This blizzard has reminded me that I am not the perfect mom I strive so hard to be. Locked in my house for four days with no hope of escape turns even the most sane person into raving lunatic. But you pair that with a house in desperate need of a deep cleaning, two kids bored out of their gourds and two parents trying to deal with them, it equals the perfect environment for an imperfect storm.
Meet Mom, she’s home alone most days because that’s where she works; on her computer in her office. Dad is at work during the day, with hands and head busy fixing things. And two kids who are at school all day with plenty of people to learn with and talk to. Now shove those four people together in an itty bitty house for four days in a snow storm and you’ve got yourself one great reality show. It’s Mom that goes crazy first because, you see, she’s used to being home alone, doing her writing in peace and quiet with no interruptions. But now she can’t. Suddenly she can’t think because someone is constantly saying her name asking for something. So while the snow outside hasn’t stopped her from going to work, it has managed to stop her from getting work done. So, abandoning all hope of getting writing done she then resorts to Plan B. Work on cleaning the house in desperate need of cleaning. But alas, this too is a lost cause. As many of you have discovered, a family at home makes a MESS, while a family not at home leaves the house clean. So while some cleaning gets done, it doesn’t stay that way for long. This equals one frustrated Mom at the end of day 1. But day 2 dawns and mom is determined to have a good day. She prays:
“Come Holy Spirit, fill me with your fire so that I can be more like you. Lord, open my eyes to see You, my ears to hear You, and my mind to know You more. Lord, open my heart to receive Your heart for me today. Lord, open my mouth to speak Your truth with wisdom and authority, boldness and clarity. Open my hands to give generously, receive humbly and to let go of the things I don’t need to be holding onto. Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire. I want to know You more. Help me Jesus, I trust You.” (A printable version of this prayer can be found here.)
She approaches the day with hope. She has decided to abandon her mile long to do list for today and just be still, watch movies, pop popcorn, and just be with the family. And things go really well until the kids go to bed and she logs onto Facebook to see someone tearing apart the fun things she did with her kids in the snow today, saying they were dangerous. So now mom is being unproductive, AND she’s endangering her children by feeding them snow cream. This equals mom going to bed, sad faced and unable to sleep because she’s trying to figure out if she really DID endanger her children by feeding them fresh snow.
Day 3 dawns and mom’s tired, frustrated and ready for everyone to get out of her space. It’s high time we return to normal, but the extreme temperatures say, “No, you must stay in these extreme conditions until we say otherwise.” It’s been two days of Mom coming face to face with her imperfections and inabilities and she’s ready to call it quits on the whole experiment. In come Facebook to save/ruin the day with someone else commenting about getting ALL of her laundry done. You go perfect mom!
So not to be outmatched our mom goes at that laundry with a vengeance, she starts by folding and putting away the three baskets of laundry that have been sitting at the end of her bed for a week. Yup, a whole week. As she’s hanging shirts in the closet she starts thinking about, of all things, her wedding day. (I think it was that wedding photo board she had just been looking at on Pinterest.) She’d spent more time and money on her appearance that day than any before or since. And she began thinking of that look on her husband’s face when he first saw her walk down the aisle. Then the question rang through her brain like a gong, “Has he ever looked at you like that since that day?” Maybe he had, probably he had, but not that she could remember. Sigh… Now she’s unproductive, dangerous to her children, and ugly! Yup, this was the BEST WEEK EVER!
Locking the door to her room she picks up the phone that’s been playing music while she put away laundry, Franchesca Battastelli sings Mary’s song as Mom crys, “Be born in me… while we waited for your promise you waited for my arms… Be born in me… the only thing my heart can offer you is a vacancy… be born in me…”
And Mom remembers, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
Day 4 dawns, school is of course canceled again and unproductive, dangerous, ugly Mom opens her Bible looking for comfort. Her daily reading just happens to be from Luke 2. As she opens her Bible and prays she remembers the last three days. She looks down and reads about Mary, the holy mother and thinks, “I wonder if Mary walked around always dressed perfectly with her hair in the latest style. I bet she never even wore a sweatshirt and ponytail. And if she did, I bet she ROCKED it and everyone loved her. And Jesus, He was perfect, I bet He NEVER got on Mary’s nerves.”
And you know what, God is good to our Mom. What is the very next scripture she comes to? “Now His parents (Mary and Joseph) went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover. And when He was 12 years old, they went up according to custom.”
“Yup. They were the perfect parents obeying the Law.” She thought, then read on.
“And when the Feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing Him to be in the group they went a DAY’S JOURNEY, but then they began to search for Him among their relatives and acquaintences, and when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for Him. After THREE DAYS they found Him in the temple,”
“OK, now I don’t feel so bad!” Mom thought, “I’m only not getting everything done, feeding my kids snow and gained a few pounds, Mary lost the Christ child for THREE DAYS!”
Even Mary wasn’t the perfect mom, she screwed things up too. But you know what, she’s the imperfect woman God CHOSE to raise His son. (Luke 1:30) And just like Mary, you too are the imperfect woman God chose to raise your children and marry your husband. No one expects you to do all the things you expect of yourself, even God. And if God isn’t expecting you to raise perfect children by being the perfect mom, then why are you expecting that from yourself?
We hold ourselves to impossible standards and use social media to judge our blooper reel against everyone else’s highlight reel; finding ourselves lacking in every way. The only stand that we should be judging ourselves by is the word of God. And you know what it has to say about your imperfections mom?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 “such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers (or moms) of a new covenant, not of the letter (or to do list) but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come.”