Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16
We all have them – those moments we are not proud of. The times we lose it on our children despite our best efforts to be patient in hopes of setting an example of emotional control. Tension builds as the minutes tick away and you still haven’t left the house. The children don’t have their shoes on, one isn’t even dressed, and lunches have yet to be packed. Arriving at work on time is looking less and less likely. You try to hurry everyone along but by the third time you’ve asked them to do something, it sounds more like a desperate shrill than a calm request. By the time you’re pulling out of the driveway, more than one spirit has rebelled, stomped their feet, or let out a cry. Perhaps it was mom.
Can you relate?
I am currently in the throws of mothering young children and find myself wanting do-overs on the regular. “Next time it will be different,” I think. And sometimes it is; most of the time it’s not.
So what can a mom do when she feels guilty about another mom-fail moment?
I ponder this as another Mother’s Day is upon us and I long to have the day be a mark of progress. What have I done well since last year and what could I improve on?
This year, I’ve been learning the beauty of confession and forgiveness as a parent. As my children age, they become more aware of my tone of voice, facial expressions, and word choice, picking up on my disapproval more often than not. Their minds soak up our interaction like dry sponges and the most important thing I want them to learn is forgiveness – asking for it and extending it.
Feeling guilty about failing as a mom is a natural response when we screw up as parents. I can’t imagine how Mary felt when she realized Jesus had been left behind in Jerusalem. The family had been there for the annual Passover visit and when it came time to leave, they departed without Jesus. It turns out Jesus had intentionally stayed behind, but talk about epic mom-fail – traveling for an entire day without realizing your child is missing. As parents, we feel the ultimate burden of responsibility for the well-being and safety of our children. Mary was anxious until the moment she and Joseph found Jesus in the temple three days later.
Regardless of the ways we make mistakes as parents, we don’t have to live under the bondage of guilt. And our children can help.
James 5:16 says, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. When I confess my lack of self-control to my children, it is a humbling yet healing moment. They get to be a part of the process of experiencing freedom from mom-fails as they extend forgiveness to me.
Freedom is found in the healing of forgiveness.
Not only do I feel better after being forgiven, but I am more inclined to extend grace to them as they do so freely with me.
Mom-fails are inevitable and try as hard as I may, it is impossible for me to expect a perfect reaction to my children every time they mess up. But, it is possible to experience freedom from the guilt through confession and forgiveness – and that’s a pretty good place for a mom.
Lord, thank you for the opportunity to parent children and the gift they are to me. Teach me to be an example of a humble sinner in need of receiving and extending forgiveness and grace. Amen