Tuesday, January 7, 2014

If I could have been The Very Best Mom


We were slogging through Missouri the other day in a snow storm, and spent about an hour and a half in a convenience store trying to figure out the wisest approach to the rest of our trip home.

If only, I thought to myself, if ONLY I were the kind of mom who could gather her wits about her at a time like this and turn it into a hilarious adventure.  If only I could quick think up a scavenger hunt for my kids, or a silly song and dance to make this a bonding moment we would never forget.

But alas, I am the freeze up because you are a little panicked and you don't know what to do kind of mom.  The kind of mom who will be thankful if she can just find the sense to make some good food purchasing choices to stock the emergency supply. The kind who tries so hard to be nice at times like this, but snaps a little when a jacket is cast aside on a gross floor. The kind who knows God is there and hears her weak and silent "Help!" and that he can very well take it from there, even, miraculously, with a complete lack of more specific instructions from her.  The kind of mom who thinks fewer words exchanged between husband and wife would probably be better under circumstances such as these.  The kind who, only in retrospect, thinks more might have been helpful.  If they could have been carefully chosen.

I am not The Very Best Mom.

Before I was a mom (and a wife), I was many things, and good at them.  Maybe not the best, but good enough to be noticed and recognized.  A casual observer might have thought I was good at "everything", because anything I didn't excel at, I QUIT!  Who's got time for that?

Parenting is the first thing ever that I couldn't quit when I found out I wasn't nearly as good as I hoped I would be.  If there ever was ANYTHING I hoped to be the best at, it would have been parenting.

I will spare you all of the evidence that I am not The Very Best Mom.  It would take up volumes.  You might see a glimpse of yourself on there and feel bad--or glad--when neither of those would be a helpful response.  The details of my shortcomings are not the point.  But the FACT that my shortcomings are not the point, THAT is a ticket to freedom.

God, in his mercy, did not make me The Very Best Mom.

He could.  He STILL could.  He is growing me, after all.  But God is way too kind to feed my ego, my PRIDE.  Because even more than wanting me to be good, he wants me to be free of that.

After we made the decision to get back on the road the other day, we were reading in the car.  I have often heard people mention the impact of C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, so we read it on our trip.  (Mind you, my kids were playing on their iPods, but they piped up every once in awhile about the book.)

Here is how Lewis spoke to my plight:

"Pride can often be used to beat down the simpler vices.  Teachers, in fact, often appeal to a boy's Pride, or, as they call it, his self-respect, to make him behave decently: many a man has overcome cowardice or lust or ill-temper, by learning to think that they are beneath his dignity--that is, by Pride.  The devil laughs.  He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride."

"We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity--as if God Himself was proud.  He is not in the least worried about His dignity.  The point is, He wants you to know Him:  wants to give you Himself.  And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble--delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life."

And so, all of my best efforts have failed to make me the mom I might have wanted to be.  But instead, Grace is at work.  "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)  It is the fruit of the Spirit.  Not a to do list.  He is at work, and thankfully, it does show in me as I choose to work with him and not in opposition to him.

Best of all?  This God of grace holds my family in his hands.  He is not depriving them of something they need because I am not The Very Best Mom.  He knows what they need, what I need, and he put us together.

He IS the Very Best.


sparkle100-havealook.blogspot.com said...

Oh this is what I call a disaster ready to happen.

Your Lord was in the driving seat for sure.

They say you can be the best driver in your judgement but is the next guy. That can drive you for a loop.

Was it that important to have to go out.

They have warnings all the time.

On radio or tv.

I should talk.

Weeks ago hubby and I ran down to the country dump.
Only 15 minutes from home.
Well black ice hit us. We went in the dish.
Sat for two hours. No hat no gloves for me.
Now how brainless was I.
People asked by the number to help pull us out. Yet just know one who is not familiar with our car.
Could pull our bumper off. Then say sorry Oops.
Finally two hours came the tow truck. That day was crash ups all over. So all tow trucks out to two and so we had to wait.

Tracy P. said...

Hello, "Sparkle"! Those are the exact questions we were asking ourselves. There were others as well, but the thing is, we did not start out at home. We were about 600 miles away, and trying to get here. We considered stopping, but there were some safety issues with that too. God took care of us! Thanks for stopping by and caring. :-)

Life with Kaishon said...

This is so good Tracy. I love that you shared your heart. I think you are The Very Best Mom because you love your kids so much. You love them when they are playing baseball and basketball. You love them when they are swimming and baking. You love them with all that you are. To me, that means you are the best.

I am glad Jesus has you and your sweet family in His hands. He is always watching over you. He picked the perfect people to be in your family.

Love. Becky

Givinya De Elba said...

That was a wonderful blog post. I could have written it myself, but for the fact I am neither The Best Sort Of Mom nor The Best Sort Of Blogger! But neither matters - my Lord pulls me out and makes beauty of the ashes, I don't know how!

Tracy P. said...

GDE, I don't know either, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed that he does! It's been fun to see your face pop up here. :-)

Skeller said...

aaah, see? this is why you can share the "same thing" however often you like. good stuff. big picture stuff.

HJ said...

"...because anything I didn't excel at, I QUIT! Who's got time for that?" That cracked me up!! I could just HEAR you saying that. :-)

Sometimes CS Lewis words are so good that he kind of freaks me out! Sigh.

At Christmas, I was involved in a weird conversation (or an innocent victim of it) b/t my mom and my aunt. They were arguing if my hubby is perfect or not - weird, right? I never claimed he was, but I am pretty fond of the guy. My mom was basically insisting he is and my aunt was trying to quiz me on ways he might not be... (Why? Don't know! Sometimes I think people want me to bad mouth my R - but I got nothin' for them - that's not to say I'm never upset or we never disagree, but I still got nothin' for them.) Anyhow, flabbergasted, finally I said, "R isn't any more or less perfect than any of us are, I suppose - but he surely is perfect for me." My aunt just looked at me and said - "Well - now that's a good answer." And she dropped it. Bizarre. Anyhow, your story just reminded me of that.

Tracy P. said...

Great answer! I feel the same way about Lee. Had to be sort of worth it to hear your mom sticking up for him though. :-)

StitchinByTheLake said...

Interesting thoughts Tracy - but it seems to me that if we were perfect moms we would be setting our children up for failure. I mean, really, none of us ever thinks we are perfect moms and if our children thought we were perfect then they would always be comparing themselves to us. And failing to be perfect. Am I making sense? :) blessings, marlene

Tracy P. said...

TOTAL sense, Marlene!