I have never really thought of myself as a very good parent. I am constantly finding myself in the midst of parenting and thinking, “I really could be handling this much better.” In looking back, I can see countless ways in which I escalated a situation instead of deescalated, in which I got stuck in wanting control instead of fostering independence, or in which I simply lost my cool. Parenting sometimes brings out the worst in me, and on the really bad days, I feel like I am failing pretty miserably at the whole endeavor.
I feel that way about my faith sometimes too. I know all the ways I am called to serve God and to be a faithful disciple. But I often find myself failing. For as many times as I can be like an insightful Peter, more often I am like the Peter who is sinking into the sea, trying to control what Jesus does, or putting myself in front of the gospel. Reading about modern saints, or people who are making a difference with their life only makes me more aware of my many failings to live as a faithful Christian.
The good news is that children, and other people, often give us glimpses of hope and encouragement. The other day, I was stirring from a nap with my youngest (who refuses to nap now unless you nap with her). As she was waking up, she smiled at me and said, “You can be my best friend, Mommy.” A few nights ago, my oldest requested to start using the same shampoo, conditioner, and soap that I use, instead of her 3-in-1 tear-free wash we have been using. I sighed out of irritation, and asked her why. She said, “Because I want to be like you, Mommy. Except for your short hair!”
I laughed on both occasions, but both comments reminded me that for all the times I fail, there is still love. For all the ways in which I mess up this parenting thing, there are glimpses of times when I managed to get it a tiny bit right. I think the same is true for our faith life. For all the ways we are horribly imperfect, we also have glimpses of powerful faithfulness. I encourage you to listen to those around you to hear those little comments that will encourage you on your journey. And then I invite you to straighten up, take a deep breath, and get back in there. God is doing amazing things through you. I can’t wait to hear all about it!!