It was my turn to help in the church nursery. At seven months old, my daughter Everly was by far the youngest one and since she couldn’t yet walk or crawl or even sit up, she required more attention from me. Everly loved to watch the two and three-year-olds, who were literally running circles around her, but she soon started to feel overwhelmed and let out a frustrated cry.
A three-year-old girl knelt in front of her face as I picked Everly up and comforted her with these words: “It’s ok, baby. Your mommy’s got you!” Her scratchy little voice, just learning to form sentences, shook me with its statement of absolute trust. Out of the mouth of babes!
That’s the beauty of toddlers – they call it like they see it. They don’t know how to mince words. They see life in terms of simple truths – truths adults try to complicate. She saw that once the baby’s mother arrived, everything would be all right.
When I found out I was pregnant with Everly, I began listening to countless podcasts on godly motherhood and parenting. I wanted to read every book, blog and Bible verse on mothering to be prepared. I thought I was pursuing good parenting skills, but what I was really pursuing was becoming a perfect mother.
Perfection is a noble, commanded pursuit – Jesus exhorts us in Matthew 5:48 “to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” And Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12 NKJV). Our goal in everything is God’s perfect standard, but it is impossible in our own strength and on this side of heaven.
But my daughter doesn’t need a perfect mother; if she did, God wouldn’t have given her to me. What she needs, as do all our covenant children, is a mother who has “got them.” They need parents who will care for them physically and spiritually, offering them both bread in their high chair and the Bread of Life. They need mothers who strive for perfection – mothers who, when they fall short (over and over), are humble enough to come to their children in repentance and ask their forgiveness. We are to model the truths of Scripture and the Christian life in real time, sacrificially loving them, literally washing their feet. “You shall teach them [God’s commands] diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:8 NKJV).
Instead of looking for another book on parenting to tell us we are doing fine when we fumble, and rather than going through another checklist when we feel inadequate, go to God. Go to God, because “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3 NKJV). The more I pursue the knowledge of God through His revealed Word, the more I can show my baby girl that I’ve got her – because my heavenly Father has me.
Amber Bulk is wife to Peter and mother to 10 month old Everly, with baby #2 due in July. She is on an indefinite hiatus from her work as a veterinary technician and student while she focuses on her child(ren) and home. She enjoys reading and writing as a means of processing her faith and role as a mother. You can connect with her on Facebook and on Instagram @amberbulk.