When Your Kids See the Worst in You

200117989-001It’s ironic to me that the most brutally honest people on the face of the planet are typically less than three feet tall.  They’ll tell you when you stink, what your food really tastes like, and who the weirdest person in the grocery store is.  It’s quite terrifying actually.  You want to know if that dress really makes you look fat?  Ask a preschooler.  Not only will they give you an honest answer, they’ll usually throw in a word picture or two: it’s just like a big, soft baby is in your tummy!  

Awesome.

And that’s not even the scariest part.  Every now and then, in between their frank commentaries on your hairy arms or oddly-shaped moles, they’ll reveal some staggering truth about the way they perceive you as a human being.  Sometimes it’s positive, and it feels like sunshine.  It makes you stop in your tracks, squeeze them in your arms, and spin around the kitchen.  And sometimes it’s painfully negative, and it feels like an arrow aimed at your deepest insecurities.

Please!  I want to whisper.  Please don’t view me that way.

But the reality is, they are the patrons with a front-row ticket to our lives.  They’re so close to the action they get to see things everyone else misses.  They don’t just see us when we’re energized and refreshed and ready to face the world.  They see us when we’re exhausted and depleted and trying very hard not to say bad words.  They see the real us.  The weak, and sinful, and broken us.

Worse yet, they imitate us.  Believe me, nothing is more agonizing than watching your weaknesses spring to life in the children you love so much.

Please!  My heart whispers.  Please don’t be like me.

And that sentiment makes me want to cry, because it’s the exact opposite of all I’ve ever hoped to be as a mother.  I want to be like Paul who once said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1).  I want to be a worthy role-model for my daughters; the kind of woman they can pattern their lives after.

And the truth is, I’m not.

And I am.

I’m not the perfect example of biblical womanhood, and there are many traits I pray my children don’t inherit from me.  But I am someone my girls can model their lives after, for one reason only.  Jesus lives in me.  Despite all my imperfections, the God of eternity has made His home in my heart and every day I am standing in His grace (Romans 5:2)!  His Truth is changing the way I think.  His love is shaping who I become.  And His power is shining through my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

That’s what I can model to my children.  My true, broken need for Christ.  And His powerful, never-failing grace.

If you ask my girls tomorrow if their mom is patient, they’ll probably say “no.”  If you ask them what I like to do, they’ll probably say “sleep.”  But if you ask those girls if their mom needs Jesus, I promise you, they’ll shout, “Yes!”  I cannot be perfect for them.  But I can point them to the One who is.  And if when they’re grown, they can look back and say, “Our mom sometimes failed, but she always apologized.  She knew she needed Jesus, and she sure did love Him,” that’ll be good enough for me.

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7 thoughts on “When Your Kids See the Worst in You

  1. Emily Jensen

    Thanks for this encouraging post! Just the other day I was ‘speaking really loudly’ (ok – yelling) for my kids to stop touching each other with their feet in the backseat. My oldest child sternly said, “Mom, you need to use an inside voice in the car. No yelling.” Ugh. Totally called me out on the carpet ;-). I think the challenge in those moments is to repent in front of our children, and point them to Jesus. My pride can be so scary! I agree, I would rather be seen as sinful (but always pointing to Jesus) than any other way.

    Reply
  2. Bethany Furst

    This was a good word of encouragement to me this morning Jeanne! Thank you! Your children are blessed to call you mama.

    Reply
  3. Paige

    I’m not a mom yet, but I certainly hope and pray to be one in the next two or three years. This is something that’s always scared me a little- what if I do everything wrong even though all I want to do is point may kids to Christ? What if the only things they remember are the time I failed? What if I’m a horrible mama?
    But this post helped to reassure and encourage me. So thankful for Christ’s empowerment! Great post. Thank you very much!

    Reply
  4. Rachel

    Oh my!! This is SO true and such an encouragement after a “short fuse” day yesterday! I pray that my kiddos will see my desperate, hourly need for a rescuer! I’m SO excited I found your blog today!

    Reply

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