NEWSFLASH: There are no perfect parents
Yes, you read correctly. There are no perfect parents in this world. We are all imperfect beings and, therefore, are raise imperfect children. This thought gripped my heart recently when I realized (again) that my children are being raised by a mom and dad with their own challenges.
It boggles my mind that God would trust us to shepherd and raise children knowing that we have the propensity to live out of our past experiences and could cause hurt in another’s life. I love how God created us to love and be loved and that He first loved us. He has poured his love into our hearts and tells us time and time again, “I love you”. We cannot do anything to earn His love. His love frees us from our chains. His love frees us to love.
At the moment, I am watching my children emerge into young adulthood. I can see a glimmer of the man and woman they will be as they mature. In their uniqueness, they are discovering what they truly like in this world, what they want to study and who they want to be. They inherited some DNA from my husband and I, but are unique in every way.
Children remind us to hope for the future. They are part of a bigger story.
As I contemplate about their future, I sometimes wonder that when they leave home might they have to deal with some remnants of discomfort from their childhood? In my idealistic thinking, I would love that they are perfectly whole, but we are all fallen and broken to some degree. We have all fallen short of the glory of God (my kids too) and they need Him more than ever. It is a challenge to parent children without giving in to the pressure around us so that they can conform. It’s difficult to encourage them to stand alone and be who God made them to be – even if it makes them unpopular. It’s difficult in the light of our ever-present connected society to help them say ‘no’.
So, I have to consciously remind myself that I’m not a perfect parent. They don’t expect me to be perfect and I can remove that pressure from myself to make sure that they’ve had all the extra lessons, extra murals, extra coaching and just the right of amount of firmness to produce a perfect child. There was never that pressure on me anyway. Just a lie that I sometimes believed in my desire to raise a child free from pain. That’s not possible. I am unable to shield them from every harsh word, from the violence in the world around them and from their own selfishness. I just have to point them to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts. After all, He knows them best. He made them and shaped them.
As an imperfect mom, I have to, from time to time, release them back to God, love them, pray for them and occasionally admit my mistakes and ask for forgiveness from them when I need to. I don’t need to model perfection, just love. I don’t need to live in fear that I will make a mess of being a mom. But, I do need to model a life of love lived in all its imperfection with hope and honesty.
So, this is my confession: I’m an imperfect parent and it’s ok.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. How have you been freed from the pressure to be perfect in your parenting style? What challenges do you face?