Shop the fall collection ➔

I recently found myself judging the behavior of another parent as I sat in the stands of a high school basketball game. It was a game between two Christian high schools, a game I had only attended because my young daughter was scheduled to cheer that night.

As I settled into the bleachers for what I assumed would be a boring game of basketball (it’s just not my thing), my interest was sparked by a disturbance in the stands. Before I had a chance to figure out what exactly had happened, three grown men were kicked out of the gymnasium, escorted out by one of the principals. These were fathers. Men who I assumed were fellow Christians based on the fact that their children were attending Christian schools.

One man in particular stole the show as he stomped off the court. He threw a tantrum while shouting vulgarities at the referee and taking the Lord’s name in vain for all to hear. It was disgraceful.

After the initial shock wore off, my mind began racing with thoughts of judgment about him.

Some Christian. He must need a little more Jesus in his life. I would never do that. Who treats people like that? He should be embarrassed. What kind of Christian acts that way in public? Doesn’t he know his kid is watching? Pull it together, dude.

As I sat there silently condemning him for his unacceptable behavior and inappropriate language, recollections of my own poor behavior were suddenly brought to mind.

There was the yelling at my kid just minutes before we left for the game.
The tantrum I threw when she didn’t do what I had asked her, treating her as if she were incompetent without actually saying it.
There was the cussing at the supposedly incompetent driver on our way to the game.
There was the disrespect shown to my husband after he failed to do something the way I thought he should have.
There was my short temper as I dealt with a customer service rep on the phone earlier that day.
There was the cussing under my breath that didn’t manage to go undetected by my daughter.

And there was the truth. The undeniable truth that I’m no better a Christian than that dad. Sure, he looked pretty bad out there as he stomped across the court, but my own behavior has looked just as bad on many, many occasions.

It’s just that I’ve managed to keep it hidden from the general public. Free from the judgment of other parents, other Christians. My sin tends to boil to the surface as soon as I’m out of the public eye. And despite it being hidden from others, it’s no secret to my kids. They are watching me when no one else is.

Maybe my sin looks a little different from the sin of that dad, from the sin of other parents. But it’s there and it’s visible to the children that I am responsible for leading. While other adults might know better than to follow an example of bad behavior, my kids don’t. They need me to teach them how to act by demonstrating to them what appropriate behavior looks like. And this happens at home, where no one else sees. Yet, this is where I so often fail.

But there are no perfect parents. We all have moments when we lose it. And we could all benefit from encouragement rather than judgment.

So while that dad could probably stand to pull it together a little, to work on changing his inappropriate behavior, so could I. Because our kids need us to lead by example in all situations, even in highly emotional ones. They need us to lead them on the straight and narrow path, even if no one else is watching. And when we see another parent’s failure, let’s be slow to judge, because we could easily be standing in their place.


Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got: Touch Feet Every Night

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple touching feet in bed

Twenty-six years ago this summer, I got a tiny piece of advice on my wedding day that has kept me from making a huge mistake time and time again. A wise woman told me, “When you climb in bed each night with your husband, make sure that your feet touch under the covers. It’s hard to be mad at someone and touch feet.”  I had no idea, all those years ago, how impactful this piece of advice would be and how many times in our marriage this would be the small act that kept us united. This simple act of...

Keep Reading

Faith is a Verb, So We Go to Church

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman and teen daughter in church pew

Every Sunday morning we rush out the door bribing, coaxing, and threatening our kids to just “Get into the van!” Luckily, we live remotely rural so we don’t have neighbors to witness our often un-Christlike eye rolls and harsh sighs as we buckle each other up. We’ve always lived within a five-minute drive to a chapel, and yet we are usually there not two minutes before the service starts. Once sitting in our seats, we’re on high alert for noise control and sibling altercations for the next hour of what is supposed to be a peaceful, sacred, spirit-filled service. Which...

Keep Reading

3 Simple Ways to Be a More Confident Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and young child smiling outside

Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we see Pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills—it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t or prod our kids to become something they aren’t.  Comparison makes...

Keep Reading

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

I Gave up on God but He Never Gave up on Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother hugging son, color photo

I grew up in a religious house. We went to church every Sunday. My mom taught Sunday school, and we participated as a family in most church events. We believed in the power of prayer, hope, faith, love, and forgiveness. As a little girl, I watched my dad kneel at the side of the bed every night and say his prayers. In the last six years, my faith has not been what it should have been. It has plummeted into the depths of nothingness, buried deep below the darkness. I have felt angry and abandoned by God. In response, I...

Keep Reading

I Count My Blessings Every Day

In: Faith
Mom and child by beach

I remember being jealous of my classmates often. I would look at the girls at my school who seemed to be living such a carefree life. They would do well in school effortlessly and go home to their moms, dads, and siblings, to a house they’d grown up in. I wanted that so much for myself! I wanted my mom and dad to be together, and if it wasn’t too much to ask, a sibling or two. I wanted us to live in a house where I could have my own room, but I wouldn’t mind sharing if I had...

Keep Reading

Dear Lord, Make Me a Grace Hunter

In: Faith
Woman with crutches looking out window, black-and-white photo

I want to be known as a grace hunter. Every day, I pray I would be given eyes to see the world in which we live through a lens of grace—a lens that causes me to marvel at the ways of my God and be constantly filled with wonder. I am thankful I have no choice but to live life at a slower pace. I pray for the ability to see the beauty and God’s grace in the seemingly small and insignificant things. RELATED: In the Midst of Grief, There is Grace I pray for eyes to see His grace even...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

So God Made Midnight

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and newborn

When God created a mother, He created her to love and serve in every moment. He knew the constant need would sometimes overwhelm her and she would have no choice but to rely on His strength and grace. He knew she would feel like there weren’t enough hours in the day . . . so God made midnight. He knew a mama’s days with a newborn would be busy and sometimes chaotic. He knew she would be distracted by meeting needs and attempting to find balance—that sneaking in a hot shower would become almost a luxury . . . so...

Keep Reading

Lord, I Don’t Want To Face This Storm

In: Faith
Rain cloud over a lake, color photo

“I feel like I’m right in the middle of that rain shaft, suspended over the ocean,” I told my husband as we waited out a Florida afternoon rain on our hotel balcony. “There’s light and beauty all around me, but I feel like I’m just lost in that storm.”  Just two nights before, we awoke to the cries of our 11-year-old son, the pain in his right lower abdomen so great that he woke up from a deep sleep. Our vacation took a solemn turn as my husband loaded him up in our rental car and drove to a children’s...

Keep Reading