Saturday, April 8, 2006

A Favorite Quote

Here's a favorite quote by Jill Churchill:

"The most important thing she learned was that there is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one."

Soon after I became a first-time mother to a colicky baby, I realized that there are no perfect mothers. Of course I tried everything I knew, asked every mother I knew, and removed lactose, caffeine and refined sugars from my diet, to no avail. That baby would not stop crying!

I once talked to a friend whose child was grown who lamented over all of the hotdogs her son ate as a child. "Who knew," she worried, "that hot dogs could cause brain cancer!?" Why is it that we as mothers blame ourselves for every problem our children experience or shortcoming they exhibit? I'm certain, for example, that they learned that ugly character trait from me, that their shyness reminds me of myself as a young child, and that the older ladies at church must think we never use "please" or "thank you" at our house.

That's why I love this quote by Jill Churchill. I read it a year or so ago, while looking for a great quote for a lovely page in my scrapbook. I am learning to embrace it. In fact, I recently added it to my scrapbook, along with some journaling about all the fears that I have for my children about their not having the perfect mother.

Who is she anyway? I've realized that for myself, she's a composite of my own mother and grandmother, Betty Crocker, June Cleaver, and the Proverbs 31 woman all rolled into one unattainable ideal. What I know is that while I'm not perfect, God made my children for this mom, This broken, self-centered, imperfect, blessed-beyond-belief, mom. God blessed me with children to change me.

Sara Groves has a song I resonate with regarding these imperfections. It's on her CD Station Wagon. The lyrics read:

"Baby, I'm afraid you're a lot like me

You can't help feeling everything.

I can see you trying to hold it in

I see your eyes and your trembling chin.

And for you and myself I will pray

Let our weakness become our strength.

Baby there are some holes you just can't fill

You try and try but you never will

Baby I believe a God who can

He loves the boy and He'll love the man.

And for you and myself I will pray

That our weakness becomes our strength."

I love these lyrics because they are rest for my weary, perfectionistic, mother-soul. They provide a way out. A way to a life-changing Savior who turns our weakness into strengths. A way to pray for myself and for my children. A realization that I need not blame myself for every weakness they exhibit. A small feeling of community with another mother living with the same feelings of responsibility that I have.

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