Case-in-Point #1 – We were running late for gymnastics. I put everyone in the Volkswagen Vanagon and asked child #2 to strap #3 in her seat-belt and off we went. It was summer and the local university had very low cost gymnastic classes for ages 4 through 10. Our four children were 4 to 9 at that time and it was great to take them all to the same place at the same time. We pulled up to the gym and the children piled out. As the older three climbed out of the van, I reached back to help our youngest and realized she had absolutely nothing on but a slip that the girls wore for dress-up! I saw she had no underwear on because the slip was see-through. Since her sister had strapped on her seat-belt, I really hadn’t noticed her lack of clothes. I took the three older children into the gym, asked my friend Carol to keep an eye on them during the class, and I rushed #4 home to dress her. What kind of mother takes her children out barely dressed? Bad Mamma.
Case -in-Point #2 – Once I met a mother of a classmate of our son at the library and we began talking. Our daughters were friends and this mother said that since our daughters like to get together, it would be nice if our sons could get together as well. I said “Sure” without checking with our son and made a plan for all four to get together on a Saturday. When I mentioned this to our son – he was not pleased. He had other plans for that Saturday and it did not involve going to this boy’s house. Since I had already made a commitment to the mom, I MADE our son follow through and go. What kind of a mother manufactures friendships for her child? Bad Mamma!
Case -in-Point #3 – I was outside in the spring, working in the garden and had #3 (5 months old) in a playpen to keep her safe. #1 (almost 4) was hitting walnuts with his plastic baseball bat. #2 was crawling around right next to me while I weeded. Suddenly, a car stopped on the road right above our garden. I looked up to wave at whoever had stopped and I saw an elderly man walk to the front of his car and reach down to pick something up. He picked up my daughter! She had crawled up the bank and onto the road! I raced up the bank in horror and took my little girl from the man’s arms while sobbing in relief that she was safe. The man said ” You better keep an eye on her” which I have always felt was very gracious under the circumstances. What kind of mother would allow her 18 month old to wander off onto a road? Bad Mamma!
I’m sure most of us mothers and grandmothers can tell about situations that demonstrate our failures and shortcomings as mothers. There are incidents we are not proud of, lapses in judgement or focus. The only redeeming quality in the above situations is God’s grace which was manifested in my weakness. I am not perfect as a mother. I need God’s redeeming love and grace to cover my mistakes.
The Bible shares the lives of mothers who made errors in judgement. Rebekah chose to love one of her twin sons, Jacob, over the other son, Esau, with far reaching consequences. Salome, mother of James and John asked Jesus to seat one of her sons on His left and one on His right in His kingdom. Jesus gently rebuked her. Reading about these mothers and others who fall short of God’s glory illustrate the fact that we all have sinned and need redemption. As mothers we need God’s grace and forgiveness.
John 8: 6-11
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
This is the wonderful truth of the Gospel. Jesus is speaking to a woman caught in sin, yet His response is “…neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin.” When we are convicted by the Holy Spirit about something in our life, maybe our failings as a mother, we must ask forgiveness and leave behind that destructive pattern of behavior. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus once we accept forgiveness. So, no more “Bad Mamma!”