are children reflections of our imperfections?

Let’s be honest. It’s not pretty.

We’re not impressed with the first image that stares back at us in the morning. You know, the one the reflects all our imperfections in their make-up-free glory.

We get the same feeling when we see behaviors in our children than reflect our own weaknesses. It is so incredibly difficult to watch the flaws that have caused us so much grief begin to surface in our kids.

Often, the things that bother us most about our children are the things that bother us the most about ourselves.

We feel an overwhelming urge to change the image of ourselves we see emerging in them.

But here’s the problem.

There’s no lipstick for sarcasm.

No concealer can mask ugly words.

There’s no voluminizing mascara to instantly plump up our kids’ puny academic performance.

If only there was a moisturizer that could smooth out the rough places and hardened attitudes we see in our children.

We can try to help them avoid problems and/or circumstances that we wish we could go back and change.

But ultimately, our children are not reflections of ourselves to “makeover.” Guiding and helping mold them has to be about them, not us.

Yes, kids observe the reflection of us in their lives. Then, they make a decision based on their own personality and morality. Sometimes we like our influence, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, our influence is irrelevant. Ouch.

We can’t be the mom who puts her child on “Toddlers & Tiaras” because she was never told she was beautiful. We can’t scream and yell from the sidelines of a soccer field because we never succeeded athletically. That’s not love — it’s control.

Our children’s purpose is not to give us the balm to soothe our own wounds. That’s only possible from Someone who loves us and has the power to rub a heavenly and redemptive salve over our sins, transgressions and weaknesses.

God knows a thing or two about having children who actually are “made in His image and likeness” — but choose not to reflect His loving nature. That’s all of us moms. It also include our kids. We can rest in the knowledge that He is the One who should be saddened and disappointed. He sent His son to save us. But did we choose His salvation?

Like our kids, like us, like everyone — it’s a choice of our own free will.

To internalize God’s mercy and grace is our number one priority when mothering our children. We can reflect that through loving them, whoever they are, no matter what they are projecting.

And it doesn’t require anytime in the make-up mirror — only time in front of our Lord.

This is the second in a four-part series to celebrate the upcoming release of Jill Savage‘s new book, No More Perfect Moms. Read the first installment if you missed it.

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  • I don’t know how you just know to write exactly what I need to hear. I bump heads with my daughter because I see in her the things I most want to change in myself. It is so hard and I sometimes want to run and hide from all the things I dislike in myself and there I see them all in this little person I love with all my heart. Then I feel the pressure to change them in both of us.

    • {Melinda} I completely get that, AnnMarie! I have to fight that urge in myself all the time. Going over to read about your New York trip. 🙂

  • Another wise and insightful post!!! It’s SO hard to not naturally want to change or shape our children into what WE think is best. I constantly need grace and direction in this area… A gentle reminder that our children are not ours but His.

    • {Kathy} Not ours but His. This is soooooooo hard for me–especially after they leave for college. I have realized that, whoa, that’s it. They are not under my roof 24/7. I’m not constantly taking the temperature of their lives on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. This is why we have to teach communication. It’s all we have left after they have left the nest.

  • Yes, yes…and YES. I was just talking to a friend yesterday how sad it is when a parent won’t let a child be herself rather than some reflection of what we wish we were or some idea of a “perfect” child. It just causes so much pain for everyone.

    They are perfectly made in who they are. While I guide them and teach them, I also respect who they are and who they are not.

    • {Kathy} It can be sad…especially when I have recognized that I am doing this myself. I swear it took until I was in my 40s to let go of some of these tendencies. I think older moms have an advantage here.

    • {Kathy} Good to see you dear! We are glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Beautiful and wise, as always. As a young mother I believed it was my job to control my children and help them become the people I thought they should be. Now that I’m older I see my job differently. Now I teach them self-control and consequences (which I let them experience). And I encourage them to figure out what they want and who they want to be. Then I encourage them in whatever way I can. I can’t make them happy. I can only love and support them. And I can show them how I learned to be in charge of my own happiness.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • {Kathy} Your statement about making your children happy is so true. We can influence how they view the world, but we can’t control their choices. The love of a mother is strong, however. We must remember that we have an important role in their lives that can’t be replaced by someone else.


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i’m melinda


I’m a woman who was radically changed when the God I thought I knew since childhood opened my eyes to the overwhelming depth of His love for me. I love speaking, writing, and pointing women to the Father so they can experience for themselves the healing power of His incredible, captivating love.

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