Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Leave it to Beaver and Other Impossible Myths

It's been a really rough month for me. I'm sure most of you will be able to relate. It’s been a month filled with introspection and regrets. Motherhood regrets mainly.

I come from a broken home. I never wanted to have children. I never wanted to get married. I didn't want to put anyone through what I lived through as a child. Then... Jesus. He saved me and set me on a whole new trajectory. I met Mike and suddenly I wanted marriage. I wanted that relationship. But I told him from the beginning I didn't want kids. But.... Jesus showed me how beautiful babies were. And I had hope. Hope that I could somehow be a mom and do it differently. So after 2 painful miscarriages we had our first baby. I was a mom. I was going to do it all differently. My kids were never going to experience divorce. They were never going to experience the abuse of an alcoholic step-dad or the abandonment of a father. They were going to have a Leave it to Beaver family. My dream family.

And I thought that's what I was doing. I thought I could protect my children from the world. I thought I could be the one to get it right. If we just followed the "rules". If we just kept evil out then our kids would be problem free. Pain free. But all of those Christian parenting books and programs we followed? They didn't factor in the sinfulness of the parents. They didn't tell me that I was so messed up that I needed Jesus everyday so that I could love my kids. Parenting is so much more than having rules and first-time obedience. It's about being aware of my need for forgiveness every day. It's showing my children I'm broken and that my only hope, their only hope is Jesus. That he did it all for us. That he loves us just the way we are. We don't have to be what we hear from so many pulpits and books - people who think they have it together. People who claim to be getting better and who look so good on the outside. That's as false as Leave it to Beaver was. It isn't real. It can't be real because we all live in a fallen world in need of a Savior.

So when I'm alone in the dark feeling all the pain and regret of everything I did wrong as a mom, my only hope is Jesus. Because I couldn't do it. I can’t do it. I've come to the end of myself and found Jesus there. He's my only hope and he's the only hope my children have.

Sermons and blog posts on how to be better and try harder aren't what I need to hear. I need to hear those who know they’re broken talk about Jesus. I need to hear that I'm not the only one who’s screwed up. I need to hear that he isn't surprised or disappointed. He knows I can’t pull it off and live a perfect life, obeying the law, striving to be good enough. That’s why he came! I can't be all that. I'm not all that and I never will be. But he's not surprised. He knows me fully and loves me perfectly. And I believe he loves my kids more than I ever could. And that’s where my hope is. In him. Not in my parenting or in my failed attempts at the perfect family.

Leave it to Beaver is a myth just like the idea of the perfect Christian.

-Susan

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