Motherhood is the area of my life where I struggle the most to let go of perfection and grasp grace. Being a mom has exposed the depth of my weakness. I think it’s because the stakes are so high. God has entrusted two eternal souls into my care, and I don’t want to disappoint Him. I desperately want to get it right in all aspects of life—faith, family, work, and ministry. Do you feel this tug-of-war in your soul too?
On the journey to embrace grace, I’m learning to:
1. Accept my imperfection and rely on a perfect God.
Perfectionism leaves me exhausted and isolated, but grace gives me rest and connection. God will use parenting to deepen my relationship with Him. My best will always fall short of perfect. God wants me to rely on His perfection and lean into His grace. My children don’t need me to be perfect. They need to see me pursuing the only one who has never and will never let them down.
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2, ESV).
2. Abandon regret and comparison
Perfectionism enslaves me to my accomplishments, but grace gives me freedom to find my identity in Jesus Christ. I don’t have to be perfect to embrace grace. I am enough only because of God’s grace. The grace-filled life frees me to abandon what God has not asked me to be, so I can thrive as a mother.
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (II Corinthians 9:8, ESV).
3. Acknowledge God’s power
Perfectionism condemns me when I fail, but grace reveals God’s strength made perfect in my weakness. God isn’t asking me to impress Him. He’s asking me to depend on Him. I have significant influence in shaping my children’s hearts, but God is sovereign. I can parent in confidence because God is in control and the grace He gives is unlimited.
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV).
4. Apply the Word of God
Perfectionism feeds frustration and forces my emotions out of control, but grace soothes my spirit and settles my heart. I counterbalance the pressures of parenting with the promises of God’s Word. My limitations don’t irritate God. He wants to do this with me! I fill my home and heart with God’s Word as a reminder that the standard is not perfection but the grace He has called me to.
“Now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32, ESV).
5. Activate God’s grace in my home
Perfectionism teaches children to be good, but grace teaches children to be godly. When I recognize how much I need grace, I tend to want to give grace to my children who make mistakes just like me. God ordains imperfect moments as opportunities to direct little hearts toward a Savior who meets us right where we are.
“But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also” (II Corinthians 8:7, ESV).
(A version of this article was published in Reflections.)