Dear Mom Who Didn’t Get It Right

Dear Mom Who Didn’t Get It Right,

So, you had a bad week.  Me, too. 

I planned to do all kinds of creative, wonderful, amazing enriching things with my kids, to make them better, more well rounded adults… and I ended up counting “Imagination Movers” as cerebral entertainment because ten million things came up in our hassled, hurried, and harried days and it gave me ten minutes to do what needed to be done.  (And the Imagination Movers are a lot of things, but cerebral is most definitely not one of them.)

I planned on organizing their rooms so that they’d be models of neatness and efficiency… and ended up shoving things in drawers, in under the bed boxes, and in giant Rubbermaid tubs in their closets, just to spare us all from lodging Barbie high heels and Legos into our feet.  (It was time to remedy this problem, as Wes had started preaching on it from the pulpit.)

I planned on cooking delicious, healthy meals to both improve their nutrition and to save money… and ended up in the drive thru line at McDonald’s because there was no milk in the fridge at home, no time to cook the chicken, and no energy left to coerce them to eat just one bite of veggies.  (And I counted it as the provision of God that I found a ten dollar bill at the bottom of my purse to pay for that bountiful feast of Happy Meals.  Blessed be, y’all.)

I planned on leading both girls through Bible stories, Scripture memorization, and prayer time with Mommy… and ended up with no time to explain some of the questions they had from their own reading because I’d made a fourteen mile run a priority over fourteen minutes of studying God’s Word with them.  (“Why does the Bible talk about dogs eating their own vomit?”  Because they do.  I present to you Charlie Faulk.)

I planned on being an example of grace, humility, and compassion… and ended up standing in the kitchen on the phone, griping loudly and obnoxiously about things that shouldn’t bother someone who is such a great example of grace, humility, and compassion.  (I have so not arrived, y’all.)

I planned on making this week great… and ended up making it a big, huge fail.

Was yours as bad as this?  Or am I making you feel better by showing you how bad you DIDN’T have it?  If the latter is true, you’re so welcome, friend.  Anytime!

But if the former is even more true, let me offer you some encouragement.  You’re a screw up.  Really, you are.  I am, too.  We ALL are.  And your darling children, who you want to be your best for?  They’re screw ups, too.  It’s okay.  Weeks like this one are OKAY.  Really.  They are.

I’m not saying we should glory in our ineptitude or that we should never try to be better, to do better, or attempt better for our kids, but if your life isn’t Pintrest perfect or brag-worthy for Facebook or whatever else is out there (I’m kinda out of the loop on these things), you have a golden opportunity to teach and model grace for your kids.  Grace towards them and grace towards yourself.  Mommy’s a huge screw up sometimes, but isn’t God good because He loves her anyway?  Isn’t God good because He wants to make Mommy new in Him?  Isn’t God good because He is everything that Mommy can’t be?

He is.  He is SO GOOD.

I ended this week on Ana’s bed, internally bemoaning my failures as a mother. (If you’re getting a little deja vu reading this, it’s because I’ve done it before.  Back when she was sleeping in a toddler bed, y’all, back when she put her chubby hands on my face and said, “Jesus wuv you, Mommy.”  Praise God, He did and He does.)  Emma was, as she usually is, attempting to put all of her appendages on me as Ana sat up and watched me critically.

“So,” Ana said, her thinking cap clearly on, her mind far from my issues, “Charlie eats what he throws up.”

Dogs.  Vomit.  The Bible.  Of course.

“Yes,” I said.  “It’s disgusting.  But it’s a great metaphor.  And so, so true.  As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”

“What does that mean?”

I sighed.  “It means that when you make a mistake, you should move on.  You shouldn’t keep on bemoaning the fact that you made the mistake.  And you shouldn’t make the mistake again.  Because returning to your mistake again and again is like a dog returning to his nasty, gross vomit.”  I looked over at her.  “Does that make sense?”

“Yeah,” she said, satisfied with this. “I like that.”

I smiled, thinking on the week I’d had and how it was, in large part, vomit.  And how returning to it and repeating it would be foolishness.  And how it’s just as foolish to continue to beat myself up because I couldn’t be everything I tried to be.

I sighed as Ana watched me.  “God’s Word is good.  And He’s good to give it to us.”

“He loves us,” she affirmed, confident in this, above everything else.

As I thought on this, I reminded myself that being who I am in Christ is less about getting it right and more about trusting the One who always gets it right.

I’m confident of this, and you should be, too, Mom Who Didn’t Get It Right — there’s grace for our foolishness, grace to be better than we are during one spectacularly bad week, and grace to trust God to be who only He can be. 

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