Motherhood brings many gifts. One of the greatest is getting to see yourself through your child’s eyes. I’ve noticed that children carry inside their little beings loads of grace. It’s as if they are born with extra measures of grace to hand out to others. I’m not sure why we lose that as we get older. It seems like we get stingy with grace as we age.
But, when I see myself the way my kids see me, it’s as if I get a special little nudge from the Holy Spirit. This is how God sees you, he seems to whisper. When they love me despite my faults. When they go out of their way to show me how much they care about me. When they truly seem to think I’m the best thing they’ve ever seen, even though I’m a dork and awkward in a lot of ways and of course one of the most experienced sinners that they know. They don’t seem to see any of that. They just love me.
Last night I got one of those special messages of grace. I have been really beating myself up about some of the things I say. My mouth is such a detriment to my spiritual well-being. Sometimes I think about things that I’ve said about someone, and I cringe inside and my whole being reminds me that I am such a weak person, that I’m such a long way from killing off my sinful nature. And then I stop and think of where Adelade was when I said it. And I picture her sweet face, eyes intently focused on me as she watches me sin. And I wonder how she can stand me. The mother who seems to expect her to always do the right thing. The mother who preaches one thing and often does another. The imperfect mother. The hypocrite.
And I wonder the same thing about God sometimes. How can He stand me? How can He look at me and think that I have anything to contribute to His kingdom when I can’t even shut my mouth? In front my children at least, for crying out loud?
All of these thoughts were running through my mind last night as I stepped out of the shower. The room was foggy, and I noticed some writing etched into the fogged up mirror. It was a message that Adelade must’ve written in the cloudy mirror after her shower. I hadn’t seen it when she wrote it, and it disappeared between showers, so it was invisible to me before I fogged up the bathroom. It said:
Mama and Daddy
I love you!
And there it was. The message of grace I needed to receive.
In that moment, all of the truths that I know about God, myself, and my children came flooding back to me. In that simple phrase I remembered that God sees the righteousness of Christ when He looks at me. I remembered that yes, I am weak, and in my weakness God can shine and show off His power and might. I remembered that my children know I’m not perfect. And, trying to act as if I am would be foolish. They need to see me mess up and make things right. They need to know that I have as much grace for them as they have for me because I KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE to do what my spirit says not to do. I understand how easy it is to let the sinful nature rule your mouth and your actions. They need to know that about me because they need to know that I need grace. They need to know we all need a Savior.
It just keeps amazing me how I try so hard to be an example for my children, and over and over again they end up being an example for me. I want to remember that I am living in an unchanging state of grace, that I am who God says I am, and that Jesus has already paid for my past, present, and future sins. When I am feeling worthless, God, often through my children, reminds me that I am loved. This love isn’t conditional. It isn’t based on anything I do or don’t do. It is based on who I am. I am a child of God, and I am my kids’ only mother. I’m so thankful for the grace that God shows me. I’m so humbled to know that even when I mess up, He sends me messages of love. And this is how He gives me strength to continue to fight against my sin. These children and this Savior, they make me want to destroy forever the sin in my life.
Like Adelade’s message in the mirror, there are whispers of grace all around me. When I see myself through my childrens’ eyes, I can see the beauty that God has infused into my spirit. Even when things get foggy, when sin makes my reflection unclear, I see His writing on my soul. It says, Melissa, I love you.