There’s no place to hide and no point in denying that when it comes to the ones we love—especially our children, we are prone to developing “blind spots”.
Yes, despite my Creator-endowed super powers of all-seeing-all-knowing mother-ness..I’ve struggled to be fair-minded when it comes to my kids. There’s something deep down in all of us that tends towards denial. We can hardly help it.
We’re their primary caregivers and first cheerleaders tasked with the dual privilege of drawing out the best in them while rooting out the worst— oftentimes in the same moments, using some of the same methods and always hoping for success in their future. However, it’s hard to be consistent. It’s hard to be fair.
Knowing this about myself helps.
I had no idea when I began writing that this “Tale of 2 Mothers” was about to go viral on the interwebs. It’s an important story on a number of levels but especially because it has gone so well in all the ways it could have gone so wrong. Beautiful how these two mothers “get it” and have modeled humility, love and respect towards one another because they both have the same goals in mind. Their children can now see what that looks like to be loved in the best of all possible worlds.
I want to be a part of that world, don’t you?
Let’s face it: there are few things that make us more vulnerable than the achilles heel of motherhood. It’s drawn out the best and the worst in me over the years. Whether it’s shrieking like a banshee at the “big kids” throwing rocks on the playground in the direction of my children, or praising my child for sharing so generously—all that passion and pride tends to be drawn from the same murky well.
So murky that sometimes at first, I couldn’t see …that my kid threw the first rock or the candy they were “sharing” so nicely with their siblings was actually stolen from the grocery store the day before. (Sigh) Hard stuff.
When they were young, it was a simple matter of instruction and demanded compliance often mixed with exhausting levels of inappropriate frustration because I not only wanted them to do well, do better and succeed— I wanted to look good too. Sadly, I feared looking like a bad mother. It’s a terrible pressure we Mommies put on our children, on ourselves…on one another.
Growing up alongside these three I’ve been privileged to share life with, over time my methods have grown softer, more understanding and less fear-motivated. I still want the very best for my now nearly-grown children but I am more able to trust that God does too and He invites— but doesn’t need— my help to do it.
As true as that is, I can’t deny the temptation I face every now and then to “stack the deck” in their favor. I can’t deny how hard it is to fight the urge to rescue them instead of letting them feel the weight of a poor decision or their sin.
It’s hard to watch them fall.
It’s hard to watch them fail.
I can’t deny how it hurts to face someone criticizing your child and refusing your apology because, let’s face it, “we have different parenting styles”. Hard, hard, hard. Hard because, deep down, I believe we have the same loving goals in mind despite our blind spots.
As you know, I’ve been reading through the Gospels again and there’s this place in Matthew 20 where the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John) kneels before Jesus asking if they can sit in the places of power on either side of Him in His glorious kingdom. Jesus replies that she doesn’t know what she’s asking. She doesn’t. He gently tells her that these places are taken by those prepared by the Father. Some indignation and awkwardness between the disciples follows but Jesus uses this as another teaching opportunity to remind them of who they are to be— it’s our reminder too.
I think about that mother and I just feel her. She honestly thought she was making the best move for her sons. She acted out of love…out of ignorance and Jesus was so gentle and kind. I’m not certain about this but it’s occurred to me that the places on the right and left of Jesus that God had already filled… might have easily been the places on either side of him as He hung on the cross. Like he said, oftentimes, we think we can “drink the cup” but don’t know what we’re asking. And God knows best…wait for it.
A few weeks ago the speaker at our community girls event mentioned how she’s learned the Christian life is not about simple obedience. Instead, she said, it’s found in the joy of abiding. I absolutely agree. I’ve learned that God really isn’t after blind obedience. He’s truly after abiding because He knows that heartfelt obedience will joyfully follow.
It’s why Jesus instructs us to abide with Him because when we get to the place where we are so deeply abiding…existing for and through Christ alone…well, obedience is no longer a problem. THAT’s what I’m after with my children— to teach by modeling before them what it means to abide. I pray it’s working.
I know it’s not the perfect parenting solution. I only know to lean on the perfect Savior and I surely know all about my daily, daily DAILY need for his help to do this thing called motherhood.
I’m nearly done with this season as my last one at home will be launching in a few years. But it’s my intent to be more gracious and grace filled towards other Mommies just trying their best to get it right. I want to do my best to remember that we all have blind spots… because we love and thankfully it’s because He first loves us….and I only have grace to spare.
What do you know about blindspots? Grace?