One day this summer the C’s and I were playing with sidewalk chalk in the driveway when I noticed Connor doing something over by our trashcans. I walked over to take a look and saw that a few of his pieces of sidewalk chalk had snapped in half, and he was throwing them away. “What are you doing, buddy?” I asked him.
“I can’t use these anymore,” said my little four-year-old perfectionist, “They’re broken.”
“Well, just because they’re not perfect doesn’t mean they can’t be used,” I replied. Woah. When I heard those words come out of my mouth, I stopped dead in my tracks. Just because they’re not perfect doesn’t mean they can’t be used. It applies to more than sidewalk chalk, my friends.
I started thinking of all the times I’ve used “not being perfect” as a reason not to allow myself to be used: when I chose not to step out on a limb in a relationship because I was afraid to “rock the boat,” when I haven’t reached out to a struggling friend because I didn’t feel like I had the right words to say to “fix” her situation, when I avoided sharing my faith because I worried that I wasn’t eloquent enough or would come across the wrong way…
I’ve even done it in my mothering. I worry that I’m unusable in the lives of my children because I’m still making so many mistakes myself. “I’m screwing them up!” I find myself thinking, “How will they ever learn to love the Lord and be the kind of adult He desires them to be with me as their example?!”
The thing is, though, God didn’t give Connor and Caleb to me because He thought I would be a perfect mother. He gave them to me because He knew I was the perfect mother for them, flaws and all, and He knew that in my weaknesses, His power would be made perfect. Just because I’m not perfect doesn’t mean I can’t be used.
If you’re involved with MOPS at all, you’re probably familiar with the theme that MOPS International chose this year: A Beautiful Mess. I love this theme so much because it’s totally relatable. Mommyhood is messy. Even beyond the physical mess of toys and dirty dishes, I’m often a mental “mess,” beating myself up over the millions of wrong decisions I make each day—“I came down too hard on him,” “I should have stood my ground with that one,” “maybe if I was a better mom, he wouldn’t choose to behave that way,” etc., etc., etc. And that’s where I need to let go of my expectations of being perfect and just make myself available for God’s use in my kids’ lives.
We have been given the most important job in the entire world: raising our children to become the people that the Lord created them to be. And even when we feel like we’re way too imperfect for the task, God’s Word says that we are enough. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. “
We are God’s masterpiece. The same God who created the entire universe considers us His greatest creation. He knows we’re not perfect. That’s why He sent His son to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. But just because we’re not perfect doesn’t mean we can’t be used by Him—in our kids’ lives, in our husbands’ lives, in the lives of other mommies, or even in our day-to-day interactions with perfect strangers. It may be messy, but if we make ourselves available and let the Lord work through us, it is also so, so beautiful.