I was sitting on the chair holding our 5 month old while our 15 month old played at my feet. Our toddler had recently taken a HUGE interest in her baby doll and was quietly playing with her… then it happened. She shot her arms into the air, gripping her baby doll with both hands, making a screeching version of “wheeee!” My jaw dropped open as I watched her beam at her doll and repeat the action over a few more times. You see, I do this to our 5 month old all the time. I never noticed our toddler watching though. It was like a light bulb went off in that moment. I realized just what she sees and picks up on.
I think naturally, as people, we are our harshest critics. I always feel like that one-time I raised my voice, that one-time I couldn’t hide the tears, that one-time I lost it in traffic, those one-times are all the times I’m “ruining” my children. But in all the time our toddler has played with her doll, I’ve never seen her loose it. She’s hugged her, kissed her, plunged her into the air with a squeal, or covered her with a blanket. These are the actions she’s picked up on because they are repeated – day after day, after day. She repeats the love because she is fiercely loved moment after moment, despite the moments I’m not shining very bright.
After that moment sitting in our room, I’ve asked her “what does baby love?” and she excitedly repeats pushing her baby up into the air and squealing. As a foster mom, I more so feel I have no room for error with our children. One wrong move or word or tone can trigger past traumas. And as a mama bear I feel like my kids will see my failures and my failures will scar them. But in this moment, my toddler taught me a lesson. I think she’ll eventually know, if she doesn’t already, that I’m not perfect, but she knows now, and will always know she is loved despite my (or her) less-than moments.
I’m okay with not being the perfect mom, because God made me to be my kid’s mom – perfection excluded.
Some days are amazing while others are about survival!
So I’ll leave the perfection up to the Father, and focus on loving my kids well, giving us all a little more grace, and reminding myself that my kids will see how I act and will emulate the actions done most frequently. This also goes for them witnessing my relationship with Christ. If my children see my relationship with God shining through ALL the moments of our day, they will learn of the character of the Father. They will desire Him and will want His love. They will see, through my daily walk holding my Father’s hand, what being HIS daughter looks like. It doesn’t look like perfection, rather, they will see His character shining through my humanity, they’ll offer and be offered grace, they’ll mess up and be forgiven and they’ll learn to give forgiveness freely. I hope when my kids see me they’ll learn these lessons. You know – the lessons that can’t be taught through words but WILL be emulated in actions.
This is the one thing I pray my kids do pick up on. Of course I love watching them pick up on the love they receive and learn to give, but as a mama, I can’t possibly want anything more than for my kids to meet Christ through my actions – to feel Christ’s love through the love my husband and I pour into them. I pray that by the time they are old enough to understand and desire giving their lives to the Lord, they will already know Him through watching both my husband and I displaying HIS heart to our kids, family, friends, and community. It takes the real life moments to teach our kids about the Father. Sisters, we have to give ourselves grace to teach our Littles about grace. Raising babies is our mission field and the little eyes are watching – watching the good and not so good moments. Watching how we forgive, love, show compassion, and show grace. They’ll copy the lessons taught most and teaching of Christ’s heart to our Littles is the most important lesson we can teach them, since it’s not about perfection – He will teach them His perfection.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)