"When You Wish You Were a Different Mommy"
“… and finally He said to me, ‘My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.’ So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on — I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (The Voice)
When my firstborn was 3 years old, he told me he wished he had a different mommy.
He spat the words from the seat of his faded red time-out chair where he’d landed after digging holes in the neighbor’s yard. He was certain that another mommy would understand that the best dinosaur bones were buried in the flowerbed across the street.
I’d remained silent, the angry words hanging between us like the strand of hair dangling over my son’s icy blue eyes. But every piece of my wounded spirit had agreed with my fiery boy. I wish you had a different mommy, too, my heart cried.
Truth be told, I didn’t want my son to exchange me for a new mommy; I just wished that I could be a different mommy. One who laughed more, forgave quicker and floundered less. One who never yelled in frustration or cried in exhaustion, and could turn scraps of paper into a Pinterest-worthy craft and bake a birthday cake from scratch. I wished I were a mom who innately knew how to parent children with temperaments unlike my own.
At first, I assumed my insecurities would disappear in time … that once I figured out how to be a fabulous mom, my parenting flaws would fade. I read dozens of parenting books and studied the habits of moms who seemed to have it all together. But ironically, the more children I had, the more apparent my shortcomings became.
Ten years later as I sat exhausted, rocking our fitful fifth-born, I eyeballed the mess around me — laundry and Lego piles, homework folders and smelly gym bags — and exhaled a discouraged sigh. Then, in a moment of vulnerable honesty, I confessed my angst to my husband.
“I feel like I’m not enough. I can’t ever do enough. Love enough. Work enough. Pray enough …” Jostling the fussy infant in my arms, I felt that familiar churn of self-doubt rising in my stomach.
My husband stared at me, his tender gaze reflecting my pain. “You don’t have to be enough,” he murmured quietly. “That’s Jesus’ job.”
I let his reassuring words seep deep into my splintered soul. In my striving to be enough, I’d forgotten that Christ’s perfect plan for my children depends on His faithfulness, not my flawlessness.
Late that night, I opened my Bible to 2 Corinthians 12:9 and underlined this sacred pledge: “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Then I wrote a simple declaration in the margin of my Bible: “I am not enough, but Jesus is.”
From that moment on, I began to replace my fears with faith.
Instead of spending all of my energy on futile attempts to be a perfect mom, I chose to spend time getting to know my perfect Savior. I committed to reading God’s Word daily and investing in prayer, memorizing Scripture and practicing the habit of gratitude. I “staked my claim” in the promises of Christ, and slowly, my qualms were quelled.
Today, I can humbly say that my firstborn’s wish has come true. I am a different mommy. I’m still not enough for my children, but Jesus is. As I trust in His sufficiency and rest in His grace, I’m learning to live in His strength rather than obsess over my weaknesses. Because this far-from perfect mommy has discovered a liberating truth — we have a Savior who is an expert at filling holes (even dinosaur-sized ones).
Dear Jesus, I’ll never be perfect, but You are. I want to live in the light of Your strength and let Your love shine through all of my holes. Show me how to trade my fears for faith and give me an unquenchable desire for Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 1:25, “You can count on this: God’s foolishness will always be wiser than mere human wisdom, and God’s weakness will always be stronger than mere human strength.” (The Voice)
Psalm 18:30, “Everything God does is perfect; the promise of the Eternal rings true; He stands as a shield for all who hide in Him.” (The Voice, emphasis added)