The further into this journey of parenting I go, the more grace I need. I need it from the Lord obviously. And I need it from my friends. Here's a quote from a friend that I've been noodling on for awhile.
"Someone recently asked me for parenting advice and I told them, 'Surround yourself with friends who don't judge you or your parenting.'" (That was Sarah T, for the locals.)
Sure, I was as guilty as any other person pre-children. Even when the boys were still kinda little, I said things like "My kid will never ____."
One way God humbled me was to bless me with four children. I don't know an honest Christian mother who doesn't think that God is using motherhood to sanctify her. Holy Moly. I am constantly being humbled by saying things I never thought I'd say. I've turned a blind eye to behavior I never thought I'd permit. I struggle with anger more than I ever could have imagined. And, strangely, my children are not the perfect robot angels that I once knew they'd be. (But, they are pretty great!!!)
With all my failures in mind, it makes a WORLD of difference when I know I'm in the company of those who have grace for me. They have love and grace for me despite my flawed parenting. They have love and grace for my sinful children. Quite honestly, a friend's judgment on top of the failure does nothing if it doesn't make me a worse parent. It's burdensome.
What I need is understanding. I need encouragement. I need patience.
(And friends who are being judgmental need understanding and patience too! Bear with them and love them! And trust that God will humble them in His time! :D)
No need to affirm my stupid parenting moments. I don't need someone to tell me that my anger or my inconsistent parenting is inspiring. I need to know they love me anyway and that they'll be praying for me. I need to know they'll pray for my kids.
And, by God's grace, that's what I have. I am so blessed to be surrounded by friends who aren't judging me. I feel safe to confess my shortcomings and walk in the light and come away refreshed and ready to be a better mom.