I received several responses to my post about The Other Mother with ladies asking for prayer. I’m honored to pray with you. In the wee hours of Sunday morning I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I checked my email and found these words from a reader, a grace-covered sister, who vulnerably shared a little of her story.
I am one that probably doesn’t deserve to be a momma….but every Mother’s Day hurts the same. You see, I had an abortion…because my husband is older and never wanted children….it was convenience. And at the time, (30 years ago) I never knew it was wrong…but every day since then for years and years, I felt the pain and loss and shame…until I realized Jesus forgave me. Now it’s not every day, but every Mother’s Day hurts. It doesn’t seem fair to even ask you to pray for me…I killed a baby I had….you lost yours. I am so, so sorry. I will pray for you – and for other mothers who have lost their babies, or their children to accidents or war or illness. Yes, there are a bunch of us out there.
I read her words and sobbed. I loved where she said, “until I realized Jesus forgave me.” Because really that’s all that matters. It seems every mom I talk to feels inadequate, ill-equipped and even undeserving. But that’s why grace matters so much in parenting. It’s grace that makes us a parent, and it’s grace that shows us how to parent. I’m learning my mistakes are just as big an opportunity to train my children as my successes. I love this quote from Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly.
The real questions for parents should be: “Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?” If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn’t exist, and I’ve found what makes children happy doesn’t always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.
We all come into this parenting thing in need of buckets of grace. Gratefully, Jesus has all we need. Because of His grace, I can be a great mom–not a perfect mom but a vulnerable, grace-giving, compassionate, hopeful mom. If you’re carrying around shame today, I invite you to lay it down at the foot of the cross with the rest of us imperfect moms. You are forgiven and made whole by Jesus.
Several years ago, a precious friend Chariti made this video telling her story to share with our church. Her story is beautiful and painted with grace and redemption. If you have been through the pain of abortion or loss, I hope her story will encourage you. The part where my story changes, the part where our sister’s story changes and the part where your story changes happens here–and then I realized Jesus forgave me.