Yesterday I had the privilege of going to a baby shower. The picture above features my oldest daughter with the mother-to-be. What a beautiful celebration of God’s work in a young woman, bringing her to the verge of motherhood. All of the guests were asked to give her some written encouragement or advice about mothering. As I thought about the one thing that would be most valuable to share, I decided to encourage her in the area where I have most struggled in motherhood.
My advice was to never forget that God chose her to be the mother of this baby boy. He did this, knowing full well that she would never do it perfectly. This is God’s intention: that His power would be made perfect in her weakness.
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Of course, motherhood is such a high calling that our weaknesses become apparent very quickly, ushering in a wave of insecurity. This is compounded by the accusations and doubts of the enemy. We wonder if we’re doing it right, if we’re doing it as well as someone else, if we should do more, read more, be more….and we often forget that the goal is not to perform, but to let our weakness be the conduit through which Christ’s power may rest on us. In essence, we have to embrace our weakness and let the Lord do His work of teaching, transforming, maturing us.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The truth is that we are a work in progress. We are not the foreman on this job; God is! What can we say about His work in us? It’s messy. It requires patience. However, as mothers, we struggle with being imperfect and unfinished. We often operate in a performing-kind-of-work rather than a surrendering-kind-of-work. We forget that God is the only one that can complete this work. We forget that He makes great preparation for this work. We forget that He has promised to finish it.
We fear that because we aren’t finished yet, our imperfections and failures will ruin our children, but it’s actually our tendency to perform and forget that we are God’s work in progress that threatens to unravel our family life. We put pressure on ourselves to do everything perfectly and pressure on our children to respond perfectly to our parenting performance. All the while forgetting that every person involved is a work in progress. As I type this right now, I see so clearly how this has played out in my home over the last 15 and a half years.
I tend to believe that my weaknesses and failures disqualify me: from being a good parent, from being a good Christian, from being used by God, from enjoying His love and favor. However, it is only my inability to recognize my weakness that disqualifies me! God intends for my weakness to be a reminder of how much I need Him. He hopes that every time I am confronted with my inadequacies, that I will run to Him, that I will cling to Him, that I will make up my mind to hold on to Him and trust Him to work in me every moment of the day!
Friend, your weaknesses and failures do not disqualify you. Your weaknesses are part of God’s plan for your life. Stop pretending, stop performing, and begin to embrace your shortcomings (and the grace He offers) as the tether that will keep you close to God.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
photo credit: my daughter, Micah De Silvia, created the beautiful shower collage.