For When You Yell at Your New Child for the First Time
As we all walked together through the church lobby, one pastor complimented my crew on how well they were all holding hands and listening. Another quipped that we ought to have our own reality show.
Then, as one of our deacons held the door for us and whispered another compliment as we entered the service, my daughter said something. I don't remember what it was, but I know it was in the only volume she ever speaks in, which is more than "loud" but not quite "obnoxious."
And then I did what any mother would do just after being commended by three different church leaders.
I snapped, "Shut. up."
Mother of the year? Not me.
But it was better for all of us than my reaction several months ago, which was to live in constant fear that my already traumatized kids would never, ever, ever, ever heal if I screwed up. Too many people have failed them, I told myself, and I can't be another person in that line of failures. Their ability to move forward in life or to stay stuck in past hurts is up to me and my handling of their broken places, I whispered to my already perfectionist self.
What should I have said to those self-spoken mantras?
You will fail.
You will yell.
You will do your best and screw up anyway.
You will do your worst because, well, you're not Jesus.
You were never meant to save your children.
That's His job.
So go ahead: Fail. Yell. Screw up.
And in doing so,
teach them about humility when you apologize.
Teach them about forgiveness when you ask for it.
Teach them about God when you turn to Him for perfection instead of expecting it
or your children.
or your spouse.
Stop holding yourself to a standard that you were never, ever, ever, ever meant to meet.
Let us then with confidence draw near
to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help in time of need.
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