I recently went on a walk with two seven-year-old "mommies."
I should probably clarify. I have twin seven-year-old girls, and the other day we went for a walk, but this was no ordinary walk. My girls were dressed to the nines, with glittering purses and fashionable clothes. They held my old, fifteen-year-old iPods in their hands and placed wired headphones in their ears. They grabbed the stroller and gently placed their beloved stuffies inside so they could walk around the neighborhood. As we strolled down the street, we attracted the smiles of more than one passerby.
When I asked them why they were acting like this, they responded, "Because we want to be a mommy just like you."
First of all, let me be clear about one thing: I am not fashionable. I don't go on walks with glittering purses or fashionable clothes. I don't walk around with my fifteen-year-old iPod or with wired headphones in my ears. They see a version of me that, while flattering, is inaccurate. But also, at that moment, I felt convicted. I was simultaneously flattered, humbled, and terrified. Man, these girls notice everything.
Motherhood is a beautiful calling. It is one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to love, pray for, teach, shelter, and protect our three little kids. But motherhood is also one of the most humbling parts of my life. As a mom, I fail quite often. Even on my best days, I can be short-tempered, arrogant, impatient, and rude. I don't reflect the loving qualities that Paul commends to us in 1 Corinthians 13 (patience, kindness, etc). Motherhood means having little humans who see you at your best and at your worst. Our kids notice the habits we have and the habits we say we have but don't. They notice what we love and what we say we love. They're watching, even when we think they're not.
Yet when I fail, when I'm short-tempered or rude, which to my shame can happen quite often, I have the opportunity to point to Jesus. I can point to the grace of God by admitting that I was wrong. I can seek their forgiveness. I can remind them that while mommy is a sinner, Jesus never, ever sinned. Jesus loves and pursues us perfectly. And even when I fail, I can point to the perfect forgiveness and grace of Christ, joyfully proclaiming that God's grace abounds. It is a beautiful and heavy responsibility to be raising little sinners, pointing them to Jesus through my victories and failures.
I was recently talking to a friend who was venting about her teenager's bad language. He kept using a select few words that were driving her crazy. But as the conversation went on, she confessed, "He probably gets it from me. I don't have the best language either." We laughed together and humbly remembered: motherhood is discipleship. We are teaching our kids what matters in life by the way we live and love. The question is, are we pointing our children to the Lord, or are we praising God with our lips while our daily lives remain unchanged by His mercy and grace?
Praise God, He can redeem even our worst moments. And thankfully, He allows every woman to be involved in the beautiful call of discipleship. Even if you don't have children in your home, you can still become a spiritual mother to younger gals in your local church. You can disciple, invest in, and pray for other women. Whether in the home or in the local church, let us not take the responsibility of motherhood lightly. It is a great joy and incredible privilege to shepherd little hearts to the Father.