This past Sunday for Mother's Day we had Kim Pfaller share how she has encountered God’s grace in her parenting. We wanted to post it here to encourage others who may not have heard it. You can read it or listen to the audio file at the bottom of the page.
From Kim: A couple of weeks ago Keith sent a text and asked if I would share a word of encouragement to the mothers here today. At first I chuckled. Other than my husband and my mother who are here today, Keith being my brother-in-law since my children were very young, has seen my parenting on full display – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And let me tell you, when I look back, I see a lot of the bad and the ugly. So, I was very humbled by his request.
The truth is that despite my sin and failures, God in His grace used me in the lives of my three children. What I know to be true--God didn’t call the perfect to one of the most noble, incredible roles His children would be called to.
I remember many, many years ago when Mark and I were blessed with three small children, Makenzie, Caleb, and Mika. I remember thinking I would be such an incredible mom; my children would be perfect, obedient, never embarrass me. Instead, the Lord used it to highlight my sinful nature – my selfishness, impatience, anger, and lack of self-control. Instead of that image of an incredible mom coming true, I felt like a failure as a mom. At the time I was a great legalist – if I read another self-help book telling me how to be a better mom, prayed more, read the Bible, then I could do a better job. I was learning that not only could I not fix myself, but I was helpless to fix my kids.
However, God used this time in my life to point me to His grace.
I remember sitting on a beach in Hawaii for our 8th anniversary, our children were 6, 4, and 2. I was overwhelmed that no matter what I did, tried, labored to do to overcome my sin, I still couldn’t get it right. God showed me that day on the beach, while reading John Piper’s Desiring God, that there would always be sin, but because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for my sin, when God looked at me, He saw Jesus’ perfect record of sinlessness. This affected my parenting.
If God can forgive me, I can patiently forgive and deal with my children’s sin while pointing them to His grace through God-honoring discipline and guidance. His grace is real!
Fast forward a few years, all three children are pre-teen or teenagers. This presented new difficulties. With one child, my husband would have to tell her and me to separate into different rooms until he got home from work to referee our disagreements. Another one was tugged by the world to the point where I would get in my car, roll the sunroof back, turn the praise music on as loud as I could get it, while pleading with the Lord to remove the veil that covered their eyes to their sin. I would return home spent and hoarse from crying out to God and telling the enemy to get his hand off my child. Another child was carefree, independent, and seemed to love to be anywhere but home, not concerned with validating my “wonderful parenting.”
This left me displeased with myself – spending many nights crying out to God to change me because I had to be the problem. If I could just keep my mouth shut and be the cool mom, then I would measure up to all the other moms. I remember his first year of college he was on his 3-hour drive back to school. In true mom fashion, I watched “find my iPhone” to make sure he was making it safely.
While watching I noticed he had been sitting in the same spot for 45 minutes. I panicked, but knew it may not be received if I called to check on him. Not too long later I got a call from him, he was fine and had been sitting waiting for an accident on the interstate to clear. However, he was crying. He told me that morning at church he had been asking for God to do a work in his life. He wanted God to transform his life like God had done for his dad in college many years ago. He said God told him that he could not do that work until he called me to apologize for a few things that he knew had hurt me in the years past.
I was overwhelmed by God’s work in his life. God had called me to pray, be silent, and be patient. God did the work! He was faithful!
Now I am in a very different stage of motherhood. By God’s grace, all 3 children are serving God. I have had the joy of looking my son-in-law and daughter-in-law in the face for the first time and knowing they are the fulfillment of years of praying for my children’s spouses. God did exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask or think when he gave us Benjamin and Amanda. I’ve been that mom who wished I could go back and hold my babies just one more time.
He granted my prayer by allowing me to hold my three grandchildren, Emmy Rose, Hadley, and Asher. It is the same love I experienced holding my own babies for the first time. Through God’s classroom called motherhood, I have learned, despite my shortcomings and sin, His grace is real and He is faithful.
I want to leave you with this verse: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14 -16).
My prayer for each of you on this Mother’s Day is that the truth of this Word will be cemented in your heart and mind today! Because He was tempted in every way here on Earth and did not sin, He perfectly intercedes to the Father for you and me. Because of His compassion for you and me, we can come to Him in confidence that we will be met with mercy for our failings and sin and be given His incredible gift of grace in every stage of motherhood.