"I love you, Si."
"I'm sorry for all the bad things I did today, Mama."
"I forgive you, Si. I'm sorry for not being a good mom today."
"Let's pray and ask God to help us to do better tomorrow."
This conversation between my 4-year old and I lingered in my mind for days after it happened.
The burden of guilt weighed heavy on my shoulders long after the prayer was prayed.
You see, "try harder" had been my mantra for as long as I can remember.
If only I could do more to merit God's favor.
If only I could feel successful enough as a mom to erase the guilt of yesterday's sins.
If only I could get my act together then I would find the peace that I was so desperately looking for.
If only, I...
Four years into mothering and I had completely exhausted myself and my efforts.
I couldn't try harder even if I tried.
Fortunately for me, peace would never come as a result of my striving.
My striving was a complete waste of time.
I would never do enough. I would never feel enough. I would never be enough.
A long time ago, Jesus Christ died for my sins of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
He came to do everything I have never done.
He came to do everything I will never do.
He came to be everything I will never be.
He was perfectly patient.
He was perfectly loving.
He was prefect in every way.
Then he died a perfect death.
And in doing so, He took his perfect life and called it mine, if only I would take it.
If only I would trust in His perfect plan.
He never asked me to "do better" or to "try harder."
He asked me to be replaced.
His life for mine.
No strings attached.
He suffered the wrath that my daily sins deserve so that I wouldn't have to.
"I do trust, Lord."
"I do believe."
But sometimes I forget that when God looks down on me at the end of the day He isn't disappointed or disgusted by my behavior.
He doesn't see ugly.
He doesn't give me a new set of rules for tomorrow.
Instead, He sees perfect.
He sees that I have been replaced.
And He opens the door to the prison of guilt that I have locked myself in.
And He sets me free to love Him all the more.
And He offers me extravagant grace that motivates my heart to rely on Him all the more.
There is grace for you, Mama.
Put the rules down.
Trust the one who already followed the rules perfectly.
Let His life cover yours.
Let Him replace you.
Let His love motivate you to love Him all the more.