Our KKids staff has worked hard to bring encouragement to families throughout the pandemic with free, online Faith and the Family events. Their final – truly a finale – event was last week featuring our own Dave & Ann Wilson, Kensington co-founders, former teaching pastors, and recent best-selling authors. It was wonderful to have them back to share with our community their wisdom on parenting based on their book, No Perfect Parents. Here’s an excerpt from Ann’s guest post on Ann Voskamp’s blog about a low parenting moment and the grace God gives to all of us imperfect parents.
from No Perfect Parents:
Hmm, where is Dave? I thought he’d be home by now.
Horseplay and roughhousing had begun to ramp up in the family room. It was getting loud.
“CJ, we need to practice your spelling words for your test tomorrow. Let’s go to the kitchen to do it away from the distractions.”
For the next thirty minutes, CJ and I went over each word with painstaking slowness. He was distracted by everything, while I was distracted by Dave’s absence.
Officially, I was starting to get mad. Dave should have been home hours ago. Why hasn’t he called? Why am I doing this all by myself yet again?
CJ was trying to knock the saltshaker over with the edge of his eraser. We had been on the same dumb spelling word for fifteen minutes. This was not going well.
Where is Dave?
“CJ, come on. Pay attention! Let’s get this word right this time. How do you spell _______?
Just as the question had left my lips, his eraser achieved success and the saltshaker tipped over, spilling salt all over the table. That’s it! The screaming and salting and waiting and trying—it was suddenly all too much.
“Ohhhh myyyy goshhhhhh!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
And without thinking, I swung my leg back and kicked the wall as if I was David Beckham kicking the winning goal for the Olympic gold. The impact was surprisingly fierce for my size, and my foot was successful in pounding a hefty hole in the kitchen wall.
It was less successful in being retracted out of said hole; that is to say, it stayed there, stuck in the drywall.
Mom kicked a hole in the wall!
You know how you often can’t scream loud enough to get your kids to come to you? Well, my three suddenly attentive fans ran to where I was in the kitchen, watching my every move as I awkwardly tried to unhinge my foot from the broken array of drywall that had entrapped it in shame.
Shock and astonishment radiated from their faces alongside fear and wonder, as if to say, How could this miracle have been accomplished by our mere and mortal mom?
Shame, guilt, fear, and horror began their treacherous group ascent to my mind, carrying with them ample supplies of accusations. Their cleated boots of unworthiness dug into my soul, piercing me with each step.
What kind of mom are you?
What kind of mom could lose her temper like that?
What will your kids remember about you?
What will this do to mess up your kids?
You are a failure!
I heard it over and over in my head. I felt a sense of panic as I quickly realized that Dave, my husband (and my pastor), would be walking through the door at any minute. What would I tell him?
My mind was racing when a brilliant thought surged through the middle of the pack. I sprinted up the stairs two at a time, searching for the box of leftover wallpaper. Yes! Whipping the scissors out of the kitchen drawer, I began to cover up the crime scene before “Pastor Dave” walked in the door.
Then he did. And, all three boys rushed to him with glee. “Dad, you won’t believe what happened tonight! Mom is wayyyyy stronger than we thought!”
“What do you mean?” Dave looked questionably at me, innocent curiosity twinkling in his eyes. I could feel my face redden with shame. Then like a perfectly trained musical trio, all three boys blurted out the truth in simultaneous, harmonious merriment: “Mom kicked a hole in the wall!”
And there it was…Mom Guilt & Shame.
I apologized to the boys telling them that I was wrong to lose self-control, wrong to not handle my anger more constructively, and I reassured them this had nothing to do with them or spelling words. I asked them to forgive me, and as most kids do, they each promptly reassured me of their love and forgiveness.
Looking back, I regret my nights of shame…feeling like a failure, and even comparing myself to the mythic perfect mom. There are no perfect parents and there are no perfect kids! But there is a Perfect One who is cheering us on and offering grace!
The Bible says to take every thought captive. Jesus said, if you are weary and heavy laden, come to him and he will give you rest. The boys forgave me quickly, but I had a hard time forgiving myself.
I’m thankful for grace. I’m thankful for Jesus who forgives my many mistakes and gives us do-overs. I’m thankful for a husband that can laugh with me (later) at my not-so-perfect parenting.
I’m thankful for a God that will take my shame, fear, and guilt, and remind me (and you) to rest in the comfort of His forgiveness.
I’m thankful for His resurrection power that prompts me to lay everything at his feet as he walks with me each and every day. (And…I’m thankful for wallpaper!)
More Faith and the Family Events
Did you miss any of the other online Faith and the Family events? Watch (or rewatch) these for encouragement and practical tips.
Faith Habits in the Family | September 24, 2020
Several Kensington staff couples shared practical tools and habits to lead families into deeper connection with Jesus. Watch here.
Coping with Anxiety and Stress | October 22, 2020
Jack Wilson led a conversation about helping kids of all ages cope with stress and anxiety. Watch here.
Raising Godly Girls | December 1, 2020
The KKids team tackles the topic of raising godly girls with families. Watch here.
Raising Godly Boys | January 31, 2021
Kensington Leaders and experts weigh in on nurturing boys to become the men God created them to be. Watch here.