Saturday morning, at Hearts at Home, started with speaker Jill Savage. Besides being a mom to five and grandmother to three, she is an author, speaker, and founder of Hearts at Home.
I had the opportunity several months ago to read Jill's book No More Perfect Moms. It isn't a book where you will learn so many news things, but instead you'll finish reading saying "I know that, but why do I keep forgetting?" You'll want to reread and remind yourself there are no perfect moms.
In her keynote speech she asked us 4 questions:
- What if I gave myself and others a chance to fail and make mistakes?
- What if I actually had realistic expecations of myself and others?
- What if I took off my mask and was honest with others?
- What if I replaced being perfect with being perfected?
Mistakes have the ability to make us better and smarter. A child learns not to touch a hot stove by touching it one day when mom isn't looking. Your child gains wisdom through their mistake. Is it failure on our part? Did we not spend enough time telling them not to touch?
Our expectations of our child is to be the perfect child and always listen to mom. Do you know any child who listens to authority all the time? If we change the expectations our children from always being perfect to they will fail, our expectations for ourselves start to match the reality of parenthood. We do need to expect our kids to listen and obey, but also that they will fail.
When we start looking at our life as messy, so far from perfect, and that there will be times that we fail, our perspective starts changing. We begin to see our ministry as moms. We are in the ministry of being available. Our mission is to take time to look and listen to our children, guide them in decision making, and be there for them when they make their mistakes in life.
Other moms are struggling just like you. Unfortunately, we moms tend to pretend everything is fine. We want to brag about the good stuff and bury the negative. Instead of talking things out with peers we hide behind our masks. If one person starts taking off their mask and being real, others will start to follow and then we moms will no longer feel alone.
Why do we wear masks? Three simple reasons: control, compare, and criticize. I have really started to see how we do this in our everyday life. Everyone else seems to have it more together then us. Looking around our neighborhood it would be so easy to fall into the trap of Keeping up with the Jones's. What we see on the outside doesn't tell the whole story. Maybe our neighbors are in massive debt and facing foreclosure, but don't want to give up that nice big house and brand new cars. They could be considering divorce yet appear to be the perfect couple. Mom may seem like the perfect soccer mom, involved in everything but on antidepressants and feeling very depressed and alone. Our masks tell others only what we want them to see. If we are all wearing masks how will we ever know what our real story is?
We know we aren't perfect and never will be, so why not let God work in our lives by perfecting us. Jill shared Isaiah 64:8 "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." I love this verse because it gives us a great image of what could be. I am not an artist and have worked with clay a few times. If I sat down to make a beautiful vase it would look like an strange lump of clay, but if I let a potter step in a mold the clay what will it look like? Our lives are the same way. When we try to control everything, it turns into a huge mess. When we step back and say, "God mold today into a mom and wife you desire me to be," no longer are you relying on yourself alone. What beautiful creation could God create if we stepped back and let Him control instead?
That night Jill asked an additional question: What if we stopped the mommy wars? I have been fortunate to be in a place where I don't see this as much. We are all moms and struggle with similar issues. Instead of tearing each other down we need to work on building each other up. Our culture does too much tearing down moms already that moms need to step up and be supportive of each other.