Lately I have been feeling guilty when I get frustrated or impatient with Jackson. When he is spitting and chatting at community group and it’s distracting, I am apologetic. When I am at lunch with a friend and he is crying, I am inconvenienced. When he has a blow-out diaper at the mall, I am frazzled. When he is screaming for “no reason” while my show is on t.v. I am annoyed. In the moment I allow my selfishness to reign over me, affirming me, “you deserve to watch a t.v. show in peace,” or something of the sort. But then Satan’s “one-two-punch” sets in and I am overcome with guilt and shame over my sin. I know that God has given me Jackson to care for in love, but often I fall short. Today I read this post from the GirlTalk blog and was reminded that I need God’s grace to love Jackson and on my own, I will only love myself. Here is my favorite part of the article:
We aren’t perfect mothers and we don’t pretend to be.
But that doesn’t mean we are content with imperfect. The mothering bar we’re aiming for is high. It has been set in place by God himself: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).
As moms we must be humble and admit we fall short of the bar of mothering perfection. Very. Far. Short. We are not always patient with our children. We are not always faithful to teach and train and discipline. We give in to selfishness, anger, laziness, and grumbling.
That’s why a mother who is grounded in the gospel looks two ways. She really does have eyes in the back of her head.
A gospel-centered mom first looks back to her justification in Christ. She remembers that all of her mothering sins and shortcomings have been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ. That he became sin for her that in him she might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
But she doesn’t stop there. The gospel-centered mom looks forward too. She strives with the Holy Spirit’s power that works within her to be perfect as her heavenly Father is perfect. She stands on the ground of forgiveness and accesses grace through God’s Word, through counsel from godly women, and through prayer, to grow as a mom. To be more patient, more joyful, more consistent, more loving. To be perfect.
Moms need grace. We need grace to admit that we are weak, and grace to not settle into those weaknesses. We need grace that frees and forgives and grace that gives power to grow.
Thankful for this word today!
God takes small, imperfect things and builds them into a habitation for his glory. O, how we should take courage in our little spheres of influence! And is this not the message of Advent and Christmas? What more appropriate word could God have said to Mary as Jesus was growing up: Take courage, young mother, you build more than you see. And so it is with every one of us. Nothing you do is a trifle if you do it in the name of God. He will shake heaven and earth to fill your labor with splendor. Take courage, you build more than you see.
We’ve been hearing about our identity as missionaries a lot lately. Here is some encouragement for you from Jani Ortlund!
Again- From Pastor Ortlund’s blog,
“I have never attended a funeral that did justice to the magnitude of the moment. Standing there at the brink of eternity, where all things are laid bare — in a cheesy funeral home maybe, with less-than-glorious music, a worn-out sermon, and friends of the deceased not even there because they were too busy running errands that day. Nothing in the here-and-now communicates the true significance of our lives. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. Concealed there. Safe there.
If you are a well-known Christian and everybody is flocking to you, look by faith beyond the fraudulent appearances of the moment. Your life is hidden with Christ in God.
If you are an unnoticed Christian and nobody is flocking to you, look by faith beyond the fraudulent appearances of the moment. Your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Your true significance can be known only in the eternal world above, with Christ in God.”
“Your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
“For our sake, He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 is my favorite verse in the bible. This quote (stolen from Ray Ortlund’s blog) embodies the exchange that happened on the cross:
“I can feelingly say, he hath proved himself stronger than I and his goodness superior to all my unworthiness. He tells me (and enables me to believe it) that I am fair, and there is no spot in me. Though an enemy, he calls me his friend; though a traitor, a child; though a beggared prodigal, he clothes me with the best robe and has put a ring of endless love and mercy on my hand. And though I am sorely distressed by spiritual and internal foes, afflicted, tormented and bowed down almost to death with the sense of my own present barrenness, ingratitude and proneness to evil, he secretly shows me his bleeding wounds and softly and powerfully whispers to my soul, ‘I am thy great salvation.’ His free distinguishing grace is the bottom on which is fixed the rest of my poor weary tempted soul. On this I ground my hope, often times when unsupported by any other evidence, save only the Spirit of adoption received from him. When my dry and empty barren soul is parched with thirst, he kindly bids me come to him and drink my fill at the fountainhead. In a word, he empowers me to say with experiential evidence, ‘Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ Amen and amen.”
Joseph Hart (1712-1768), quoted in Peter C. Rae, “Joseph Hart and His Hymns,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 6 (1988): 22-23.