Imperfect Mother

Follow Me, son, I believe in you!

I have now been through almost all the stages of motherhood… and most coincide with terms of service on the missionary field.  
Deputation: two miscarriages
First term:  first two boys born less than twenty months apart
Second term: found out was pregnant with third boy days before leaving the States
Third term: start of real homeschooling
Fourth term: all boys in teens, some rough times
Fourth Furlough: oldest will graduate
I have read every book there is about raising children, raising boys and now every book imaginable about raising teens.  I've heard and given messages about being the perfect mother...

I've finally come to realize in this latest stage of my life that there are no perfect mothers on this planet at this time...

But there are women redeemed by the Grace of God, cleaned up from the imperfections of this life by the power and blood of Jesus Christ's act on the cross...

These women can live with integrity, striving to do right, always pressing toward that mark of perfection we can see and know in God's Word.

Below are the main points of the Mothers' Day message I will bring to two churches groups while here on furlough in 2014.


The F.B.I. Agent Mother

Introduction:  When my boys were young during our first term of service in the country of Brazil, I had to wear a wide variety of hats...

Since just hopping over to the doctor can be rather complicated in a foreign country:
I've treated scorpion bites, dealt with head lice, learned how to remove hookworms from feet and learned how to speak "medicine" in Portuguese through trial and error at drugstores, clinics and hospitals, learning things that no language school teacher would ever have time to teach a student.

I've chased down thieves who ran off with toys from the front yard and chased down others who ran off with bikes from the front porch. I've dished out the authority in my home among fighting boys and been judge, jury and jailor.

I've had to put out some real fires - once a yard boy set fire to brush in the backyard and I had to call the boys to come help stomp it out!  Thankfully I don't recall any fires that my boys set!

As the mother of teen boys, the past year has found me playing over and over again the role of an F.B.I. detective {put on fbi ball cap}...

as I've had to chase down facts, chase down boys, and investigate stories to see who's telling the truth and who's not.  I don't think God really intended mothers to have to wear this hat.  It's not always a positive role to play as a mother.  What teen boy wants a mother who is a spy watching everything he does, lying in wait for the next bad move?  None! 

In an effort to change my hat as the mother of emerging young men - I want to be known for three important things before my boys leave my home.  The three qualities all start with the letters of my pretty pink F.B.I. hat.  Listen carefully today as we are about to discuss three things that might make the difference in the future relationship of you and your child, no matter what their age today.

We're going to start with the last letter first, the letter "I."

"I" is for Integrity.
Think about that first stage of parenting.  Christian fathers and mothers all ready to raise up perfect little children.  They take their baby to be dedicated in front of the church.  They take them faithfully to Sunday School each week and VBS each summer.

But by the time kids reach the teen years many parents begin to slip a little.  Teens are running here and there, both parents are working, they are older and tired, and our original intentions of doing everything just so and just right get a little out of whack.

What is Integrity?

Proverbs 20, verse 7 says
 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
It's defined as honesty, forthrightness, having principles and standards
Parents can hide a lot of  personal "dishonesty" from toddlers, but you can't hide the fact that you are not really sick from teens and just aren't getting up to go to Sunday School one Sunday.  
As parents we must keep on, keeping on in the area of INTEGRITY.  Our teens and adult children have to see that we are still living up to the Christian standards upon which our homes were started.  And just like the verse, Proverbs 20:7 says, in doing so, our children will be blessed.  We will be their examples as they get set to go out into the world.  They will know that they can trust their parents.  They will know what to expect from Mom and Dad.

What part of speech is "integrity?"  It's a noun.  But I'm here to tell you today that it's an action word and action words are VERBS.

We have to do, do, do - Integrity - all our lives.  We can't just sit back and hope our children catch it somehow.  We have to actively DO it.  Teens know when we are not living the life we preach.

"So how do we "INTEGRITY"?  Well, here are some suggestions that I found on a website about Integrity in business:
1.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.
2.  Only make realistic promises and then follow through on them.
3.  Be consistent in living a life that aligns with your principles.
4.  Do not practice deception and manipulation.
5.  Be honest about your limitations.
6.  Truly care about the people you serve.

I recently shared this list with one of my teen sons.  These are hard things to be held accountable for.  But they are a good summary of biblical integrity.  In living out a good Christian life, I can show my children HOW to live, not just WHAT to live.

Sadly many teens will break our rules, challenge our integrity and break our hearts…
That's where F comes in, it stands for   

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Colossians 3:13 
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Forgive them when they come in at all hours of the night
Forgive them when they turn off their cell phone so they don't have to answer
Forgive them when they burst out in anger when you say they can't spend the night at that friend's house

As teens, young adults and adult children outside of the home frustrate our lives with their choices, we have to remind ourselves over and over and over that we love the person even if we do not condone the action of that person.

As when we spanked or punished our toddlers and then immediately gave them a hug and a kiss, we have to keep on giving out the consequences with love.  The bigger the kid gets the harder it is to remember that their actions are not AGAINST us but a result of their own choices.

WHY?  Because as official agents of God here on earth, our task, the end result of our work as Christian parents is to bring our children to a lifetime commitment to God.  We show the way to a good Christian life through INTEGRITY in own lives and we show the way to the cross through a constant sense of love and forgiveness in our home.

Some children will not accept our faith, our integrity, our example - but we still have to show the way to forgiveness with God by our love and concern.

Eeek, Michele, but I thought if I did everything right, God would make sure all my kids and good and honest and in church.  Sorry, friends, but each one of us must remember that salvation is personal.  Some children may not accept our faith.  Forgiveness and Integrity in the home provide the path for our kids to come back.  Young mothers - don't be fooled, your child may not become a Christian, or "stay" a Christian.

What about that old verse?

Proverbs 22:6   Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
How many people here know someone who grew up in a Christian home and departed?

Did the mother not lead an integral life, no forgiveness in the home?

I don't have all the answers as to WHY?  But I do have the last letter on my FBI hat!   "B"

"B" is for BELIEVE
Believe indicates trust
Trust that you have taught them well and now they will follow God, or not.  The choice is theirs.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.


But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.

We have to believe that all our prayers, our integral living, our love and forgiving attitude will turn our children's hearts always to Christ. 

Some may leave our homes ready to serve the Lord, some may leave glad to get away.  Regardless, we must always trust and believe that our children's spiritual destiny is in God's mighty hands.  We must believe with confident hope.
I have three boys:
one seems ready to be missionary
one seems on his way to a music minister position or missionary
one seems lost and wandering  

I have to trust that God will do his work in His time in the lives of EACH ONE even when the days are rough and long and sometimes the nights are weary.

So today I wear my FBI hat, a gift from my youngest, Greyson.

Let the letters remind you as a mother of children of any age:
to Forgive, forgive, forgive
to Believe, believe, believe
and to live with Integrity.


  1. What an interesting way to present your life story. This is not the end of the story; may not even be the middle. Only God knows. Trusting Him to bring us through is not easy, esp. during the challenges. And we will persevere! The integrity part is basic to the other points. Thank you for sharing your life with me. -Vicki


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