face, whether it be good, or not so good, their first priority, the first one that they need to turn to is The Lord.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
– Ephesians 4:7
Grace is that precious gift from Jesus. It is a gift that we did not have to earn, but was given to us because of His love. Because of what Jesus did for us, we are now able to come in the presence of God, blemishes and all, and find favor, love, forgiveness, and salvation.
We need to teach our children about the beautiful grace of God, and how we must all show grace to one another. We need to teach them that grace is not dependent on being “good enough” to earn it, but dependent on the love of Christ. If The Lord, who is holy, and pure, can show grace to a bunch of sinners, then we must learn to show that grace to others, as well. By asking our children to forgive us in our faults, we are teaching them how to forgive people, and to show the other person the kindness and love of Christ, regardless of how they have treated them.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
– 3 John 1:4
Being a mom is tough, there is no two ways about it, but if we purpose in our hearts to seek The Lord to help us overcome our faults, then we can have the assurance that He will make a way. I am not making any excuses for unrighteous behavior, but when we have Christ, we are able to see the beautiful truth, that every sin holds the opportunity to receive the precious love and grace of Jesus!.. We just have to come before Him with a heart of humility and repentance.
The Lord does not expect us to be perfect moms, He is well aware of the fact that we are pretty much incapable. But what He does expect from us is to live a life that honors Him. If we trip and fall a few times along the way, well, it happens, but we must always make sure to immediately return to that humble heart of repentance, and seek The Lord’s forgiveness. We must also have a desire within us to do better, to walk righteously, and to turn away from our sin.
As for our children? Well, to be honest, they don’t expect perfection from us either. Parenting them according to our “check-lists”, and what the world deems as “perfect” is not what will raise them up to be Godly men and women. If we demonstrate to them a heart that seeks The Lord in all things, we show them how to possess righteous qualities, and we teach them to use their mistakes as a way to practice these attributes, then we can feel assured that we are doing right as their moms.
What ways have you learned to teach your children about Godly characteristics?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!
And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God
for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
– Ephesians 4:32
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