The Best Mom
2014-05-09
This weekend we will take a day to make a big deal about moms.  Men will break out the grill and make a meal to show that they can pitch in every once in awhile too.  Children will make coupons with a 10 minute expiration with promises about chores and hugs and kisses.  Restaurants will be on high alert.  Forgetful sons will stop by the flower stand on the way to mom's house and overpay for flowers.  In the end, many mom's will know that they are appreciated and loved. 

What makes a good mom?  A funny thing for a dude to be asking.  But being that I was raised by a good mom and that I am married to a good woman who makes a good mom, I'd like to give my perspective.  

The quality of a mom is not determined by the quality of the behavior of her kids.  My wife and I were sitting with our five children in a Cracker Barrel in Orlando, Florida this past week.  We had just driven through the night from Delaware for 15 hours straight.  We were beat.  My wife couldn't even order her food and had forgotten how to read as the waitress stood there waiting somewhat patiently.  I was high on Diet Mountain Dew, Swedish Fish, and adrenaline at 7:30am in the morning.  The kids had "slept" on the way down.  You can imagine what the scene was like with our tired kids - actually, they were perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  So perfect, that once again, an older couple enjoying their breakfast next to us got up to leave and came to our table and leaned in lovingly and said, "We just want to tell you how much we are impressed with your children.  We commend you for how wonderfully behaved and precious they are."  Honestly, we get this all the time.  Our kids, especially for having five of them, are really good.  That is why I think you might be encouraged by a guy with "well behaved" kids saying that the quality of your mothering is not solely determined by the quality of your kids behavior.  You could have been blessed with really docile kids.  Or maybe God saw fit to bless you with kids who never, ever, ever, stop moving.  If we are going to take the good comments and find our identity in them, than we absolutely must take the bad times too - and let me tell, there are some bad times.  Those same well-behaved kids can snap in an instant when something doesn't go their way.  We can't claim grace during the good moments and then leave grace behind when our kids are clearing abusing grace.  The next time your kid is screaming in line at Walmart (which is exactly what you want to be doing anyway) remind yourself that Jesus died not just for your screaming kid, but for you too.  He died for moments like these.  

A good mom reminds her kids that she is a sinner too.  This past week I shared with our congregation what it was like to live in a fishbowl as a pastor.  Our fishbowl is murky and sometimes the fish are barely swimming around.  It is not a clean saltwater tank with beautiful fish.  Sometimes we are just limping along.  The Christian realizes that we all live in fishbowls - not just the pastors and leaders.  God is caring for those fishbowls and the fish inside.  Moms, I imagine, sometimes feel like they are living in their own fishbowl where any mistake they make will be multiplied a thousands times as their kids take advantage of their weakness.  Maybe you are living by the old saying, "Whatever you do in moderation your kids will do in excess."  I always wondered why this saying is only applied to the bad things and not the good things.  Most of us do our devotions in moderation and our kids don't do them in excess.  This saying might sound good at first but it doesn't take God's grace into account.  If you lose your cool because your kids have lost one of every matching pair of shoes once again it doesn't mean that your kids are going to be hot-tempered little jerks in church that morning as they follow your example.  It's in moments like these that you get to remind your children that there is no one who is sinless and that includes you.  You need God's grace just as much as your children needed it when they were called to the principal's office for some mischievous thing you thought they were incapable of.  When you sin in front of your kids you are giving them an opportunity to see grace at work and a woman who leans into the finished work of Jesus.  

A good mom knows she can't be good all of the time but that Jesus was good all of the time.  When you once again realize that you haven't be able to live up to your expectations remember that God's are so much bigger.  What?  That's depressing!  But wait.  Is it?  God's standard is perfection.  You and I are required to live up to His standard.  His standard of perfection applies to words, thoughts and deeds.  So even if you were perfect today in your actions you still screwed up in your thoughts.  Even if you humbly managed to get your screaming child to the daycare doors without ever muttering a curse, you still cursed under your breath.  Perfection.  You are required to be perfect.  The problem is that you can't be perfect.  It's impossible.  I believe that is one of the reasons that God gives us children.  They constantly remind us that we are imperfect and that we are incapable of being perfect.  Even the best mom is going to eventually be the worst mom for a day.  The good news is that Jesus was good all of the time.  He was perfect.  He obeyed God perfectly in word, thought and deed.  In every area that we failed, Jesus succeeded.  When you are questioning whether or not you are a good mom turn to Jesus who is a perfect Savior.  A good mom knows that she can't be good all of the time.  This mother's day, let your imperfections be a reminder that you need a Savior.  

Of course, this doesn't mean that you don't do your very best as a mom.  Grace doesn't tell us to give up.  Yes, you give up on earning salvation and God's favor - but you don't give up on the effort of godliness.  Grace does mean that the best mom is motivated by what has been done for her by Jesus Christ.  She is motivated to live out what she believes as she raises up her children.  She knows that her life is all about grace and so she extends that grace to her children and allows God to work grace in her life whether she feels like a total failure or a complete hero for the day.  The good and the bad is all of grace and the best moms know it.  
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