Mothers, co-laborers, baby poolers and carpoolers, those who work outside of the home and those who stay and work in the home, those nesting or sweeping clean an emptied nest…Happy Mother’s Day!
As I talk to countless mothers, one common fear among us surfaces quite often: failure.
Mothers today juggle so many things: work, health, family, finances, friendships, missions, charity, and the list could go on and on. It’s mind blowing what women today are attempting and accomplishing! We are a generation of the have it all / do it all mother.
And while we may feel successful in many areas, we struggle to feel truly successful as a mother.
When I asked friends on FB what makes them feel “successful” as a mom, I received a wide range of responses:
- simply keeping-it-together-without-losing-my-cool today, or
- watching them transition to new stages and capabilities, to
- seeing our children demonstrate character and compassion, or
- finally seeing the fruit of seeds of faith and virtue sown over the years.
Different ages and stages brought about different measures of success when we thought about it…
And I also asked what made moms feel unsuccessful…most responded with some way in which we fall short:
- missing an important event,
- taking out our frustrations on them,
- play the comparison game with other moms OR other kids,
- not having enough time or able to give undivided attention, or
- watching them rebel and suffer significant consequences for their choices.
And again, there were a variety of ways in which we see our mistakes, limitations, and even the natural consequences of our children’s choices and take that responsibility on ourselves. It often makes us feel unsuccessful and possibly like we have failed our children.
What if we could look at it differently? Have we possibly put too much emphasis on outcomes that we can’t even control?
We will make mistakes. We will even sin against our children, if not in our words and deeds, it will be in our hearts. Just talk to any parent in the midst of bedtime battles with their toddler!
I love this passage from I Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Love covers over a multitude of sins…
Does this mean that as long as we “love” our kids, it doesn’t matter if we are a good parent or not?
No, not if we aren’t loving according to how the Bible describes it.
I Cor 13:4-8 explains what love really is:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
We primarily hear this passage preached at weddings, or in sermons regarding loving the body of Christ-the church. I have never heard it preached to parents.
Each demonstrative quality of love is one that we can (and most of us already do) apply in our parenting! It has nothing to do with the superficial aspects of parenting we may struggle with today. It does not specify that the loving parent has Pinterest-worthy ideas to share with the world, spends their weekends traveling the Tri-state area attending sporting tournaments, that they homeschool, or only feed their kids free-range eggs and organic fruits / vegetables. These things are all well and good, but are not the formula for effective and successful parenting.
The final statement puts a rather hopeful and encouraging bow on the top.
Love never fails.
If we love them the way God has described and demonstrated love to us, we will never fail our children. We could never see ourselves as failures either! It would be impossible! Because love never fails!
What if we judged ourselves as mothers not by how successful we feel or by the moments we fail, fall short, or have struggled in our hearts. What if we could trust that if we truly love our children, that overwhelming love will “cover over a multitude of sins” or in our case, cover over a multitude of failures!