Last week I listened to a speaker talk about what it means to be a Godly mother. She began her talk by asking those of us in the audience to list qualities of a Godly Mom. Before long we had a decent list: A Godly Mom is patient. A Godly Mom doesn’t yell at her kids. A Godly Mom prays. A Godly mom reads the Bible and maybe even does devotions with her kids. A Godly Mom is selfless.
Then she asked us to list the qualities of an UN-Godly Mom. It didn’t take us too long on that list either: An Un-Godly Mom is impatient, an Un-Godly mom yells at her kids. An Un-Godly Mom is angry. An Un-Godly Mom is selfish with her time.
Immediately after the making of that list I had the stinging thought, “Yuck. I am apparently an Un-Godly Mom.” As I listened to the list which consisted mainly of qualities that none of us want to possess as moms I couldn’t help but think that the qualities of an Un-Godly Mom were qualities that all Moms possess from time to time–that all people possess from time to time. At the very least they were qualities that *I* possess from time to time.
I was hopeful. I kept waiting for the grace part of the message, but it didn’t come. And that made me sad.
The speaker that morning made some points, and there were even parts of her message that challenged me (the reminder to be selfless like Jesus hit home especially), but I just couldn’t get onboard with her overall message of dos and don’ts. I couldn’t help but think that she’d forgotten a crucial piece of the message to share with these Mamas who were trying their best and wearing themselves out with their own “Do” and “Don’t” lists.
It’s a message we hear every day even though it’s not always said in such straightforward terms. To be a “Good” or “Godly” Mom you have to do X, Y, and Z well all the time and you have to commit to not doing A, B, and C ever. You yelled at your kid today? You talked to your friend on the phone and forgot to run through spelling words with your first grader? Sorry, you’re off the first list and onto the second. In what I have come to believe is the judgiest Mama culture in history, when you add the element of the Christian faith to the equation of “good” motherhood sadly all too often the expectations and comparisons only get harsher and more and more beyond reach.
But this is what I know: It’s not what I do or don’t do that will ultimately make me a Godly mama.
What makes me a Godly mama is the fact that I know that on my own I could NEVER DO enough to be attached to the first list.
What makes me a Godly mom is simply this: Grace.
It’s being loved by the one who created me and created my kiddos and gave us to one another. It’s knowing that I am *not* enough on my own. It’s knowing that where I fail, His grace forgives me and leads me forward.
It’s a thing of being and not just doing. I *am* His child. I *am His beloved. I *am* forgiven. I *am* justified and because HE is enough, I am enough. I could Do, Do, Do every one of the things on the list and still NOT be a Godly Mom if I did it without a heart that knows Him.
I yell at my kids too much. I forget to pray as much as I should. I’m often not patient. And sometimes I am selfish about my time, my space, and my stuff.
But I am His. And He gives me the grace to know that even in my failings I can point my children to Him.
What makes me a Godly Mom is that I know that outside of Him, all of my list making is just dust on the verge of blowing away.
What makes me a Godly Mom is that I know I am weak…. That I am a mess… That I CAN’T DO myself to Him. I have to rely on what is already DONE and lean on Him for the strength and the faith and the empowerment of His spirit to help me to DO the good I want to do and NOT do those things that draw me and my kids away from Him.
I live all too often like life DOES depend on these lists. I live all too often forgetting about His grace and trying to beat myself over the head with an unattainable version of perfect. I write my list and wear myself out striving for whatever straw-Mom version of ‘perfect’ I’ve concocted that day.
I don’t have to.
I just have to lean in close and let Him meet me and my kids right where we are. I need to believe that when I am weak, He is strong. I have to remember the work that He has already done and simply BE in the immeasurable grace He lavishes upon me.
When I do that I relax. I remember who I am and whose I am. I am His beloved and I am the Mama he chose for these girls. I can relax and BE and the DOing will work itself out of that.