Once, just for fun, I let my six year old daughter try on a BEAUTIFUL flower girl dress at Burlington. It was long and white and flowery, and she spun like a dream in it. The fun ended when it was time to take it off. “No!” she objected. My usually compliant daughter went into full tantrum mode to get me to buy the almost $100 dress for her. Major standoff in the dressing room. Did I plead, cajole, threaten “I’m never taking you shopping again!” Of course not! To this day, my daughter doesn’t remember the event, so I’m sticking to my story.
Have I ever forgotten to pick up my one public schooled child and he had to ride home with our neighbors? Not once, but two or more times? Not Me!
Did I tell my beautiful confident daughter that she needed to smooth out the frizz of her hair before a big group of her friends arrived and she replied with, “Mom! I like my hair how it is!” Nope.
Did I ever accidentally let a not so nice word slip out of my mouth in front of my eleven year old in the car? Sh….urely not!
Did I call my college aged daughter and make her cry by trying to control her decisions and make her do something she felt was impossible? Who me?
Have I ever gotten so frustrated with a child that I stormed off in a huff? Doesn’t sound like me….
Did I forget about filling Christmas stockings the night before Christmas and resort to filling theirs with canned goods? Yeah that one I’ll admit to! (It was hilarious.)
As you might have guessed. I’ve done all of the above. In fact, this Mother’s Day I’m aware that I am no where near the perfect mom. The thing is, I never could be. But my kids need an example of grace and forgiveness. They need someone who admits mistakes, asks forgiveness, and seeks to restore relationships.
One of my sons called his brother a rotten name this week. My husband and I both overheard it and confronted him. He lied about it. It was obvious he was lying. He finally admitted his lie. We sent him to bed early. Then, he beat himself up crying in his bed for quite some time. He felt horrible. Eventually, he came out and apologized to all of us and to God.
“We all make mistakes.” I told him. “We sin and mess up. But the good news is 1 John says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse from ALL unrighteousness.” In fact, if we try to say we haven’t sinned, 1 John 1:8 says we are deceived! “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
But the good news is that when we do sin, we have and advocate, Jesus Christ, the righteous one. He already paid for our sins.
As my children get older, especially my girls, I want my relationship with them to be one where we are companions, sisters-in-Christ. I need to let go of the controlling, the unmet expectations, and the pressure that I might put on them or myself to be perfect. I’ve been reading the book Mended, Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters. It’s full of wisdom for me for navigating my relationships with my almost-adult daughters, wisdom for reaching out to my own mother, in fact, wisdom that can be applied to almost anyone I have a lifelong relationship with.
The book is all about restoring, repairing and rebuilding where relationships have maybe taken a sour turn, gotten stale, or just need some help. It’s how to come alongside a mother or daughter who is hurting without trying to control; it’s learning to not offer unsolicited advice that isn’t helpful; it’s learning how to ask forgiveness and build wellness into your relationships.
I know I needed this book, because surprise…I’m not perfect. Neither are my children. This Mother’s Day, I’m thankful for the chance to be an imperfect daughter to an imperfect Mom who taught me how to love well , and a mother to some imperfect kids who put up with their imperfect mother. And even though we are imperfect, our hearts can still be mended together by love.