Life has a way of allowing us to develop character traits that we'd like to have but really don't want to gain by practicing. Patience comes to mind when I think of this. I refuse to pray for patience anymore because God always seems to bring me opportunities to "practice" and develop it....opportunities I'd rather not have honestly. I mean, can't I just have a supernatural dose of patience instead of answering my 5 year old's incessant "why" questions??? Sigh....
Another trait that comes to mind is grace. Grace is difficult to give at times. We are called to extend grace to others because the ultimate act of grace was extended to us through Jesus. I mean, who can argue that really?
Yes, it's tempting to want to scream and yell at the person who just cut you off in traffic (but really all that will do is scare your kiddos to death in the backseat as the person goes on their merry way). But we should extend grace. It's more appealing to want fairness and justice to always win out, but we should extend grace. And honestly, giving grace is better for all involved. It points to Christ and gives Him glory, it affects the other person and may encourage them to extend grace as well, and it stretches your own heart in a good way.
Ok. I can be on board with all that. But if we're getting down to the nitty gritty raw honest truth (which I'm intent on doing ever since I boarded on the #honestymovement train), the person I struggle to extend grace too the most is....myself.
If you're a mom, I'm willing to bet you are tracking with me. We are bombarded everyday with expectations and standards as to what a "good" mom is. And we fail...Every. Single. Time. (At least I do...maybe you're better at this "mom" thing than I am. Kudos.)
Seriously though. These expectations are rough. I'm always left feeling like I missed the mark.
As their mother I'm responsible for their:
-becoming a respectable human
Just looking at that list and really thinking about it makes me want to throw up. You really can't grasp the full responsibility of parenting until you're in the thick of it. And when you do....you realize it's really a true miracle that we all survive even a single day throughout it.
The weight of that responsibility, and the fact that I feel like I do it so poorly, inevitably causes me to allow the hopelessness and failure set it instead of extending myself grace.
I often lay awake at night and allow the despair to overtake me, as I emotionally flog myself.
But you know what?
It's in those moments that I've taken my eyes off of Christ and am trying to do an impossible job all on my own strength.
It's similar to "the Law" that is given in Scripture.
You see, the Law was given- not foremost as instructions but rather to force the people to recognize that they couldn't live a holy and righteous life on their own strength. It's impossible. It was given to accentuate our desperate and incredible need for a Savior.
I think the standards for parenting/life- even the ones we give ourselves- do the same thing. They are impossible to do on our own. Therefore, they point to an utter need for our merciful Savior.
So when the despair begins to creep in...instead of allowing it to consume me, I need to allow it to remind me of my need for Christ. I need to allow it to catapult my heart into His loving arms and rely on His strength to get me through. It's only then will I find peace and the gumption to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Praise God for His incredible grace and mercy and may I extend it to others, as well as myself.
Do you struggle with grace? Do you feel like you're failing as a parent? You're not alone sweet friend. Rest in His grace and allow THAT to guide your parenting. It's only by this that we can move forward and it's only because of His grace that we all will survive it! So be encouraged and don't allow the standards to consume you. Allow His grace to surround you!