I am not a supermom.
I don’t speak in a sing-song voice. I can’t make a cake look like anything other than a cake. Sometimes my microwave goes weeks without getting cleaned. I forget about holidays until noon on the day they are occurring. I even fall down on the whole chronicling-my-kids’-lives-in-photos-thing. My husband recently joined Facebook, and now I sometimes remember to take pictures at the Science Museum so he can see how much fun we’re having.
I know where my strengths lie–and I am painfully aware of my weaknesses.
I don’t count my lack of food artistry skills as a weakness. It’s just not my gift. Here’s where my weakness lies: my character. I want more than anything to be kind, loving and full of grace. I want to be patient and joyful. Yet, I open my mouth and impatience pops out. Sarcasm and bossiness surface…..
It’s horrifying, really.
There is one thing I am really super at as a mom.
I use the three most powerful words in the universe.
You can do it too. Ready?
I Was Wrong.
Were you expecting something else? Something warm and fuzzy feeling perhaps? Don’t get me wrong–our kids need to hear us voice the words, “I love you”. It’s really, really important. But “I love you” should be more than spoken. It should be lived. And when we mess up living out “I love you”, well, then it’s time for “I was wrong”.
Usually, I follow “I was wrong” with something specific such as the reason I was wrong. I sometimes even get really super-specific and detail the manner in which I have sinned against God and against my child. I also usually say something along the lines of “I apologize. Would you please forgive me?” What I try never, ever to say is “but”. Because “I was wrong, but…” fails to carry the weight and gravity of the sin I’m confessing. We can always discuss why we don’t peg mom in the back of the head with a soggy pinecone later. “I was wrong” is the time for me to make amends for my behavior and for my words.
I try to make a point of remembering that my children are subject to my moods, my whims and my words. I think that given our respective life positions and the current balance of power, it’s especially important that I am kind, loving and patient. Yet, I fall short every day. I know it’s every day because it’s hard to forget you’ve already said “I was wrong” twice before lunch.
Does admitting my failure weaken my authority as a parent? No. My kids already know when I’ve messed up. Confessing my sin is Scriptural.
James 5:16a says: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
When I’ve really messed up, I need healing and so do my kids. Together, we can go to the Lord in prayer. I come to Christ through the repenting of my sins and confessing He is Lord. If there’s anything I’m want to live out in front of my kids, it’s that: the daily, humble confession of my iniquities.
So, maybe “I was wrong” aren’t the three most powerful words in the Universe. Come to think of it, “Jesus is King” sounds pretty great (and a little more powerful). But, “I was wrong” are important words — and I use them every single day.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.