Oh. My. So sorry. That's totally the wrong picture. Where did that even come from?
Let me try that again.
Full disclosure: I figured I stood a big chance of coming across in a better light if I showed a picture of the tan mom first. Am I right or am I RIGHT?
Full disclosure: I don't beg for melanoma in the comfort of an ultraviolet bed of death, but I'm still a bit of a mess.
I'm the mom who remembers 10 minutes before a birthday party that we don't have a gift for the birthday kid. The one who runs into Target and grabs a clearance item that doesn't look "too" cheap but is, in reality, very cheap, hence the red clearance tag that I have to scrape off with my chipped fingernails as I drive to the party. I arrive five minutes late and only remember in that moment that I forgot something sort of essential at the store. Gift wrap.
I actually dropped my daughter off at a birthday party last Saturday with a gift that looked like this:
I wish I was joking. And I'm sorry, Hannah.
I'm the mom who arrives to drop my son off at preschool (late, naturally) only to realize as I enter his classroom that it's pajama day. Does my son have on pajamas? That would be a negative. Who knew that wearing play clothes to school could be so traumatic for a four-year-old? His teacher assured me it was on the calendar. And it was. It was on the calendar that had been used in my car as a weapon to smash a black large ant and then ended up in a wrinkled ball underneath the passenger seat...
...of my minivan. I'm the mom who drives a minivan. Not a cool minivan. This minivan:
Ok, it's not that bad. But it is old, it's old-person blue, and it has a huge dent on one side, a missing hubcap on the other side, and a large crack across the windshield. It also has old-school doors. You know, the ones that don't open with the press of a button or the gentle pull of a handle? The kind of doors that require a good audible grunt to hoist them open, a simple fact that the ladies who run preschool drop-off/pick-up can't seem to remember as they stand on the curb waiting for a light to shine down from heaven and my doors to miraculously open on their own. Every. Single. Day. For three years. Amazingly, the doors still require being opened manually. I say amazingly because they look amazed/confused each and every time I roll down my passenger-side window (yes, my windows are electronic) and remind them kindly that they must, in fact, use their hands to physically open the van door. Once the doors open, I think they must forget all about the lack of space-age technology as they become distracted by the minefield of goldfish littering the carpet of the automobile. Not to mention the month-old Chickfila nugget (yes, of COURSE we eat fast food) that is peeking out from under my three-year-old's seat.
I'm the mom who tells her kids to make their beds, but only make my own half the time.
I'm the mom who tells my kids to turn their underwear inside out and wear them again because (oops) I forgot to move the laundry over to the dryer from the washing machine, resulting in an underpants-less boy and a load of laundry that smells like death and must be washed again.
I'm the mom who forgets that the tooth fairy is supposed to come visit her first-born child so the next day I grab a wadded-up dollar bill from my wallet and carry it in to my daughter, telling her the tooth fairy accidentally put her money in my purse (ashamedly, I admit this is true).
And sometimes...well, many times, I start to identify myself with my mistakes, taking them on as a part of my identity.
Jordan, the mom who's always two steps behind. Jordan, the mom who embarrasses her kids. Jordan, the mom who forgets important things.
I start to, in essence, rename myself.
As I do this, I forget the name that has been given to me by my Father. The only name that matters; the name that carries all of the weight and importance, that puts any name I or the world can give me to rest.
I believe He speaks the same words to me that he spoke to Israel through the prophet Isaiah so many years ago:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name and you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
When I allow my failures and weaknesses to define who I am, I start to engage in a very dangerous practice. What I tell myself becomes truth in my inmost being, easily replacing His truth and redefining who I believe myself to be.
What's more, I can allow the lies of the enemy, the lies I allow to penetrate my heart, to seep into the hearts and lives of my children. When we, as moms, aren't living in freedom and truth, how can we expect our children to do so?
I am redeemed, even from ways I screw up my parenting and can't get my act together.
And so are you.
Yes, I am that mom. No, I'm not a perfect mom. But I am THEIR mom...ordained by my Heavenly Father to love and nurture and teach and, yes, sometimes even screw up the three tiny humans He chose to give to me. He could have given them to Mrs. Brady (forgive the 70's reference, but I honestly couldn't come up with a role-model mother in the current television era), but instead He gave them to me.
And he gave your children to you.
I might drop off birthday gifts in flimsy plastic bags, and I may forget theme day at school. I may drive my kids around in a van that's a hot mess, and I may embarrass them in my yoga pants and frizzy hair.
They will always know that I am human. That I am broken. That I will never fully have my act together. That I need a faithful God. Every time I screw up, my only job is to point them back to the need for a faithful, perfect God who can cover the multitudes of our mistakes.
I have pointed them back to God more times than I can count, and I have probably supplied them with ample ammo for the therapy they are sure to need as they enter adulthood.