Shop the fall collection ➔

I never knew I could struggle with being a perfectionist until I became a mom. Suddenly I wanted to do everything absolutely perfectly—after all, we were talking about my sweet baby’s wellbeing here.

  • I wanted to always meet all of my children’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs right away and to the fullest extent possible.
  • I wanted to never lose my temper with my sweet babies, never give into selfishness, never experience an unwillingness to make sacrifices for the good of my little ones.
  • I wanted to always provide my children with the best nutrition out there.
  • I wanted to take my little ones to the park on a weekly basis at least (if not more!) and provide them with all the fun and special childhood memories they could possibly want.

Well, I’m sure by now that you can guess how far those good intentions got me, right? About one day into motherhood and then—boom! Temper lost. Sacrifices fought. Selfishness exposed. And the rest of the list crumbled as the months and years went by.

It can feel incredibly tempting to roll over in despair, distraught over just what an imperfect mom I really am. And yet God, in His mercy and grace, taught me a truly beautiful lesson a couple months back when this imperfect mama was shown just how much the gospel can be made tangible and clear to my children specifically through my imperfections.

I don’t know what the problem was exactly, but I swear my three-year-old, Anna, and I must have both awakened on the wrong side of the bed that morning. From morning until afternoon, we went through this vicious cycle of mama yelling at Anna, Anna yelling at Mama, Mama praying with Anna that Jesus would forgive Mama and give her strength, and on and on it went, from prayer to yelling, from prayer to yelling, and back again.

By the time the afternoon rolled around, I was exhausted. I couldn’t understand why I could not get myself together! I would ask the Lord for forgiveness and strength, feel so much better for maybe half an hour, and then lose my temper all over again.

What was wrong with me?

That’s when it happened. I lost my temper AGAIN. Devastated and thoroughly disgusted with myself, I sat with Anna on her bed, proverbial tail tucked between my legs and shoulders sagging. I was going to pray with Anna yet again over the exact same issue.

But before I could, my little three-year-old took my hand in hers, looked in my eye and said, “I’m gonna pray.” Heart melting, I replied, “OK, baby” and closed my eyes. Until the day I die I will never forget the words she prayed:

“Dear Jesus, thank You that You forgive mommy when she’s not very nice.”

You could have heard a pin drop. I didn’t know whether to remain positively speechless or burst into grateful, humbled tears. 

She’s getting it! I thought. She’s really getting it! As ridiculous as it felt to yell and then pray and then have to pray all over again when I yelled yet again, that whole process was used by our amazing God and His great redemption power to bring so much good into my daughter’s heart and mind. Through that repetition that day, she was coming to understand a vastly important truth: Jesus forgives us when we sin and ask for His forgiveness.

And that, my friend, is when something I had written in a book and on my blog months before actually hit home for me: The Lord never asked you to be a perfect mom; He merely asked you to point your children to a perfect Savior.

As beneficial as it is to read our children Bible stories, memorize Scripture with them, and teach them the good news of the gospel on a day-to-day basis, sometimes it is precisely those moments when we fail and fail hard that are actually the very ones used by God to open our children’s eyes to the truth in a more amazing way than anything else ever could. And I praise the Lord for that! That, my mama friend, is grace beyond compare!

So, do I want to be the absolutely best mama I can be for my children, a mama who makes it clear to them just how much I love them and how happy and blessed I am to be their mom? Yes! But I no longer want to be a “perfect” mom (whatever that even is). Because I know the Lord can (and does) use my imperfections to point my children to Him. 

And that means more to me than any “#1 Mom!” award ever could.

 

Rebekah Hargraves

Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, blogger, podcaster, and author whose passion is to edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood, particularly with an emphasis on the gospel and its implications for everyday life. Rebekah's first book, "Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)" released last fall, and the "Lies Moms Believe" Companion Bible Study comes out March 30, 2018. You can find Rebekah on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, on Instagram, or on iTunes via her podcast.

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