“I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realizing God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses.” —Dave Harvey
I stood leaning against the port-a-potty dutifully eating a Lunchables, trying not to taste the smell that only an outdoor toilet that’s been baking in the sun can create. Not at all hungry because of the heat (and smell) I shoveled in the turkey and crackers so that I could get to my chocolate candy dessert before it melted. I suppose I could have eaten it first now that I’m an adult but since everything in me was rebellious that day I thought I’d do something “good.”
It was the first soccer game of the season.
It was hot.
It was lunchtime.
My three year old had to use the potty.
I wanted nothing to do with soccer, Lunchables, sunscreen, port-a-potties and hot kids touching me that day. I wanted my air conditioner, a good book and some peace and quiet.
As I stood there on the hot blacktop baking in the heat I was certain that every other woman in the world was doing something more glamorous. Well maybe not, I guess there were those missionaries on the field in India dealing with stenches far worse than a port-a-potty. There were women who could only dream of eating the lunch that I thought I was too good for. And women who had, after years of heartache, never been gifted a child to take to soccer. And here I stood complaining.
“What a jerk I am! Do I really have anything to complain about? Come on…whiny kids, an umbrella that keeps getting blown over by the hot wind and a husband who is late… are those really hardships worth complaining about? What is my problem?”
I continued to preach to myself the law of my “jerkness” as we headed back to our spot on the sidelines. Trash strewn about, articles of clothing and small complaining children were all that I could see…until I spotted the team on the opposite side of the field. Really?
“Ugh…I have to move all of this? By myself?” It was a long and painful journey across the field that day. One that ended in grumpier kids, and some not so nice words from their mom. One that sent me into a tailspin of self-condemnation.
Once settled and seated I hand-held the umbrella while trying to serve waters from the cooler explaining that nobody was to touch Mommy. I sat pouting, wishing I wasn’t there and wondering where my husband was with the back up.
It was the moment my youngest flung himself on the ground screaming about not wanting to move his chair over that I gave up. It was then that I finally gave myself up of stubborn rebellion and self-pity that had snowballed through the week. I couldn’t do it anymore. I told God that I was tired of being a jerk and that I wasn’t good enough for these kids.
Gentle as He is, He brought me hope on that soccer field. He reminded me that it wasn’t “jerk” that I should be calling myself but rather “weak.” You see if I just call myself a jerk, wallow in my sin and then try harder I miss the whole point of the gospel. It’s weak that I am. It’s utter dependence on Him that I need. So I repent and remind myself of His never-ending love for this weak mom.
What the gospel means for a mom
It’s my weakness that Christ died for and in my weakness that He is glorified.
He knew that I couldn’t have a good attitude about eating lunch next to a port-a-potty. He knew I would snap at my kids every time they touched my sweaty body.
He knew I’d want to be anywhere but a soccer game that day and yet He chose me and is not ashamed to call me His.
The gospel tells me that I can never disillusion God, never disappoint God and never surprise God with my sin.
The gospel tells me that there is no condemnation for my sin. No payback, no grudge.
The gospel tells me that I am free to abandon all dependence on myself and my pretty little mom rules, to stop trying and to start resting.
He lowered Himself to human status, lived a life of perfection under trial and suffered in ways unimaginable ending in a death we will never know. And then He ascended and is now reigning and working so that I can be free and rest in the work that He is doing in me.
I may be a weak mom who’s sin is great but I have a great and mighty Savior who’s forgiveness is even greater.