Becoming a mother was a beautiful, magical time for me, but being a mom – day in and day out – is all kinds of messy. Who I wanted to be and the reality of who I actually am are two different ends of the spectrum. Nearly 8 years into this journey and I still mourn the picture of perfection that never manifested in our home.
What I thought would be cookie baking and constant snuggles looks more meltdowns in the middle of Target and fights over bedtime routines. Sure, there are lots of wonderful memories amidst the dirt and scattered throughout our messy home, but it’s safe to say that none of this looks the way I had always dreamed it would.
On those days when I’m battling the feelings of defeat, there is only one way to settle the score between reality and the perfect, ideal mom-life I imagined I’d live. Setting my gaze on the unchanging nature and character of God is a sure-fire way to make certain that my heart is never left longing for perfection.
Focusing on a few attributes of God’s character often helps ease those stressful moments of parenting.
1) He is Holy
1 Samuel 2:2 (MSG) – Nothing and no one is holy like God, no rock mountain like our God.
The Hebrew word for holy, qodesh, means set apart, separated or sacred. It is comforting to know that we love and serve a God who is far greater than we can even comprehend. It’s easy to put our faith and trust in the One who is set apart from all created beings. In the Bible wherever God appeared, the place became holy just for Him having been there. Inviting His presence into our lives and homes, in spite of our sin nature, makes it sacred ground.
2) He is Sovereign
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) – We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Motherhood brings a heavy dose of fear, guilt, shame and whatever else the enemy can throw in our way to take our eyes off of the path of raising children who run hard and fast after the Lord. But God is over all things and that He rules over His entire creation. It’s freeing to know that we aren’t called to orchestrate our lives or the lives of our children because the creator of the universe is determining our steps. What a relief it is to be reminded that we serve a sovereign God who is over all things and we can lay our burdens at His feet and leave them there.
3) He Is Merciful
Psalm 86:15 (NIV) – But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
We don’t deserve anything from our holy and just God. However, in His mercy He delivers us from judgment and grants us forgiveness that we in no way have earned. The price has been paid for our sin and we can walk confidently in our salvation. What this means for us is that we don’t have to carry the weight of our mistakes or our imperfect nature. It also provides an excellent blueprint for parenting as we can share tangible displays of mercy to our children and point them back to what God has done for us in our own lives.
4) He is Righteous
Psalm 71:19 (NLT) – Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God?
The Bible says that God’s righteousness is yet to be fully revealed. What we do know is that God sets the standard for righteousness and that we are always going to fall short. The good news is that we are accepted and righteous through the blood of Jesus. Focusing in on God’s standards of perfection and knowing that we will always miss the mark apart from Him, leaves us always reliant on Him. Our culture blurs the lines of right and wrong, but God’s standards never change. Living our lives in such a way that shows our dependence upon God and our submission to His ways provides our children a front row seat to our faith journey as they begin mapping out their own.
5) He is Jealous
Exodus 34:14 (NLT) – You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is jealous, is a God who is jealous about His relationship with you.
As believers, our worship belongs to the Lord. As parents, it’s easy to replace the most sacred spaces of our hearts with the gifts we’ve been given rather than the giver of those gifts. God desires our worship to belong to Him alone. He deserves nothing less than the most prominent position in our lives. Once we purposefully set our eyes on Him, everything else falls into perspective.
Digging deep into God’s word is the true work in and of our lives. Asking Him to show us who He is takes the focus off of us and our inadequacies and puts Him at the helm of each new day.
My parenting may never be the picture of perfection, but one of the best gifts I can give my children is an imperfect parent who consistently seeks to understand the true character of God.
Originally published 2/15/17