Let me tell you the end of this article before we get started–perfect parenting does not exist. We are imperfect people who God blessed with smaller versions of imperfect people to train in His perfect ways. God wouldn’t bless us without giving us the capacity to receive it. I heard a pastor put it this way, what you lack in ability, God makes up in grace.
There are times that you will wonder if you are good enough. Satan would have you rehearse all of the mistakes, poor decisions, broken relationships, shame, scars and wounds then convince you that you are not good enough to parent. Satan knows who you are, and he is afraid of you remembering. That’s why he is persistently at work to convince you to keep striving for perfection so that you will destruct at the inevitable failure to be perfect. Don’t believe his lies, Remember who you are—anointed to parent by the grace of God.
I remember coming home from the hospital with by baby boy. I was 20 years old, and was shaken by the circumstance of being an unmarried mom, stressed by the strife in my family and worn out from delivering a nearly 10 pound, 2 feet long baby. I was determined to breast feed, you know, because that’s what good moms do, right. After a few successful days, I began to have trouble producing enough milk which made my toddler-sized newborn very unhappy. I cried as I fed him a bottle of formula in the middle of the night. He did not take well to it at first. A part of me didn’t want him to settle down and enjoy the bottle because that meant that this “imitation” milk met his need more “perfectly” than I could as his mother. I felt defeated, but I didn’t give up. A relative visited the next day and sensed my sadness. She told me, “You are his mother. He needs you.” That shook me to the core. In that moment, I was reminded of who I was—anointed to parent by the grace of God. I continued to successfully, not perfectly, nurse my son for 8 months.
I wish I could tell you that I instantly gave myself grace in my parenting imperfections, but I didn’t. Shame raised its ugly head time and time again. What I can tell you is that there are things that have marked my life, but I have learned to not allow them to define my life. Life marking events like when my son went missing and I felt like a failure. Than God I don’t have to be defined by that less than perfect parenting moment.
So here we are at the end…perfect parenting does not exist. We can rest in knowing, “He gives us everything we need for life and for holy living. He gives it through His great power. As we come to know Him better, we learn that He called us to share His own shining-greatness and perfect life.” according to 2 Peter 1:3. He is the perfect One who anoints us to parent by His grace.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that focuses on seeing no single mom walk alone. The organization serves more than 50,000 single mothers annually from around the United States and more than 2,000 in Greater Baton Rouge through their support group network, outreach event, educational classes, online communities, and more. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.