Choices | Faith & The Gospel | God's Mercy | Intentional Mothering | Mummy Wars

Why Perfected Parenting is a Lie { And What Your Children Really Need}.

September 11, 2015

Our age is saturated in the lie that we can have perfect. Whether we are born with it, buy it, earn it or achieve it – all aspects of life are held up to the standard of perfection. It’s a lie we swallow hook, line and sinker without even knowing it. And though as parents we want to protect our children from these lies by monitoring what they read, watch, listen to or be involved in, it is impossible to completely keep our children pure. For one thing, children are not innocent {Psalm 51:5}. And for another, the enemy – who is the “father of all lies” – deceives all of us one way or another as he prowls around looking for people to devour {John 8:44}. Because we know that we can’t fully protect them from “out there”, we try to protect them “in here” – and one of those ways is being the perfect Christian parent.

And once again, we swallow a lie.

It is vital that we, as Christian parents, grasp this early on. And thank goodness I am still in this “early on” period! Aside from believing the lie that a parent must be perfect in order to grow sound, unhurt, woundless adults, I have also got myself into a hole of misery everytime I fail at this perfected parenting thing {which is a billion times a day, by the way}. When I make little mistakes, big mistakes – I honestly believe I am going to wound my children for life.

The thing that I am learning and oh, so, slowly is this:

My children will not benefit from a perfect mother. I want to be the perfect mother who never yells, who never gets frustrated, who never struggles with actually disliking aspects of her children {yes, hand up here}… But I won’t ever be her and, even if I was, what would my children gain from that? That would wound them because, when life stinks {which it will for them at times}, they will feel no sense of relation to me. How could they talk to a mother who never…?

Despite hating being imperfect and despising parts of me that are just so fallen, I am learning that my imperfections will raise my children’s hearts to the One who is perfect.

You see, when I show them sorrow, guilt and repentance for my mistakes and they see me at the feet of Jesus {even if only in spirit}, they will see gospel truth lived out in example. It won’t be pious, thinly-veiled religion. It will be as I always am – –

before the Lord with open hands and a rebellious heart.

Damaging my children terrifies me. Many aspects of my late-childhood and teenage years has deeply wounded me. I can see why I want to parent perfectly. I want the best for them. I want them to have full hearts, little baggage, life in their souls and no sense of shame, betrayal or yuckiness. But I am coming to accept that, in lots of little ways, I will hurt them more than I will in bigger ways. The difference I hope my children will experience is the true, open-Bible, gospel-truth of Jesus.

In my moments of great pain with my own parents, Jesus featured very little. Not all of Jesus, anyway. The perfect, holy Jesus was there – a part, separate from my circumstances and who would be just completely grossed out by what our family was going through. I knew he forgave and that I should forgive, but only the law and righteousness were in my heart.

Oh, may I not teach that in my own children.

May I willingly be an imperfect parent who shows them she desperately needs Jesus, whose love and grace and mercy lavish over us like soft velvet.

May I show them that, in my own weaknesses and faults, I love the Lord and need him to help me care for them.

Though I want to be perfect and never make mistakes and always love my children perfectly…I pray more so that a real, vital, living understanding of who Jesus is and what he is about is made clear to them because of my sin-stained, faltering parenting.

  1. “It is vital that we, as Christian parents, grasp this early on. And thank goodness I am still in this “early on” period!”

    – This is so true, and excellent that you have realised this now. My son will be 14 soon, and it is hard to understand where the time has gone and how his ‘little years’ disappeared so quickly. Related to your previous post on not having a ‘big’ blog and being on the computer too much, what a shame if we miss out on these years either because we think we have to be perfect, or we spend too much time on things that are trivial in the big scheme of things. I only post once a week usually, yet I still fall into this trap.

    Thanks for sharing this encouragement!

  2. You have keen insight… So very true, no child is perfect and no parent is perfect BUT we can always point our children to the One who IS! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! 🙂

  3. What a good reminder of the deceitfulness of mankind. Thank-you for posting. I’ve seen this in my own life as well. Perfect parenting is a lie. What is perfect is the Lord Jesus Christ and His wisdom. When I lean fully on Him and listen to his voice I do well. When I obey Him with an imperfect heart, I do well. When I rely on my own strength, I only get so far before I’m quickly reminded I need Jesus. There are many good tips and strategies out there as far as raising children but we need His wisdom to sift through it all and know how and when to apply. Thanks again for encouraging me today!

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