Let’s face it, children can bring out the best and the worst in us. Before I became a mother, I lived with certain illusions. I thought, for instance, that I was a better person than I am. Cool under pressure, generous, sympathetic, forgiving, someone whose mouth is normally under control. But then came kids, and along with them, unrelenting challenges and too little time and too much to do and buttons being pushed and my not always responding like the good woman I want to be.
At least there is one thing I’ve gotten better at since I’ve become a mother—asking for forgiveness. Having children has made me aware of how much territory God still needs to claim in my heart. I know how much I need his grace. And that is a good thing.
Mother Teresa had a lovely way of talking about difficult people. She called them “Jesus in distressing disguise.” I have found that it helps to use her phrase not just to describe others but at times to describe myself, as well. Whenever I disappoint myself by not acting the way I know I should, it can be easy to become self-condemning. To avoid this trap, I remind myself that Jesus still lives in me despite my many faults.
The next time you stumble, whether with family or friends, ask for forgiveness. And as you do, refuse to wallow in guilt about all your failings. Instead, be merciful to yourself, believing that God will help you. Don’t forget Paul’s counsel to the believers in Rome. Remember that God has given you the same mighty Spirit whose power raised Jesus from the dead. Surely that’s more than enough power to keep you on the path toward peace. More
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