If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." -Galatians 5:25
As I sip a cup of late afternoon coffee, (yes, coffee! It's one of those days), I am happily looking at my Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We had to buy it--it was only $39. My home is eclectic. Some things are old, scarred and I put a cloth over them and call them classics. Some of my things are like the Velveteen Rabbit, worn but well loved.
And that is how my very good life has been--beautiful and wonderful amidst many mistakes, many flaws, many immature moments. Yet, God's grace is like a beautiful cloth that covers the scars on my well beloved old tables. His love and grace cover my imperfections.
Now as I visit with my children, they never say, "Remember the times our house was a mess." or "Mom, I remember a day when you did not have perfect behavior."
Instead they say, "We belonged to one another in our home. We celebrated life. We ate a lot and had endless movies, cups of tea and hikes. What a precious life we had together with all the love we needed."
As you enter a new holiday season, decide ahead of time that there will be disappointing moments, not all things will go as planned and someone might even get sick or cancel on an activity you had been longing to attend. Your life will hold tension this holiday season.
Yet, if you decide ahead of time to celebrate the moments as they come, to love generously and give forgiveness always, you will enjoy the days God provides.
As godly mothers, we strive to make the best possible decisions, set the perfect boundaries, and have the correct rules that we believe will somehow cultivate "spiritual" children. However, we can't by sheer force or the right rules or the right devotional curriculum make our children spiritual.
That being said, there is a mysterious process by which the Holy Spirit leads our children to see their need for Christ as we seek to cultivate their hearts. But it is entirely led by grace, informed by love, and carried out by the help of the Holy Spirit.
We are putting so much pressure on ourselves as mothers. Each time we find ourselves too busy to cook (so we opt for fast food), too exhausted to clean, or so hectic in our lives that we didn't do a devotional with our children one week, we feel absolutely defeated and believe that we somehow failed our children.
Often, I receive comments or letters from mamas who say, "How did you seek joy? How did you manage to live by faith?" And then they will tell me the very difficult circumstances or exhaustion or loss of job or marriage problem.....
The grace of God is given in spite of our circumstances. His peace comes when our difficulties would suggest otherwise. When we cast our burdens on God because we cannot handle them or when we choose to exercise joy because we know,"in His presence is fullness of joy," or when with our inadequacies in all areas are filled in by the invisible grace of His own doing, we always have hope and reason to be at peace.
While it is incredibly wonderful to set our standards high and live within these great ideals,
we must hold ourselves to a standard of grace, not perfection.
We won't be able to have grace for our children if we do not have grace ourselves.
Galatians 5:1 tells us that,
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."
Are there any ways in your life as a mom that you are trying to live up to the false expectations of others?
In my home, we did our best, but our best was certainly not perfection. We just had committed hearts toward our kids and the desire to shape their souls to respond passionately to their Creator. He came with grace and truth to bring life and wholeness into our hearts. We strive to follow His example in the lives of our children. We are not guided by culture, or what other moms feel is the "right way", but we are led by God. We walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and rest in His grace.
For more grace in your Christmas, I hope this event is an encouragement! Register today to join us next week for a (virtual) Christmas tea with me!
Register here: Christmas Tea With Sally
Remember, if you are a member of Cultivate Life with Sally, you will be able to attend this event as our guest. You will receive information with your December 1 download as to how you can access this webcast and the other ones this year.
If you are not a member, you may sign up for $10 and we would love to have you join us for a fun night celebrating Christmas together.