When my children were young, as routine as saying my nightly prayers before bedtime, I would recount all the mistakes I had made with them that day. Some failings felt so significant that I would measure them in how many extra years of therapy they would require. While most people worry about saving for retirement, I worried about saving for my children’s counseling copays when they were grown and their mama-messed-me-up issues would manifest like a scary clown face popping out of a Jack-in-the-Box.
Motherhood was hard and it seemed like the harder I tried, the more aware I became of the spaghetti sauce dripping from the kitchen ceiling. (Truthfully that scarlet drip would have been there regardless of my children because whenever I am in the kitchen catastrophic events occur.)
Now, a mother of teenage boys, I look back on those years and the litany of suffering I subjected myself to and I realize how little I knew God. I couldn’t show myself any mercy because I had yet to know his. God was this perfect being who couldn’t possibly understand the trials of being an imperfect parent. He had never wrestled anyone with an arched back into a car seat or saw the need to abandon the baby’s stroller in the parking lot after realizing it was more likely that he would collapse from frustration than the too-complicated-to-fold buggy. Of course, Jesus did wrestle demons and I am sure collapsing was a possibility when he endured 40 days without food or water in the desert. Still, in those early days of motherhood, I relied more on parenting books than our perfect father. Read more