I’m an imperfect mom in need of heaps of grace. There are many ways this is true and many confessions I could make, but as I was thinking about writing a post for this Imperfect Mom Confessional series, I thought I’d go straight to the source and find out what my eleven-year-old son thought.
At first he was hesitant to answer, sweet boy, but after I reassured him that I really wanted to know what he thought, he told me.
“You blame me, first, a lot.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. Will you please forgive me? I’ll try to work on that.”
He did forgive me, and our relationship was strengthened. I should ask those kinds of questions more often.
He’s right. As the youngest in the house, it happens. When the milk is left out, the toilet clogs, or the gate is left open and the dog gets loose (to name a few examples), he tends to be the one I question first. Whether he’s really at fault or not, this is wrong. Immediately, a verse came to my mind.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
Even if he is, indeed, at fault when something goes awry, I don’t want to blame him. I would rather offer him grace, which allows him to be free to come to me, to make it right, just as Jesus does for me. Blame and shame should not have a place in the way I relate to anyone, least of all my family. I would rather show love and grace.
Using 1 Corinthians 13:7, here’s how I (and any other imperfect moms) can apply God’s wisdom, to avoid blaming and shaming my kids.
[Tweet “here’s how I can apply God’s wisdom, to avoid blaming and shaming my kids. @dawnklinge #imperfectmom”]
1. Love bears all things
The word, bear, in this context, seems to mean to support, to be able to accept or stand up to, to take responsibility. This is exactly what Christ does for us, the message of the gospel. He took on the responsibility for our sins at the cross so that we could be forgiven. Because of Jesus, we are no longer slaves to sin. We can live out the possibilities that God sees in us because of his son.
2. Love believes all things
Love always takes the opportunity to believe the best of another person. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness…”
3. Love hopes all things
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” A biblical hope is one that is centered on the reality of things not yet seen. God’s grace, and the hope that he extends to all. None of us are beyond his reach. Let’s choose to believe the best about our kids, even when we can’t see what we’re hoping for.
4. Love endures all things
The word, endure, means to take control and hold something, no matter what the cost. Love doesn’t quit. Ever.
As I reflect upon the meaning of 1 Corinthians 13:7, I believe it gives me a deeper picture of how God loves all of us. God is the perfect Father and the example I am to follow in my parenting. I am not a perfect mom, but I am in Christ, so I’m free to love as he loves, following his example of grace. I give grace because I have received it. This is not by my own strength, but through the Spirit in me.
[Tweet “I am not a perfect mom, but I am in Christ @dawnklinge #imperfectmom”]
[Tweet “I’m free to love as he loves, following his example of grace. @dawnklinge #imperfectmom”]
[Tweet “This is not by my own strength, but through the Spirit in me. @dawnklinge #imperfectmom”]
By the way, my sixteen-year-old daughter looked over my shoulder as I was writing this, and disagreed with something I wrote. She said that it’s her, not her brother, who is the first to always get blamed. I had to apologize to her, too. Clearly, I’m far from perfect, in need of grace.
I will continue to grow in my ability to love, but sometimes, I will blame unfairly, and I will sin against my kids and against God. When I do, the best thing to do is to ask for their forgiveness, admitting my fault.
When we sin, we want to show our kids, through our example, the correct response. No shame, just a recognition of our need for grace, which we find when we turn to Jesus.
Dawn is a writer living near Seattle with her husband, Derek, and their two kids, Grace and Trent. A gatherer of friends, she enjoys seeing how many people she can host in her tiny home. A church girl her entire life, she’s still trying to figure out what it looks like to put her trust in Jesus, so she’s writing about it @ Above the Waves. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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