I’m delighted to share this transparent, gospel-centered piece by Kara Ranck. Kara hosts a blog, The Rock and a Hard Place, filled with testimonies to encourage those enduring seasons of suffering through hope in Jesus.
Before I became a parent, I falsely believed I was perfect. The image of my life in my mental mirror was clean, spotless, and unbroken. My outward life—appearance, career, house, car—seemed put together. My inner life—emotions, spiritual walk, thoughts—appeared under control. Then, I birthed a baby.
First, my emotions spiraled out of control followed closely by my environment. My house became disorganized and not as clean. I pushed pause on my career so I could be home with my child. Sleep eluded me.
As my child got older, a mixture of her independence and sin threatened my control. I soon saw that I still struggled with my emotions, namely anger. My perfection was exposed for what it is—a lie. When I looked back into the mirror, I discovered fingerprints, smudges, and cracks in the glass.
Maybe you are like me and faced a similar realization. Guilt follows closely afterward. And even now, we encounter guilt when we react poorly once again, and our imperfection is exposed. Perhaps we take our child’s behavior as a personal offense and overreact. Then, the guilt comes.
When Everyone Falls Short
What compounds this is the belief in the lie that even if we aren’t perfect, certainly our children will be. We are shocked to discover they are not. We hear their unkind words and see their mean actions. Did they hear me say or see me do such uncaring words and deeds?
We analyze what mistakes we’ve made in our past parenting that would have caused our child to act in such disobedience, selfishness, and rebellion—forgetting they too are born in sin. We feel the weight of nurturing the souls under our care, and therefore, we also feel the burden of our sin when we fail.
Recently, we heard older friends pour out their hearts over poor choices their eighteen-year-old daughter is making, which led her to move out of their home. We felt their sadness and discouragement. What do we say to friends in this difficult situation? Do we suggest they should not dwell on their past mistakes as parents since it does nothing to aid them now?
While I agree that no good comes from wallowing in our guilt, such a sentiment rings hollow. The reality is, we are all going to ponder our past mistakes as parents. When we do, how can we encourage others to get past them? How can we encourage ourselves? What hope can we offer?
When we encounter our failure, or perceived failure, we need to examine it through God’s lens—not our own. We can look at our regrets clearly when we place our thoughts next to God’s truth in Scripture.
Jesus Gives Us His Perfection
We were created in God’s image as a mirror reflection of His likeness. We were formed to be perfect, whole, and glorious.
But Satan deceived us, we followed him in disobedience, and that image was shattered. Our perfection was marred; like a rock hitting a glass mirror, we are fractured into many pieces, unable to repair ourselves.
But God, in His great mercy, takes those pieces and puts them back together through the work of Jesus on the cross.
“…remember this: you have been given the greatest of all graces: Christ himself,” Abigail Dodds says in her book (A)Typical Woman, “His death is your death, his life is your life, his perfections belong to you. And in uniting you to him, he took your sin, your guilt, and your punishment and killed them by dying for them.”
Jesus’s image is perfect, because God is perfect (Colossians 1:15). He obeyed God the Father flawlessly even to death (Philippians 2:7-8). He was the one time, perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins (Hebrews 10:14 ).
When we repent of our sin and trust in Jesus for salvation, God looks at us and sees the perfect reflection of Jesus—our guilt is gone.
Jesus presents us “holy, faultless, and blameless” before God each moment we are alive in Christ—today and for eternity (Colossians 1:22).
Yet, because we are on this side of eternity, awaiting full restoration, we still glimpse the broken mirror that we are. Visualize a two sided mirror—God sees the perfect side, while we see a fractured side that’s glued together.
1 Corinthians 13:12 tells us, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Even while our vision is unclear, He is restoring the cracks in our mirrors, and we are being changed into the image of our Lord through the Holy Spirit’s process of sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The greater miracle is that God shows his glory by reflecting his perfect image in our earthly, cracked mirror. He uses our cracks—our sin—to draw us and others, like our children, to Himself in repentance.
Future Glory Gives Hope Now
One day, our vision will be complete, and we will see from God’s vantage point how we are truly redeemed and restored through the blood of Jesus. We will also see how He redeemed our sin and imperfections to bring Himself glory.
\We will watch in wonder as He restores all of creation, making all things new (Revelation 21:3-5). We will find ourselves face to face with perfection— Jesus himself —and bow humbly before him grateful that He chose to use us, mere jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7).
If perfect parenting produces perfectly behaved children then we are all going to fail. However, if perfect parenting looks like running to the Perfect One—Jesus—then we have the hope of succeeding.
May the Holy Spirit use the reality of our sin and imperfection to lead us to daily repentance, and may we be quick to confess our sin, knowing that God is faithful and just and will forgive our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 ). May we not get weighed down by guilt but be reminded that we are new creations in Christ—the old has gone, and the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
About the Author
Kara Ranck survives daily on God’s grace as she lives and works with her husband and two preschoolers on their family dairy farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Kara curates a blog called The Rock + a Hard Place, a collective site of testimonies telling how God the Rock meets people in their hard places. You can follow on Instagram and Facebook or the blog at https://www.therockandahardplace.com/.