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My two friends and I were sitting at the kitchen counter eating fresh strawberries from a local farmer’s market and telling war stories. You know, stories about all the crazy things our kids had been doing recently. At times like this, we talk about what we do when our children back-talk, what training techniques seem to work well at what ages, what we do when we are sleep deprived, and on and on the stories and lamenting and encouragement go. We support each other and affirm each other and give counsel when needed. We love each other and we cry and we laugh when we talk about life with little ones.

This particular evening, much like our other times together, we found ourselves complaining a bit about the naughty things our children had done. And then my friend said something to the effect of, “If only I could cure my complaining problem! Guess we’re not much different from our children!” We laughed and agreed, and the words went deep.

We are not much different from our little ones.

We sin. We complain. We rebel. We scream. We hurt. We are human, born with a sin disease swimming through our being, just like our babes. The Bible says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity” {Psalm 51:5}. How easy it is to forget that we live in a sin-infested world with sin-infested DNA.

As the undeniable reality of my own sin nature convicted me of how I view my children, I was reminded of something I had read in one of Sally Clarkson’s books. In TheMission of Motherhood, she wrote about being frustrated with her children. She felt like her efforts weren’t proving fruitful, and no matter what she did with her children or how many times she told them what to do, it wasn’t working. Then her husband said to her, “Honey, at what age did you stop sinning? Because that’s when our children will stop.”

Wow. Is that a punch to the heart or what? It was for me. What a strong reminder that our children struggle just like we do. They have to fight the ugly in themselves, and it’s no fun for any of us. They are operating out of what they know, and it’s our job to civilize them (as my mother-in-law says). This means we need to offer them loads of grace and affirmation, so that they can be confident that we get it and we are on their team. I tell my children quite frequently, “Mommy needs help just like you. I need Jesus every day because I mess up, but He is gracious to love me and help, and He will help you too. We’re in this together.”

And us moms, we’re in this together as well. Let’s remember just how human we are, how beloved we are, and how surrounded by grace our efforts are.

Keep on out there, and remember, none of us will have “it” together on this earth! So walk relieved and free, knowing that you are loved anyway. Thank God.

by Sarah Mae
Part of this post is an excerpt from Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

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None of us will have “it” together on this earth! So walk free, knowing that you’re loved anyway. {Tweet this!}

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Sarah Mae,
    Wow, this really hit me…I have really been struggling with my grown children’s actions. I think and say to God so many time, “I didn’t raise them to make these poor choices.” Yet, I see them make these choices (often ones that hurt me) and my heart hurts. I wonder when they will ever learn?? I suppose this side of Heaven it’s a continual learning and growing process and I need to show the grace that was shown to me…but what do you do when it still hurts?
    Struggling…
    Bev

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      It’s a lifetime of maturing, isn’t it? As for the hurt, I don’t know except to release yourself from the guilt of it because none of us can go back, and even if we could, we would never be perfect parents. Our children are responsible for their own actions, and though the pain may be severe, we can only offer it up to God, keep praying, and walk free in faith. I’m praying for you right now Bev. {Hugs}

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Good advice…thank you!

    • Penny

      Bev,
      Parenting can be hard. I think of my poor parents that are no longer here. If they were I would tell them I am sorry for the times i did not listen to you or for any pain I might of caused. and i would say thank-you for being there for me and loving and caring for me even when I messed up.

      Take Care, praying for your heart.

      Penny

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        thanks Penny!! xx

  • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

    I’m smiling as I read this because of where I sit today–with two in college and one already out! One point you made that really isn’t the point of this post at all but which bears notice, is that you were with other moms, trading tales. THAT IS LIFE-GIVING IN MOTHERHOOD! I’m a believer that it takes a village to raise our babies–what better way to know we aren’t the only ones? What better place to receive encouragement, learn that you aren’t the “only one” and where you can give back what you’ve learned yourself? THAT would be a key piece of advice I’d give to young mamas…FIND others in a similar stage of momming…and a few who are just ahead of you to know where you’re going, and a few behind you to bring along yourself :).

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      You’re so right Robin, us moms seriously need each other and sharing all the ups and downs of “the mothahood.” So good.

  • Penny

    There is a lot to be learned from this. thank-you for your positive outlook. As parents we try to point our children in the right direction and hope and pray they follow it. I think something that helped me ( and taught me with my children) was that my parents didn’t dwell on it. That and the Lord’s Grace.

    Penny

  • Lovelle

    Sarah Mae,
    I don’t have children but this is such a good lesson for me with kids I work with and for my future. Thanks!

  • Rebecca Jones

    Great post for parents, we are created in God’s image, spirit. That Adamic nature may be crucified with Christ but it takes effort and the Holy Spirit to be disciplined ourselves. And rest, ladies, rest in Him. You are no good to any one if you are tired all the time,

  • LaToya Brown

    Sarah, great post! It helped me to realize that we often feel disappointment as a result of unrealistic expectations. Ahhh, expectations and reality…at times these two words don’t seem as though they could ever work together, but at other times they are a compass.

  • http://sunnyand80.org/ Meg Bucher

    Sarah Mae,
    Thank you for sharing!! I was just pondering this very thought yesterday as I drove my daughter home from dance class. A younger girl cuts in front of her in line every week, and this time it had ruined the whole class for her. I asked if she thought it was worth sacrificing what she could have learned to be one step closer of her dream of pointe shoes…and why she didn’t just let her go in front of her and move on. Then, I stopped to think, how many times do I let petty things ruin my day?! In fact, I had just done it. A close friend left me out of a gathering, and I let it keep me up an entire night. I tried to reason with her just like my daughter tried to reason with the little girl at dance. People are going to cut in line. And if they are younger, spiritually or by age, they might not have the capacity to consider our feelings the way we think they ought. And some days, I will be the younger one in spirituality or age, and I must be humble and pray for guidance and forgiveness. Even mature adults and those mature in the faith still sin. How frustrating it can be…but it sure does level the playing field. We surely are all in is together. Thank you, Sarah, God sent your words to me in perfect time. Happy Tuesday!
    Megs

  • http://michelemorin.wordpress.com Michele Morin

    Mothering has done this for me too — it’s made me more aware of the impact my own sin has on my Heavenly Father, who certainly has given me all that I need for “life and godliness,” and yet I continue to make poor choices. We never “arrive” on this side of heaven. Thanks for this perspective in dealing with the failings of our kids — and our own failings!

  • Beth Williams

    Sarah Mae,
    I don’t have children, but have “mothered” older parents. It is hard to watch and have patience with them! God didn’t give us instruction booklets on how to raise children, or deal with aging parents w/dementia. All we can do is offer them the grace God gives us!

    Blessings :)

  • http://www.welcomeheart.com Sue Donaldson

    haha – so true – so not funny but sort of. reminded me when i was moaning about my sin at age 22 and my then -boyfriend said: ‘so sue, do you expect to reach a plateau someday and no longer sin??” wow – comforting and true. I WAS, must-have been thinking that. And of course as a mom now i’m daily confronting w/ my sin/weakness/ and happily-so – my dependence on God. Great post!

  • Webbgurl2000

    There is nothing more humbling then seeing yourself in your child. I am gently reminded of how patiently My Heavenly Father STILL LOVES ME DESPITE MYSELF.
    Thank You for This Moment.
    Be still & Know He Is God (Alone)