Wednesday, September 5, 2012

being imperfect mommy

{my family, May 2011}
me, my mommy, my daddy, my sister
your mother is so amazing
you have a fantastic father. 

these are words i hear often, frequently filling my ears from the lips of those who encounter the people that raised me. not just church people, not just family people, but strangers too, sometimes, who know me through them.

my father is the life of the party, loud and wild with a whistle and a laugh that both boom and echo so loud that they can be heard in the front of the church where i sit, compared to the back where he sits with my mother, always just that one second after the joke when the rest of the laughter has died away.

but he has these eyes, my father, the eyes that draw men to speak and share their hearts when most would rather withdraw and be quiet. he was good to his girls, my dad, my mom and sister and me, and soon his granddaughter too. most men wouldn't have cared. my daddy did.

and then there's my mom. this red-haired, coffee-carafe toting powerhouse who often starts her sentences with i'm not perfect or only by the grace of God am i here. and she's right, of course, because it takes God and only God. but mommy needs to give herself some credit too. because she spends hours with women, holding their hands and weeping with the broken. she gives of herself endless and endless to teenage girls who love her and call her mom like i do, and it's amazing.

and women tell me that listening to my mom is like listening at the feet of Jesus. and it is, because she raised me when she could have said no, and adopted me when she could have been content to give to others who didn't hold corners of her flesh in their fists. but she chose a daughter, and then another. and gave even more of herself -- the most bits of herself -- to us, my sister and me.

and i'm going to be a mom soon, any day now. and i sit and press my hands to my swollen stomach where my daughter, due tomorrow and stubbornly waiting beneath my skin where she seems to be quite comfortable in her silent liquid world. but wouldn't you be too?

i want to be the kind of mom that has people come to my little girl and say your mom is doing good. your mom is amazing. 

{via pinterest}
and i fear i won't be that kind of woman for her. i fear i'll live in flesh and in self, and not in the Jesus-shawl that my mother drapes over her shoulders when the world brings her to her knees. and i fear that i'll chose my own feet instead of kneeling on the sheepskin that my father has used for prayer since i was a little girl.

i have big shoes to fill, these ones of sacred parenting that were emulated for me by the two most amazing people i have ever encountered. and sometimes i call my mom crying, and tell her that i don't feel good enough to mother like she mothered.

and then i remember that He fathered her, and me, and my dad, and my husband. and fall is coming, a death and a life all at the same time. and my little one is coming to make me a mommy, and to make my husband a daddy.

and we won't be perfect parents. but we will be parents who love. i won't be my mom. but i'll be me, and that'll be okay, won't it?

and she'll love me for me, those tiny flailing arms and fluffy little cheeks and big still-unseen eyes of an unknown colour and hair to match, also still unknown.

but He died to make me worthy to hold this tiny one in my arms and call her my child, and made me worthy to be called mommy. He didn't die to make me perfect, to make me supermom, to make me anything but me.

He died to make me whole.

and i'm who she'll call mommy
imperfect mommy who loves Jesus
loving mommy who tries
her mommy. 
who loves her forever & always 

{linking my imperfection with dear emily and her community today. join us?}


  1. Your words are always so full of such deep love and wisdom and authenticity, Rachel. Goodness, are you trying to make me cry with every word you write, dear-heart momma! ...and don't worry. You are going to be such an authentic, beautiful and loving momma, Rachel! I am so excited for you and your hubby and I can't wait to see that already grandly loved little sweat pea, Miss Marian! <3

  2. You'll make a great mom. I know you will. I can feel it! :) Praying for a safe delivery and a healthy child.

  3. Beautiful. Yes, she won't need you to be perfect, just to be you and to be there. How exciting this time is for you :)

    And I think you're right about husbands needing that gentleness, too, though it's a little harder for me to remember sometimes.

  4. Don't try to be your mom or anyone else you know; just try to be your best self. You'll be fantastic.

  5. Just the fact that you are worried about it shows that she is already blessed and doesn't even know it yet! As long as you care, and try to always point her to Jesus, then I'm sure you will be an amazing mother. :)

  6. A friend told me today that I must be doing an amazing job as a parent for my little girls (ages 2 and 3) to be asking the questions about God that they already ask and talking about Jesus every day. The truth is that I fail and fail and fail, every day. And I think THAT is the "amazing job" I am actually doing--falling on my face before Him in all of my imperfection. And amazingly He still uses me, but HE is the One who is the amazing FATHER. If we ask for His help, his parenting skills (just like the parenting skills of your mom and dad) can't help but rub off on us!

  7. Amazing words. I know you'll make a great mom. And your daughter is so lucky to have you for a mom. xo

  8. We learn how to be parents from our parents. Sounds like you are going to be a great Mommy.

  9. We are neighbors at Em’s...this is just beautiful...first what a beautiful tribute to your parents...what a blessing. This blessing will form you more than you know as a much more is caught than taught...and you have a wonderful foundation for God to start building your home...and He is the master carpenter...and you home too can be a home of beauty and grace...just let Him build by His Spirit. blessings to you

  10. your already-mama-heart is big and beautiful, and that tiny girl of yours is gifted to you because you are her perfect match, the mother she needs. blessings and grace over your delivery and new adventure!!

  11. i dont know that we can ever be perfect parents or that we should set the bar that high...i think if we raise them to the best of our ability and show them grace in our own moments and ask forgiveness where we need can be a beautiful thing

  12. First, congratulations. And no, you won't be a perfect parent because none of us are but we are "made perfect in Him." Your little one(s) will be blessed to have you. You are a mother through a through and it shines out in your words and the way you already love. Blessings on you, and prayers for a smooth birth and euphoric early days with your new addition.

  13. You have a beautiful heart and you will be a beautiful mommy! :-)


I look at you and see all the ways a soul can bruise, and I wish I could sink my hands into your flesh and light lanterns along your spine so you know there's nothing but light when I see you. :: Shinji Moon