I slowly cut open a box that UPS had delivered last week on a cold, wet March morning. I couldn’t remember what I had ordered because, lets face it, most of my life arrives by prime. To my surprise, I opened the box and pulled out a carton of plastic eggs. I know that probably doesn’t sound real exciting, but it was hang tight and I will explain.
I had ordered these “resurrection eggs” awhile back to try my “non-Pinteresty hand” at a simple craft that I’d hoped would serve as a reminder to my family of the real reason we celebrate Easter.
If you are like me and hadn’t heard about these little wonders, allow me to enlighten you. Much like observing Advent before Christmas, each egg holds a small ornament to hang, display or attach to a small tree as a reminder of a specific part of the Biblical Easter story. The idea is to set aside a few minutes everyday to read the prescribed verses and open the corresponding egg with the “home-made” piece that would represent that part of the Gospel story, cultivating good conversation and thoughtful questions.
I couldn’t wait to get started. We chose that rainy afternoon over spring break and gathered around the table to start the project, some of us more motivated than others. Immediately the questions began.
“What happened in the garden?”
“Why did they use a whip?”
“Did Jesus really wear a crown of thorns like this?”
I’ll be honest, there was more fighting, impatient responses and messy hot glue than I had played out in my mind. It definitely wasn’t the perfect family moment of bonding and sweet, engaging conversation I had imagined. I was disappointed.
And this is what I thought to myself, “See, this is why I don’t do these kind of things. My kids don’t appreciate it. I’m horrible at crafts. Why do I even try? Gosh, I wish I didn’t get upset and ruin the moment.”
Oh, the shame, guilt and despondancy that perfection motherhood weighs heavy on the heart.
But here’s what I heard God say to my heart, “You did the right thing. You created a moment for not only the Gospel message to be remembered, talked about and displayed. I’m not asking for perfection. I’m not asking for the prettiest, the tidiest or the most curated version of resurrection eggs … or motherhood. I want you to be intentional and available to your kids. They don’t need a polished mom, the need a real mom that needs Jesus, just like they do. Talk about Jesus. Talk about imperfection. Yours. Theirs. And the brokenness of this world that needs redeemed. THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT OF THESE EGGS … the Gospel … Jesus coming to save us because we couldn’t save ourselves, couldn’t be good enough or perfect enough.”
God doesn’t need pretty to be powerful.
And He doesn’t need perfection to display His love. In fact, its in the moments that I surrender my weakness, confess my inadequacies and admit my failure, that I see His grace in greater and more cathartic ways.
As I was cleaning up the mess, I a salty tear dropped off my face and onto the kitchen counter. In that moment, I felt a sweet release. I had been carrying the burden of perfect motherhood and it was stealing my joy.
The perfect mom strives to keep the house immaculate, her life in control and all her agendas met. Her mood is affected when this perfect persona is challenged or changed. And lets face it, sin will ruin every good intention.
In my effort to be a perfect mom, I had missed the opportunity to be the best mom.
The best mom isn’t perfect.
She aims daily to be real and honest about her struggles, understanding that she is a work in progress. And so are others. Although she struggles, she can struggle well, because she realizes that her strength and peace come from God. She isn’t working for a badge of honor, displaying proudly that she has the nicest home, tastiest meals or most well-behaved kids. Her identity isn’t wrapped up in her children’s responses, but God’s faithfulness in her efforts. Thank goodness. She serves, not for approval and affirmation, but to display the character of God. Her life doen’t need to be noticed or recognized.
Putting those eggs together wasn’t about a checklist, a badge of honor or Facebook-worthy pictures. It was meant to be the exact the story they tell. A demonstration of the Gospel message. God came to save sinners, desperately imperfect and in need of his tender love and mercy.
The best mom knows that.
I left the mess, walked straight into the room where my kids had escaped and asked them to forgive me – my frustration, my tone and my unrealistic expectations. Much to my surprise, they graciously embraced me. Looking into my blurry, tear-filled eyes, they assured me that I was the best mom ever.