Today is one of those days the Deceiver is working overtime.
"someone else would do such a better job homeschooling my kids"
"my friends who are mothers probably never lose their cool like I do"
"I'm a lousy wife"
"wonder how many issues I'm planting in my kids' hearts that they will have to go to a therapist to work through someday..."
"no one is really buying this act I'm trying to sell. Everybody sees right thru me and knows what a wonderful, homeschooling mom wanna be I really am"
"I will never be the wife I should be. It's hopeless."
have been after me all day.
Guilt. Big time. Failure is all I can see today.
So I tried to do something to make myself feel better. Something a good mother would do. I pulled out their American Heritage Girls handbook and we began working on earning their cake decorating badge.
We worked together to make cupcakes and discussed different types of food coloring and experimented with what colors we could make. We made a cake that looked like a frog. We put candles on it and sang, "Happy January to us" before we blew them out. My kitchen was covered with icing in all colors of the rainbow and sprinkles and flour and general chaos.
Afterwards, as I was cleaning up and the kids were outside riding their scooters, I wondered how my efforts had changed my status in their minds for the day. Did they think better of me? The same?
It was then that the Spirit brought to mind all the teaching on grace I have been immersed in the last year and a half.
I'm STILL trying to earn my status.
I'm STILL searching for approval in virtually every area of my life. As a wife, as a mother, as a friend, in my fitness level, by my reputation, etc.
Because I still haven't really grasped the great price that has been paid for my ransom. Not really. Not enough to let me rest in the knowledge that I am okay just the way I am. Not enough to enable me to throw off my perfectionist tendencies and my continual striving to be the best at everything. And surely not enough to be okay when my sad attempts to be the best are just trampled on by those who do it better, faster, more efficiently.
Graciously, Jesus reminded me of the things I have done right. This year of homeschooling has been, um, kinda disastrous at times. I've lost my temper. I've yelled. I've disciplined in anger when my child threw pencils and slammed doors and defied my authority. I've failed time and time again to show them the very qualities I am striving to model for them.
But on the other side of that, my girls have seen repentance, grief over sin, and reconciliation in action. They have seen a mother who has very real shortcomings but thru Jesus and because of His great love for me, they've seen Him pick me up and dust me off and set me on the right path over and over. They've seen my honesty in seeking their forgiveness and they've learned that no matter the failure and no matter the number of offenses, Jesus welcomes His children back. Every time. No questions asked and no clicking of the tongue in reproof when I ask forgiveness.
And I'm still learning, too. I'm learning, really trying to grasp, the idea that God's expression towards me does not change to a frown when I fail. He's not really seeing ME at all, even when I am being "godly". He only sees His Son's spotless blood covering me.
No "parent of the year" award or June Cleaver type mothering makes Him love me more. By the same token, my moments of failure do not make Him love me less. I am just His, plain and simple. There are no points to be earned, no status to be achieved, no accomplishments to grab onto.
It's just me.
And He's okay with that.
I understand that His great love for me will cause me to WANT to please Him, to live as He desires of me, to become more like Him. But on these days where I just feel the weight of failure bearing down on me til I can hardly breathe, I rest, no, I RELAX, in the knowledge that He is smiling upon Me regardless of how I feel about myself.
And not just smiling. He's DELIGHTING over me (Zephaniah 3:17).
So relax with me, wives and mamas out there. We are accepted, cherished, and are the apple of our Savior's eye. No amount of cupcake decorating will ever earn us points. No amount of trying to be the perfect wife (or even substandard!) will make us more worthy.
We are precious treasures, plain and simple. If my girls walk away from their years in my home with nothing else, THIS is the truth I want them to take with them.