Confessions of An Imperfect Mother

I lost it with my kids yesterday. We were looking through homeschool math kits and materials and I found out that Titus, Tiana and one of their cousins had gotten into them. Parts were misplaced and items were incomplete. Everything was jumbled together and carelessly thrown into one box.

My mistake was I took the box and intentionally dumped it on the floor in front of the children. It crashed in a loud way, pieces scattering in all directions.

Titus started to cry. The others were in shock. This was the first time they saw me react this way. My cortisol levels walked out of the room.

I was so frustrated because of the irresponsibility and lack of stewardship. When we bought these things I clearly told my kids to take care of them. They agreed to do so.

After sorting and tallying, a letter “y” was missing from the lower case letters of a kindergarten assessment kit; a test tube, three test tube covers, tweezers, and a magnifying glass were missing from a pre-school science kit; and the bear counters, as well as the colored and different-sized rubber bands weren’t in their box.

It may not seem like a huge deal but these are homeschooling materials I need for teaching. They aren’t easy to replace. Still…sigh…throwing the box was uncalled for. It was such a bad example to my kids. I knew it too but I struggled with thoughts like, if I don’t get mad how will my kids learn that this sort of irresponsibility is not acceptable? How will they take me seriously if I am always so patient and forgiving?

These were ridiculous thoughts but I entertained them for a bit after I left the room. I went downstairs to grab some ziploc bags so the mess could be sorted.

Everyone was quiet when I came back into the room. I placed Catalina on the floor and sat beside them. They kept making side glances at me, expecting an apology. At first I tried to explain what made me irate.

I went on and on about stewardship and what it means to take care of what God has given us. Bad timing. Of course nothing was sinking in because my kids had not recovered from my outburst of anger.

Over lunch, I gathered them around me. “Mommy needs to talk to all of you. Mommy was angry because you were not good stewards but it was wrong of me to throw the box on the floor. I was very wrong. Will you forgive me? I was a bad example. I am so sorry.”

They nodded their heads. Titus and Tiana started to smile. But my older boys needed more time. They were still dealing with the emotional and spiritual pain I had caused them. I let them speak up and express their feelings. They teared up, especially Elijah.

“You have never done that before, mom.” His voice cracked as he tried to stay in control of his emotions. He also added, “My throat is sore from crying. I was crying while I was going around the house looking for all the things you asked us to.” (I made a list of missing items for them to find.) I hugged him and asked for forgiveness again.

At that point I felt so wretched, and I felt like a total hypocrite. Last weekend I gave a parenting talk with Edric and I boldly stated, “Our responses to our children should be redemptive, they should lead them to Christ, not away from him.”

Ayayay. Choke. Gag me. I had done just the opposite!

I spent time with the kids in the afternoon and they livened up to their usual selves. They even said, “W are okay now, mom.” But there was definitely regret on my part. I really wish I had controlled myself and not chucked the box on the floor.

God reminded me that I am an imperfect, sinful mother who needs to depend on his grace daily to love my children to Christ. The moment when I think I am most OKAY, like I am in control and cruising along, is the moment when I am most vulnerable to the sins of pride, anger, impatience, criticism and judgementalism.

During Holy Week Edric and I were busy serving God. We did two parenting seminars. Edric also spoke thrice on Sunday and I shared along side him. And my 700 Club testimony was featured on TV.

Encouragement and praise flooded my inbox and without realizing it, I was eating it all up and reveling in it, thinking that I had done something of worth for the Lord. I was “resting on my spiritual laurels.” But my outburst was a very humbling reminder that whenever I do anything of worth ALL CREDIT goes to God. There is nothing good in me apart from him. It’s not about what I do for God or what I accomplish. It’s about who he is and what he has done. The instant I start patting myself on the back and stealing even a smidgen of God’s glory, I will fall and fail like I did yesterday.

This post is a confession before God and to Him that my heart was deceived. I equated spiritual success with the doings of a person. But the muchness of service can often belie the true disposition of the heart and its devotion. What is more important is the being — the unmasked self, the exposed motives that are hidden to others but seen by God.

Why do I do what I do for His kingdom?

Is it for him or is it really for me? Is it because I really love Christ and others or is it because I love myself? Is it because I want him to get all the glory or do I want some of it? Is it an offering of worship to a God who is worthy of my praise and my best or is it obligatory preoccupation with the doings of Christianity?

God is not more pleased with displays of service as he is with the heart of the one who serves with gratitude, joy, love and truthful worship. As his word says, But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. (John 4:23 NLT)

In everything I do, whether it be as a wife, mother, homeschooler, writer, and servant of God, I must have the same perspective that John had in reference to Christ. May the perfect Jesus always increase in this imperfect me…

He must increase, but I must decrease. “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. (John 3:30, 31 NASB)

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Comments

  1. Rhodelie Matbagan says:

    Hello, ma’am Joy,
    This post really touched close to home. I do just the exact thing sometimes. Thank you for your honesty. May we always guard our hearts against the wiles of the enemy. Only by God’s grace…
    Blessings,
    Rhodz

  2. I wasn’t at all surprised by what you shared. Many times I have fallen after serving the Lord or thinking I am okay. Now by God’s grace, I am more aware of this. Never be too confident in myself & never ever take any part in God’s glory. All praise truly goes to Him alone & my confidence is in the Lord only. It’s indeed a learning process… we are all a work in progress. “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

  3. Hi Joy! I thank God for leading me to this post. I’ve always succumb to the sin of impatience and anger when it comes to my 3 y.o daughter and I am so guilty right now. But your post showed me how to handle this situation when it happens again. Though I honestly feel that it takes a lot of practice and deep breaths to master (well, I think I cannot master it, but maybe somehow follow your example little by little) how to be patient and forgiving. Discovering your blog is such a blessing for me. I’ve got so much to learn here! Thank you Joy!

  4. Kate Abella-Clariza says:

    Thanks for this! Humbling reminder indeed 🙂

  5. Tini Tadeo-Castillo says:

    Hi Joy, your posts are truly inspiring and encouraging! It’s always been a true challenge to master my anger, There are times that I am tested and my temper causes me to unleash hurtful words, and unfortunately my spouse and kids are the ones on the reciving end. But now that I have come to know the Lord personally, I am able to pause, breathe and pray. With God’s grace I am able to win over it and the times I lose it becomes less frequent. Thank you again for this honest confession, truly you are one of them blessed to bless! More blessings for you and your beautiful family 🙂

  6. Hi Joy, your posts are truly inspiring and encouraging! It’s always been a true challenge to master my anger, There are times that I am tested and my temper causes me to unleash hurtful words, and unfortunately my spouse and kids are the ones on the reciving end. But now that I have come to know the Lord personally, I am able to pause, breathe and pray. With God’s grace I am able to win over it and the times I lose it becomes less frequent. Thank you again for this honest confession, truly you are one of them blessed to bless! More blessings for you and your beautiful family 🙂

  7. this post struck a cord, again! It reminded me of the time when I also lost it and threw the empty rice cooker in front of my kids! I had delegated the rice cooking and house chores to my kids for the day so I could get some work done in my room. i went down feeling hungry to find no food, no chilled water, a messy living room with the kids busy with their games. Ugh I reacted so awfully! I usually well up with tears when i read your post Joy. Btw I was at the prep graduation, cute bangs! 🙂

  8. Carmela Nayve says:

    Thank you for your transparency, Joy. I learn a lot about godly parenting through you.

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Confessions of An Imperfect Mother