One of my most favorite quotes about being a mother is this:
“Yes, Mother. I can see that you are flawed. You have not hidden it from me. That is your greatest gift to me.” —Alice Walker
I am flawed, and I share that with my kids. We talk about it, and it is hard. I want to be more for them. I want to be great. I want to be great to the point that I can get a little crazy. With so much of my heart and my days wrapped up in being a mother, I wonder if I am gaining my identity from it at times.
There is this struggle to define what being a mother is. The semantics of the title mother and the role in which it should be carried out have been debated for a long time.
I don’t think we were ever meant to have a clear definition because love can look like a million things. That is why good mothers work and good mothers stay home and good mothers breast feed and good mothers bottle feed and good mothers say turn the other cheek and good mothers say don’t go down without a fight.
The idea that we can be so different and still do ‘mothering’ well is not surprising. We love because He first loved us, and He loves all of us differently and the same. His love is in tune with our need.
That is what it means to be a mom. For our love to be in tune with my child’s need, even at a price. And with that definition, anyone can be a mom, and this is where the nuances between ‘mother’ come in.
By birth, by adoption, by the foster system, as a stand in, as an older sister, as a single father, as an aunt, as a mentor, as a teacher, as a nurse…to those who feel called and are childless, to those who are hoping, to those who are waiting, to those who have lost children, to those who are standing in, to those who are with and those who are without…however you step in to the role mother at any given time, I celebrate you!
It is not an exclusive club, but a wide-open community of people who love deeply and dare greatly and sacrifice and weep and mourn and sing over our beloved. We hurt with them and we guide them and we partner with them. We do all this and a million more things for them because we know that loving them is our reward and we do it flawed.
I think being flawed as a parent is a gift. It humbles me when I deal with my flawed children. It helps me connect with them, helps me understand their heart.
I want you all to know your flaws are a gift from God. They help your child relate to you and be okay in their own skin. They give your child hope that they will be able to love like you one day–you, who strives to love like Christ. Because when you fail, He doesn’t, and that is a promise your child can count on.
This weekend, I invite you all into my “Flawed Mothers’ Club” where all welcome, loved, wanted and worthy in Him.
I see you and I stand with you.