I wake up to the sounds of my youngest microwaving himself a quesadilla while he sips on a soda. My pre-coffee conscience is slammed by the phrase “mom fail.”
I think of the shame that I should feel for not getting out of bed and fixing the kids a healthy breakfast. I’ve convinced myself that every other mom, regardless of her situation, was up before her kids cooking up something healthy, unlike me. And then it hits me. Why am I trying so hard to cling to my self-righteousness through a plate of scrambled eggs and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice?
It happens without notice. It’s the air we breathe and the food we eat. It’s the incessant need to compare ourselves to others. We need to be the best we can be, or at least to measure ourselves against someone who is struggling to make sure we aren’t failing too badly. While these sentiments definitely indicate our heart issues, I’ve seen how these thoughts are built into a worldview regarding motherhood. The world tells us that unless we are Pinterestly perfect, Facebookly faultless, Instagramly interesting, and Twitterly terrific, then we have failed.
In my life I have experienced days when TV and video games are all that I have to offer my kids. There are days that a corn dog and a juice box are sufficient for lunch and then again for dinner. There are days that my bed has been filled with crackers, Legos, glitter, and scraps of paper as my kids have had to live life in the only spot that mommy could rest.
It’s my brokenness, my mess, and all of my failures as a mother that continue to draw me into the arms of Jesus. It is by the grace of Jesus Christ that I see the silliness of the idea of “mom fail,” as though I am perfect 99.9% of the time and that this little “fail” is just a little blip in my well-programmed system. The truth is that the whole operating system is broken. Crashed! Kaput! And I am in great need of outside intervention. I am in need of Someone who can do for me what I cannot do for myself. Christ has taken on my sin, failures, and the weaknesses that beset me, and he’s redeemed me at the cost of his own life.
We have all failed miserably. I’m not talking about “fails” like the time that you let the two-year-old out of sight and she painted the toilet with nail polish. Or the time that you poured milk from the baby’s bottle into your toddler’s cereal because you didn’t want to walk to the kitchen. I’m not even talking about the less cute failures of yelling at your husband or lying to your friend so you didn’t have to babysit her kids.
No, I’m talking about the failure of all failures…the crucifying of the Lord of glory. The tragic event that happened on Calvary 2,000 years ago was because of your failure and my failure. It was the most epic fail of all mankind. The necessity of the crucifixion of the perfect Son of God exposed us all for the failures that we are. No one is righteous in God’s sight—no not one.
When we understand that the cross was about us and our sin and our failure, we see that there is nowhere left to hide. We no longer have to fear exposure. The cross said it all. And as the hymn says, “Jesus paid it all,” so we can stop pretending that we really aren’t that bad. We can start loving the people around us because we know that we really are that bad and so are they. The shame and the masks and the walls… they all come to a blinding halt. The beauty of the cross is that we no longer have to bedazzle our proverbial fig leaves with the words “Mom Fail” across the front. We’ve been found out.
It is finished, moms. Every true failure has been laid upon Jesus’ back and every masqueraded self-righteous “mom fail” has died with him in his death to be remembered no more. You are free!