Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

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.

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

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.

Going to Church with Kids is Hard but We’ll Keep Showing Up

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young daughter in church

Going to church is hard with young kids. It used to be something I looked forward to. It’s something I’ve always valued deeply and needed desperately. It’s the one place that will always be home regardless of what location or building it’s in or what people attend. Church is my sanctuary. But it’s become a battle with the kids’ resistance, my tired mind and body, and my lack of ability to actually listen to the sermon. Going to church is hard with young kids. It’s become normal for me to lie down in bed on Saturday night thinking, with dread,...

Keep Reading

I’m Praying for My Teenager in These Challenging Years

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy holding a smartphone and wearing headphones

In my mid-40s, I began to long for a baby. We didn’t get much encouragement from friends and family. My husband is a high-functioning quadriplegic, and I was considered way too old to start a family. But our marriage was stable, we were used to obstacles, we were financially prepared, emotionally experienced, and our careers were established. I began to paint my own sublime mental portrait of parenting tranquility. What could go wrong? At 48, I delivered a healthy baby boy, and he was perfect. We adored him. The baby we had longed for and prayed for, we had. And...

Keep Reading

When Motherhood Feels Like a Limitation

In: Faith, Motherhood
Ruth Chou Simons holding book

Twenty-one years ago, my husband Troy and I welcomed our first son into the world. Two years later, I gave birth to another boy. And again two years later, and again two years after that. A fifth boy joined our family another two years later, and a final son was born 11 years after we began our parenting journey. If you were counting, you’re not mistaken—that’s six sons in just over a decade. We were overjoyed and more than a little exhausted. I remember feeling frustrated with the limitations of the little years with young children when I was a...

Keep Reading

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in the Pew

In: Faith
Woman sitting in church pew

I entered the church sanctuary a woman with a hurting and heavy heart. Too many worries on my mind, some unkind words spoken at home, and not enough love wrapped around my shoulders were getting the best of me. What I longed to find was Jesus in a rocking chair, extending His arms to me, welcoming me into his lap, and inviting me to exhaust myself into Him. I sought out an empty pew where I could hide in anonymity, where I could read my bulletin if I didn’t feel like listening to the announcements, sing if I felt up...

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

Mad Martha, Mary, Mom, and Me

In: Faith, Living
Woman wrapped in a blanket standing by water

As a brand-new, born-again, un-churched Christian fresh in my new faith with zero knowledge of the Bible, I am steaming, hissing mad when I first read these words from Luke 10:38-42: “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Pray away My Anxiety But I Can Trust God to Hold Me through It

In: Faith, Living
Woman with flowers in field

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid. I was scared of people, of speaking, and even of being looked at. As I got older, I worried about everything. I was aware of the physical impact that stress and worry have on our bodies and our mental health, but I couldn’t break the cycle. I declined invitations and stuck with what I knew. Then we had a child who knew no fear. The person I needed to protect and nurture was vulnerable. There was danger in everything. It got worse. He grew older and more independent. He became a...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading