The thing about having kids is that they are with you nearly all the time which means they see more of you than your spouse, your friends, or anyone else. In some senses this is a highly positive concept, a chance for mother-imprinting and such. But there is a scary side to this reality. My kids see all of me, which means they are exposed not only to my gentle, calm Mrs. Mild moments but also to my less appealing Mama Jeckyll moods.
Mama Jeckyll visits most when I haven’t had time to rest or exercise or when I’ve been flying solo for a few days or more. She is someone to be reckoned with, marking her trail with annoyed sighs and eye rolls. She misses the forest for the trees and quickly forgets which battles are worth fighting. She is, in a nutshell, unpleasant, impatient, and far from amiable.
When Mama Jeckyll visits, she brings along her sidekick, Shame. “Why didn’t you get up earlier to get alone time? Good thing you aren’t a military wife or you would crack! Why can’t you be like such and such, she never lashes out?”
She steals the show until I stop, mid-tyrade, and realize that this is not the way it has to be. When I stand in humility before my boys and ask them to forgive me. When I admit to them that even loving mommas with great intentions are flawed, failing, and sin-sick. When I confess with them before God, she is conquered.
Because children are resilient and quick to forgive, they accept my apologies and receive back their more lovable Mrs. Mild.
Simul peccator et justus. Righteous and at the same time a sinner.
This is Martin Luther’s famous way of describing the Christian. This is what I act out and admit to my children daily. I am whole and righteous in Christ, and yet I continue to have a fallen nature in me.
I used to think that the days I was “doing well” were the days when I was most consistently Mrs. Mild; however, I am learning that some of our best days include Mama Jeckyll’s frequent or infrequent visits.
You see, I am teaching my children, in my failing, confessing, and returning, that this is the way of the Christian. That though sin remains in me, there is a new nature growing in strength. That God is far more satisfied with Christ than He is dissatisfied with our failures.
And so we fall, but we fall forward into abounding grace.