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We have a few mirrors strategically placed throughout the house. Bathroom, bedrooms, even the living room. However, there are two mirrors that I have been particularly aware of recently. They’re smaller; I have to stoop down to see in them fully, in fact. When I stop and look, I see my eyes, my smile, my slightly furrowed brow even though I’m completely content. There are some things that don’t look quite right. My hair isn’t exactly in the right place, or the right color. I don’t remember those dimples being there. But, the closer I look, the more I see what I wish I didn’t:

A snapped answer.

A short voice.

A judgmental word and attitude.

Crossed arms. Pursed lips. Sighs of frustration, discontentment, judgment.

It bothers me and shakes me deep to my core. I scold the reflection, ordering that it straighten up! Treat others with kindness! Overlook shortcomings in others and offer encouragement rather than scorn! Speak with words and tone full of grace, dad gummit! But the more I scold and berate, the more I see the unwanted characteristics emerge. Finally, I realize I’m so upset at what I see because it’s a reflection showing nothing other than what is in me. What I am.

Why I expect my children to exude grace, gratitude, joy, forgiveness under my leadership of lectures, short temper and deep sighs of exasperation is beyond me. They can only reflect what is presented to them.

Just as a mirror can only reflect what is actually on the object in front of it, so it is with my children.

Today I feel particularly defeated in what I have placed in front of my children for them to reflect. I feel a bit exactly like this:

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. Romans 7:15 (the Message translation)

I set out everyday to be the mom I want to be. Full of joy, forgiveness, grace. Someone my children would be proud to reflect; and whom I would be proud to have reflected. And everyday I fall flat on my face. The one thing that keeps me from packing it all in and giving up is that I know that my Father, unlike me, is full of unending grace. He picks me up, dusts me off, helps me see where I could have made better choices, and sends me out to try again. With Him right by my side. Some days (like today) it doesn’t feel like He’s there. My heart might not always realize He’s there, but I know He is. He’s promised it (and proven it) time and time again.

So, as I close this post, I lay my head in my Daddy’s lap, curl up and ask Him yet again to help me.

Wall Mirror Photo Credit Face Photo Credit

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