Written by Ann Voskamp
When one of the boys pulls off his Sunday shoes, the filthy ones ridiculously still clinging to “Sunday Shoes” status, he catches my eye and grins like he’s swallowed a canary.
“So I only wore one sock to church.”
What are you going to do but laugh with the grinning kid?
Yeah, I am that Mom…
Yeah, after 18 years, there it is:
I have been the mama who’s punished when I needed to pray.
Who’s hollered at kids when I needed to help kids.
Who’s lunged forward — when I should have leaned on Jesus.
There are dishes stacked on the counter like memories and paint smeared on the table and there are kids sprawled on the couch trying to read the same book at the same time — and there is only so much time.
I never expected love to be like this. I never expected so much joy. I never expected to get so much wrong. It’s what my Mama’s said to me a thousand times if she’s said it to me once. “It’s not that you aren’t going to get things wrong — it’s what you do with it afterward.“
So you clear off the table and the dishes and the leftover spinach leaves and wash the paint fingerprint off the mess of chairs, and you pick up the socks and shoes strewn through the house like crusty droppings in the park.
And then you swing from the monkey bars in the almost dark with the kids almost grown and you pray that your post-half-a-dozen-babies bladder doesn’t give way leaky on you now, and you laugh so loud you hope they always remember.
There is still light.
There is hospitality — making space inside of you to be a safe place for a child.
And no matter how the craziness of this whole parenting thing all turns out: The reward of loving is in the loving; loving is itself the great outcome of loving. The success of loving is in how we change because we kept on loving – regardless of any thing else changing.
And it’s a relief, how hanging upside down on the monkey bars, things can come to you.
That maybe being the mama I want to be isn’t so much about being more, but trusting more – trustingmore in the God of Hagar and Ruth and Hannah, the God who sees the angst, who nourishes the empty places, who hears the unspoken cries — and answers.
That godly parenting isn’t ultimately about rules — but having a relationship with an ultimate God and His children.
That godly parenting isn’t fuelled by my efforts — but by God’s grace.
That if I make God first and am most satisfied in His love — then I’m released to love my children fully and satisfactorily.
That maybe it all comes down to this:
My kids don’t need to see a Super Mama.
They need to see a Mama who needs a Super God.
Right to the last of the light, into the last of the light, there’s this silhouette of a mother running free and barefoot with the kids, no socks at all.
This grace on ground like this.