Motherhood comes as a package; one full of joys and laughter and love and also responsibility. My mom, and really all of my family, has lived out what it means to be a Christ follower and a mom. They have showed me that I need to line up motherhood with what that means biblically, and whoah, is it a lot. There is so much depth and duty we have as parents. We want to raise our kids to be healthy, happy, and successful. We need to raise our kids to be Christ-like. And it’s hard. Like really hard.
I always thought kids who misbehaved obviously had poor parenting at home. Then I had Luke. It turns out my calm yet firm responses, my consistency, my quick action, doesn’t cure toddler. My “intentional parenting”, my discipline, my rewards, don’t mean he won’t scream in Target every once in a while. He actually grabbed some kid by the collar at church and threw him against the wall, y’all. My one year old did that, to a much bigger kid, in all the tv-bully-stealing-some-kids-lunch-money fashion. I cried. Twice. I immediately start doubting everything. What I’m doing with my babies, how I’m disciplining, what if my kids are bad, what I want to do later, what kind of mother I am. I feel like a failure, and worse, that I’m failing them. Even worse, I’m failing Him.
And then I am reminded of Mary. There is a story in Luke chapter 2 that is just too perfect and yet I just saw it in this light for the first time a few years ago. If you don’t know the story it goes something like this:
Mary and Joseph go to Jerusalem every year to celebrate Passover. Once the festivities were over, they started on their journey back home. The next day they realize they have no idea where 12-year-old Jesus is. They start searching within their group of family and friends, but have no luck. After three days, they find him sitting in the temple amongst teachers. He says to them “Shouldn’t you have known I was in my Father’s house?”
Okay so most people read over this tiny story and find the significance in how Jesus identified with teachers and how His place was in the temple, how He called it His “Father’s house”. But let’s look at this a little bit, HE WAS MISSING FOR THREE DAYS. The Savior, Messiah, King of kings, was MIA. In a time where everyone didn’t have phones to track and keep everyone updated, where wild animal encounters and slave trade was not uncommon, where there was no mass communication to send out a missing child memo, she lost her son. The woman hand picked by God to take care of His only son, lost him.
So sometimes when I start to feel like a horrible mom because I realize my son had off-brand cheetoh puffs for dinner or my baby girl does not have a video monitor in her room, I remember that story. I like to think back on the mother of my Savior. I like to think how relatable and real that moment is. She must have been feeling so scared and guilty. The moment she found Him must have come with a wave of relief and also frustration with her little boy. His response to being missing for three days is, “you should have known where I was.” Could it be a better response? Since he was faultless, maybe it didn’t come with a little smirk and some attitude. But since He was fully human, and a 12 year old boy, I have to think He got some satisfaction out of it all. It just seems too real in the reality of this raw parenting moment. I can see myself in this story more days than not. It is so crazy how relevant and relatable the Bible is, even after thousands of years.
So when those doubts creep into my thoughts I remind myself that I was hand picked for this job, and that it’s okay to mess up sometimes. He picked me to be their mom. The most powerful, all-knowing, Lord decided I would be the best fit for their mom. It is humbling and encouraging to know that He saw all my weaknesses and strengths and gave me these babies. God knows what He’s doing, even when I clearly do not. If you’re reading this, I hope you find the same comfort. He knows, He picked you anyway.