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Writing a New Story of Grace on Motherhood
by Jennifer Kelly on May 6th, 2016

I am NOT a great mother. 
In fact, I used to be a really bad one.

Now, more than ever, I find it essential to no longer define myself as a "good" mom or a "bad" one, just an imperfect one. Why we need to define roles in hard-line definitions, I will never know. People are not so easily pigeonholed as we would like them to be.

I'm just trying my best as a mom to help shape and cultivate hearts who will ultimately love the Lord. That is my prayer anyhow. I wish I could always say that about my story as a mother to my girls, but I cannot. 

As a mom, I've stockpiled plenty of moments where my words don't align with my actions and my message gets muddled in the mayhem and anxieties of this life. On the worst days, it gets absolutely maligned by my pure selfishness.

I'm not proud to say that there have been times that I've unleashed spouts of horror. Where my voice gets scary and angry, and has the capacity to instantly fill the hearts and minds of my innocent children with fear and trepidation. When I think about instances where I have so easily lost my patience over "spilled milk", I shutter.

When discipline is not expressed in love, but fear and exasperation, guilt always follows. And we would do good to pay attention to that guilt. We all know words can cut deeper than physical wounds, but when they come from the one who is supposed to nurture and protect - whoa. My girls are only 7 and 6 and I've done my fair share of, "I'm so sorry baby. Mommy is so sorry, forgive me?"

More recently, in the last few years, I have experienced plenty of precious times of unadulterated selfless acts of sacrifice and love. When I am their champion, their provider, their one and only defense. My arms and hands instinctively know how to caress my crying child, my voice turns airy and hopeful, and I whisper words of admiration, confirmation and love into the ears of my kids that constantly need to hear it over and over and over again. And when I think of those moments, tears well up instantly and I exhale. I know I'm learning how to become a better mother to my kids; and that has not been easy.

When I think of being a mom to my girls now, grace is neither poor in size, but moderate in daily quantity. For me, motherhood is middling grace. Learning, apologizing, disciplining, cleaning, instructing, loving, adjusting and balancing. My own grace extended is steady, sufficient, sizable, but it is deeply imperfect in every way.

As I find myself reflecting on my own parenting this time of year, I'm so thankful that God's grace is not middling. That if anything, it is abundant. The grace that Jesus extends is so un-steady, and over-the-top poured out for us, it is hard to understand. Yes, it is true that there is discipline and consequences, but there is always arms extended wide. Never abandonment. A God that will do whatever it takes to spend eternity with His children. Only we are left to decide.

And yet, in a world that puts so much pressure in a day - in honoring a ROLE of an imperfect human being, Jesus stands there and offers to take it all away. 

In Staci Eldridge's book, Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You, Staci eloquently and tenderly writes how to carefully understand your past, all the while allowing God to "rewrite your story". And if you know anything about me, then you know I am a woman with a past, a woman who has committed every sin, abomination, atrocity, (insert any detestable act here) in more ways then one.​ And yet, Jesus changed that despite the worst that was in me.

The Mother's Day propaganda has a remarkable ability to remind me of my insufficiency as a mom, as a wife, hell - as a woman.

It's when I take the time to sit down at Jesus' feet and remind myself that all of those insecurities can only be fully covered and fulfilled in the loving arms of His resurrected life before honor can be given to ANY role. Because it's God's story. It's about His love and glory all along.

To live in Jesus' redemptive light is the glorious Truth I'm offered to operate out of everyday. Sometimes I live like it - and other times I don't. But my Father in Heaven never stops whispering in the ear of His daughter over and over and over again, "Grace child. I love you, there is nothing you can do to stop my love".

It's the most unreasonable and difficult life lesson I've ever had to learn, that I'm still learning. To really trust that all my insecurity, all my sin, all of my insufficiencies, all of my desires, all of my shortcomings, EVERYTHING, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. That my past does not define me. That He can make me different, even better that what I was yesterday. Can this truly be? Yes, and despite me being me most of the time, I find over and over again that His grace is sufficient for me.

In truth, I actually cannot bear to live without it.

​I know Mother's Day is not an easy day for all. The pain of a child gone, or a child not born. Maybe you have experienced a lackadaisical mother's hurtful words or actions that have turned into deep threaded scars over time? Or perhaps you know the emptiness of a mom taken away too early on. There are many, many wounds that this holiday can so easily turn on in an instant. Regret, shame, unfulfilled desires, remorse, pain, hurt and agony... the list can go on and on.

Whatever your facing this Mother's Day, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ wash over you like fresh, living water this Sunday. May you stop and turn to Him and hear His whispers of grace and love and be filled with hope. Hope that He is who He says He is.

Hope that He can and will make you new again.

"Though our past has shaped us, we are not our past. Though our failures and sin have had an effect on who we are, we are not defined by our failures or our sin. Though thought patterns and addictions have overwhelmed us, we are not overcome by them and we will never be overcome by them. Jesus has won our victory. Jesus is our victory." -Staci Eldridge, Becoming Myself

If the only thing my daughters learn from me in their lifetime, is the message of Jesus, then my prayer will be answered and God will have done a miracle. A freaking miracle. Motherhood as truly been one of the largest experiences of grace in my lifetime. And yet, what God promises is true: I am forgiven.

God is rewriting my story; my story as a woman, my story as a wife, my story as a mother. Passing along to a new generation of women who's identity it rooted in His grace and love - despite me being me.

I used to be a bad mom, now I'm not. The only reason that changed is because of Jesus.​
Jesus is my victory. For this ragamuffin. For this woman at the well. For the least of these.

THAT is exactly what He promises and THAT is what He does. He takes the worst and whispers, "Grace child. I love you. Trust me. Come follow me". And then over time - rewrites your story, unlike anything you could ever imagine.

And that is the only Mother's Day message any of us need to hear: Grace through the precious blood of Jesus Christ when you make a choice to believe.

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