I felt the tantrum coming on the minute I told him he had to get off the slide to go home for lunch. We’d spent the morning playing with kids at church and it had turned into a beautiful day. But the squirming began as we headed across the parking lot. Kicking, screaming, dead weight…all as I struggled with the keys and began the daunting task of wrestling my son into a car seat he clearly did not want to go in. After prying his hands off the roof of the car, many attempts at distraction, bribing him with his snacks and his cup and his book, several uppercuts to MY face, and about 7 minutes, I finally managed to get him hooked in.
Relieved, I slammed his door and went to open mine. Locked. I felt the panic rising as I gazed into the backseat and saw my phone peeking out of a pocket in the diaper bag. The keys had fallen onto the floor during the episode and apparently we accidentally hit the lock button. I was stunned. How did the car lock? It isn’t supposed to lock when the keys are in the car! How am I going to call anyone for help?
Shaking, I looked across the parking lot. There were three cars still there. Someone had to be inside the church! I ran to the closest door. Locked. I banged on the doors. No one answered. I ran to another set of doors. Locked. No one answered.
At this point, fear was starting to take over logical thought. What if no one answers!
Frantic, I ran around to the back doors and banged on them some more. Finally, someone opened the doors. My friends quickly calmed me down as we ran back to the car and immediately called the police to get someone out to help as quickly as possible. All the while, my son sat calmly in his car seat apparently having made peace with being subjected to its straps.
Within minutes, a police car rolled into the parking lot. I was so relieved to see him. But, as soon as he got out of the vehicle, he asked, “How did this happen?” My heart sank and I shrank back. It is a standard question and was totally justified. He needed to know that information. But I felt like a child sitting in the principal’s office so afraid I was in trouble and trying to explain that it was all an accident. I didn’t know how it happened. He reassured me that he had a locksmith on the way and tried to make small talk while we waited.
Then, he got out his pencil and paper. Of course, he had to file a report. Just standard procedure whenever they answer a call. Still, I swallowed back tears as I gave him my information. The locksmith had my car unlocked within 10 minutes. My son was just fine. Everyone went on their way.
Shaken up, I tried to hold it together as I drove home. I tried to think about something else. Focus on the positive. But my mind was…locked. I couldn’t stop thinking about the incident.
How could you let this happen?
What if no one would have answered the doors?
What if it would have been freezing outside? Or worse, too hot?
He could have died in there while you waited for help.
How could you endanger your child like that?
Now, the police have a “report” about you. It’s embarrassing.
You are incompetent.
You are a bad mom.
Why do we think it’s ok to talk to ourselves like that? I’d never say any of that to a fellow mom. To another mom, I would have pointed out all the ways she did the best she could. I would have pointed out that God was right there with her and graciously provided for her every need. Her friends hadn’t left the church yet and were available to help. The weather was perfect, not too cold, not too hot so he wasn’t in imminent danger. The police officer responded quickly. The locksmith unlocked the doors for free because a child was in the car. I would have told another mom that a potentially dangerous situation turned out ok because of God’s grace.
But, I didn’t say any of that to myself. Because my mind wasn’t locked on God. It was locked on me.
I need to be a “good mom”. I can control everything. I should be able to do it all myself…and do it right.
But, I can’t control everything. And I hate to admit it but some days, I need help. Being a good mom is arbitrary. Everyone thinks they know what a good mom is but no one can achieve the level of perfection necessary to claim the title in their own minds. The truth is, I can’t be a good mom in my own strength. I am flesh. I make mistakes. I fail. I am weak.
“But he said to me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Lately, I’ve been praying that God will help me lock my mind on this truth. No, I’m not super mom. I’m not perfect. Despite my best attempts, accidents happen. But if I seek Him, Christ’s power can rest on me as a mom. When I am weak, He can make me strong. It’s not about me, it’s about Him. Through my weaknesses, God can be glorified with my motherhood.
Fellow mamas, my prayer for you is that you won’t allow your mind to become locked on your faults and your failures. Instead, lock your mind of God’s truth. Let His power rest on you. Don’t believe the lies. When you think you are weak, He makes you strong.