Did you have a vision of what motherhood would be like? I pictured having 3 kids: 2 boys and a girl. I envisioned my princess being spoiled and cared for by her brothers, protecting her and doting over her, and I envisioned sister girl cheering her brothers on at their ball games and sweet talking them into attending tea parties and playing Barbie dolls. But God, well, he had different plans. He blessed me with three boys. My day is filled with conversations of boogers, dutch ovens, body odor, and “that’s what you get!” However, I wouldn’t trade that grossness for the world!
Nonetheless, there are days where I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with the complaining, fit throwing, and total meltdowns.
Then I read Chapter 15……and y’all, there’s some good stuff in there! Seriously. I want to take a moment and list my favorite quotes from Wendy in this chapter:
God uses trials to perfect us. That includes the “fiery furnace of family life.”
“That perfect gift, swaddled, is the perfecting tool that will bring us into maturity.”
Our children have a sinful nature just like us (my paraphrase).
“Our children are not perfect, but they are perfectly designed to perfect us into the image of Christ.”
And do you notice that word PERFECT? Why is it we expect our children to be perfect? Why do we expect ourselves to be perfect?
Before I read this chapter, I flipped through my notebook and found where I had journaled some bad days. You know those days…..the ones where you and your children are both reduced to tears and you feel like the worst mom in the world. Some of the quotes from my journaling were:
“Today was another day that I felt like a failure as a mom.”
“I know they aren’t perfect.”
“I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom with my anger.”
“I have reduced them and myself to tears.”
“Is it stress? Is it PMS?”
“Deep down I know it is sin.”
“Being a mom and teacher, shouldn’t I be an expert in children?”
“Do I have this unhealthy root of perfection growing inside of me?”
“As a pastor’s wife, shouldn’t I have it all together?”
And then there was this…..
“I was frustrated with my arguing kids, as I began to get on to them, God whispered, ‘Grace. Grace. Grace.’ I felt my rage calm and I talked to them instead of yelled.”
And it all makes sense to me now…..
Isn’t this the whole point of motherhood, of life, of marriage, of it all……that we recognize our ever so deep need for Christ? That we admit to Him our sins and failures? That we wholeheartedly seek Him? That we fully surrender to Him, so He may make us holy?
Wendy posed the question in chapter 12, “What if God designed motherhood to make me holy rather than make me happy?” No matter the depth of my love for my children, ultimately, they belong to God, and He will use them in whatever fashion He sees fit. And it may be that God is using the sinfulness of my children to shape me into the woman He desires me to be. And like Wendy…..
“I’d rather be a woman who clings to Jesus, than a woman who never had to.”
And what a beautiful testimony…..for our children to see a change in us…..that no matter where we were when we started this journey, we are new creatures because of the PERFECT love, grace, and mercy of Christ.