My greatest sin took shape through the purest of intentions. I wanted to be a loving, devoted, attentive mother, always. Never frustrated, slow to anger, and patient in teaching all the things. I wanted to be a loving, devoted, attentive wife where I did all the things all the time and still had energy left over to provide my husband with every little need. I didn’t simply want perfection out of myself—I demanded it.
I somehow seemed to be juggling it all fantastically. My home was clean (because it can never not be clean). My child was interactive and encouraged to count to 20 and know her ABCs before two (because I was failing her and lazy if I did not devote that time). My husband came home to homemade meals hot and ready to be served to fill his empty belly and warm his tired soul. Bedtime routine was peaceful, I still found time to lose all the baby weight, and the dog still somehow got walked. And like most things, God let me try to do it on my own.
And He was there to pick me up when the weight of it all brought me to my knees.
The dinner was burned so badly my husband got a tearful, apologetic phone call asking him to pick up a fast food dinner instead, and he was happy to have the junk food. The dog didn’t get walked for a week. My home was picked up, but seriously, do not look under that couch. I was a disaster. I had failed. And my identity as a mother and wife had somehow completely disappeared when the cluster appeared. It was in that moment I realized I had stopped attempting to be Katie: Wife and Mother attempted to be the Almighty Himself.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” A seemingly simple commandment, but we still must continually remind ourselves not to place our spouses or children in the place of God. Do not look to them to fulfill in you what only Jesus can fulfill because you will be left feeling bitter and disappointed. But the same can be said in reverse.
As September McCarthy puts it in her book Why Motherhood Matters, when I attempted to be God to my family I was essentially showing them I didn’t need Jesus, that my own strength and determination were enough; Lord only knows how very untrue that is. A woman’s assignment is not to be and do all the things. Expecting perfection and the ability to fulfill every family member’s needs is the greatest insult to a God that not only can but wants to do just that. My family will develop spiritual needs that I cannot fill. And it isn’t my job to attempt it. Instead, it is my job to provide the space for Jesus to flood those corners and encourage them to take comfort in Him.
When God allowed me to fail spectacularly in my attempt to steal his thunder, He allowed me to experience grace and mercy. He reminded me that it isn’t just OK to step back—I am required to step back. And it was beautifully showcased that when I break and admit to needing Jesus, my entire family will feel safe to admit the same.