Archive for the 'The Imperfect Mamas Club' Category
“I know a Pretend Mama,” announced the four-year-old over peach pie and ice cream.
“Who is a Pretend Mama?” I asked, wondering what in the world sparked this thought.
Pointing to me with a sticky finger and a smile, “You are,” she answered.
“Me?” I queried back, momentarily stumped.
“Yep,” said this pint-sized daughter of mine, and arranged another spoonful of ice-cream and peaches.
I couldn’t help myself. “Then who is the Real Mama?” I asked in a casual voice, hoping it didn’t betray my keen interest in the answer.
Again the sticky finger pointed at me, “You,” she confirmed, unaware, it seemed, of the catch-22 she’d just created. If I were the pretend mama, I could not, in fact, be the Real Mama. And if I was the Real Mama, I could not possibly be the Pretend Mama. Further investigation seemed necessary.
“So I’m the Pretend Mama and the Real mama?” she nodded, her attention, at this point, narrowing toward her bowl. “But how can I be both?”
With the confidence of Ann Landers answering the great problems of the world in a few paragraphs, she explained, “You’re a mixed-up Mama.”
I waited a few moments for further explanation but she seemed to be done with this session of psychoanalysis, so I left her to the last soupy bites of ice cream.
How did she know, I wondered?
Do they all know, I pondered further?
Maybe the fact that I am both a Pretend and Real Mama is the white elephant in the room that we lift up and dust under on chore days. Maybe we’ve all silently agreed that it will be our little secret.No comments
My own Momma’s day was lovely. It began with chocolate chip pancakes in bed. You would think that might be the height of the day and it could only go down from there, but the day soared.
From my twelve year old I received a poem. Not too long ago she wrote a poem about herself entitled “The Shape of Me”, and it perfectly descibed the inner heart of my oldest child. Here’s the poem she wrote for me (she says it’s just a draft, but I like it just the way it is):
The Shape of Momma
She is full of squiggly ideas,
waiting for the time to share them.
She is a gentle tangle,
reaching for everyone at one time.
She is a sculptor,
into beautiful works of art.
As a Momma I often feel like I’m seen only as the “food dispenser” person, the “drive me to that place” person, the “has to say no” person. This poem reveals that as she watches me in the daily tasks of motherhood she sees a woman striving for grace, love, and beauty. It’s a gift to be seen as the Momma I aim to be, if only a glimpse.
My ten year old gave me a handmade card with a list of things we do together that are special to her, like reading favorite books, doing art together and snuggling. Again, the gift is letting me know that I get some things right. There are plenty of days when I go to bed full of doubt.
My 8 year old boy gave me hugs and kisses. His expressions of love are always accompanied with full-body force and heart.
My 4 year old daughter began wishing me “Happy Mother’s Day” on Saturday and repeated the sentiment with sincerity and smiles at least 14 more times by Sunday afternoon. She left a small pot of roses outside of the bathroom door for me to find, and as she said goodnight she told me, “I enjoy you”. We also had a little date to the park and a bite of ice cream.
And together, they all gave me this little natural habitat of beauty.
Most days I think about the hard parts of being a momma, today I was reminded that it is a privilege and a gift just to be with these fantastic, miniature human beings.
”So, do you feel ready to go write your play now?” my husband asked me on the last morning of Hutchmoot.
“No,” I answered. ”I’m not going to write any play for a week, a month, 3 months, could be a year.”
I went to Hutchmoot to crack my dreams wide open. At a Gathering held within the walls of stories, I would learn how to tell mine. I’ve been dreaming of how to tells stories for years now, while living out the dark and the light of my own.
Then Phil Vischer ruined everything.
As he talked of Big Ideas and Jellyfish, I realized that my dreams had a whole lot to do with adding to my worth, and the outcome (which had to be Excellent by my standards) of any artisitic endeavors were too important to me. In the past few months I’ve even tried to step out before the last painful chapters in one thread of my life and begin to mold the events into a genre I can hand to others. I can’t experience God in my story when I’m trying to write it.
I left Hutchmoot with my dreams cracked open, but what I found inside surprised me. I need to give these to God, I thought to myself, and wait to see if He hands them back.
A time of dream fasting began.
After Hutchmoot: Day 1
8:30am: I rise from my bed with noble intentions. Death to my dreams.
9:30am: At the breakfast table I look around for familiar faces. I don’t see a budding filmmaker, a man in a spacesuit, a Broadway actor who knows his theology, or a red-haired beauty who surrounded me with familiar ink-laden friends a few a days ago.
My mother, who’s in town because she graciously watched all four of our kids, has just given the children their 5th and 6th donut in 3 days. I can hear my 7-year-old sugar-loaded son from the kitchen. He’s playing ping-pong in his room, only he’s the ball and the wall is his paddle.
My husband just left for the week.
I will serve them selflessly, I remind myself, I will put the Mooters out of my head.
10:30am: We’re back from the airport, Nana is gone, and I’m the only adult in the house. Responsibility stares at me from every pile of laundry and dirty dish. Good thing I’m setting aside that dream thing. How very practical.
10:45am: I Google a few books from the conference.
11:00am: I get out my watercolors. That’s not dreaming, it’s just a little sketching with color.
11:05am: The 3-year-old has dumped out the water and brushes all over the floor. Her own watercolor project lasts 1.5 minutes.
11:30am: Although sketching ended abruptly, I’ve now forgotten that I planned to take even one week off from planning out my dreams. I think of putting up a board on my bathroom wall (the only available space) for me and my husband to post ideas as we get them, an idea also via Mr. Vischer (not the bathroom wall part).
I’ve already composed the first one in my head, “Could I adapt XXXXXX book into a play?”
11:35am: I’m pulled from my pondering because, by the sounds from the bedroom, three older siblings will soon hurt their 3-year old sister if she knocks down their LEGO village one more time. And these young people seem to think they need something to eat.
I calculate about ten minutes before final impact, so I pick up my copy of Me, Myself, and Bob. I remember the section in his talk on our ‘Groundhog Day lives’ and how God is working through each moment of each mundane act of each day.
This death to my dreams thing is beginning to hurt.
12:00pm: Because there is not a chef at my house to prepare Smoked Pork Loin smothered in Fruit Compote (which led to loud moans of pleasure with each bite just a few days ago), we have macaroni and cheese.
The kids are making a not so pretty transition from Grandma time to Momma’s back in charge. Momma’s transition isn’t so pretty either.
I’m becoming a deranged picture from one of those flap books that has pages of foreheads and eyes on the top, with different noses in the middle, and different mouths at the bottom. The goal is to mix up the pictures to find the craziest combination of features. I have Rabbit ears and eyes on the top, a momma nose and cheekbones, and I’m not sure yet about the last flap.
The next five hours: A blur of normal activity, with some snotty kleenexes added in for good measure (theirs, not mine).
8pm: I’m putting my 3-year-old down to bed but I’m really thinking about writing this post.
“No, mommy, sing to me down here,” she pulls me from the edge of her toddler bed to a leaning position inches from her face. The lights are off, but she has a nightlight in her hand so we can see each other’s eyes in the dim green glow of a Toy Story alien since she’s holding it close to my forehead.
She holds her hand on my cheek while I sing her most popular request:
“I love you Lord and I lift my voice
to worship you, O my Soul, rejoice
Take Joy my King, in what you hear
let it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.”
9:52pm: Silence settles into the house. Another idea appears in a small square on the bathroom wall.
Dreams don’t die in one day.
Warning: Not everything that you are about to read is true. (A full confession is available at the end of the post.)
I may have spoken rashly yesterday about the challenges of a three year old.
Not rashly, but, one-sided, maybe?
Yesterday, I mentioned that I do not find it easier to train up my fourth 3 year old, even though one would think that I had amassed some knowledge and experience from the years with her older siblings.
Today I’ll concede that there are aspects of raising the current 3 year old that are different, because of the ones who came before her.
It’s easier, now, to laugh at the outrageous acts of a Very Small Person.
Well, we laugh secretly, the kids and Mr. Darcy and I, so she doesn’t think we think what she does is funny. Make sense?
I took these moments a little too seriously the first few go-arounds with my other three year olds.
Example of recent outrageous act and the follow-up secret laughter.
I pass by Very Small Person’s room.
Small Person calls out, “I didn’t eat anything.”
I pause, retract my steps and turn to look at the Person-Who-Didn’t-Eat-Anything.
Oozing around the outside of her mouth is fresh, moist chocolate.
I breathe deeply and go in.
“What did you eat?” I ask Small Person.
“I didn’t eat anything,” she repeats with eyes the size of birthday balloons.
I take stock of the room, a room shared by the Person-Who-Didn’t-Eat-Anything and her two older sisters. I head toward the closet.
“I ate some of Mookie’s bunny,” her confession ushers out fast and worried.
I locate the now empty box that originally contained a solid milk chocolate bunny the size of my hand.
Evidence seems to show that the entire bunny has been consumed by the Small Person and the older sister is not going to think it’s funny.
Looking with one last hope under piles of clothes and toys for the plastic insert, I find the plastic and 95% of the chocolate bunny still intact, thrown hastily aside by the Person-Who-Did-Not-Eat-Anything.
I turn to my Dear Small Person and see that in her chocolately hands she’s holding up a new shirt retrieved from her drawer, “I like this shirt better, Mama.”
At my feet I also spot the t-shirt worn previous to the non-eating event and realize it’s been thrown off because there’s chocolate on it.
The giggles have been gathering together and now lay beneath my surface like a rocket balloon about to be released.
I try a composed statement, “Honey, you can’t eat your sister’s Easter bunny.”
The words come out but some of the giggles spill out too.
This isn’t working. I leave her in her room with the gate on and run out to tell her sister. Once her big sister is assured that only a quarter inch of solid bunny was “not eaten”, we release the giggles into the open (out of ear shot of the guilty party).
I breathe and collect myself and put on my stern mommy face. I go and talk to Small Person about the seriousness of eating other’s people’s chocolate bunnies. And I take her in to apologize to her big sister.
Strangely Mookie keeps her back to us as the Small Person apologizes, her big sister shoulders bounce up and down, dancing with mirth. She gives a muffled, “You’re forgiven.”
The ability to laugh derives from a realization that most of these outrageous moments will pass.
Over time we’ll teach her about respect, and obedience and lying (sometimes we’ll do a better job than other times), but she will not always behave exactly like this. It helps to have already seen a little further down the road.
Confession of the Untrue Parts:
When I wrote this it felt entirely true. The bunny story is true, as is the general principal that I can laugh more easily eleven years into mamahood. But as I wrote this post and my three year old remained awake in her bed at 11pm, many hours after the laughter had petered out and the tired, zoned out phase (of the parents) arrived, what I was trying to capture in words felt less true. Yes, perspective gives way for laughter and laughter releases some tension. But right now it also seems true that fifteen more years of experience wouldn’t make this season, albeit temporary, any less exhausting. Sometimes I can laugh, sometimes nothing seems funny at all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go talk to a Very Small Person who is still awake in her bed.
I can’t end the three year old stories here, however.
Because with the rather inconvenient demand for total independence by a Very Small Person, also comes unclipped Curiosity, Joy, and Love.
Next time, I’ll tell some absolutely true stories about that.
To catch the first past in this three part series, click here.
“Squishy, you can’t open your sister’s mints.”
“You can’t pour the gallon of milk by yourself.”
“Yes, you have to stay buckled in your carseat.”
“Don’t hit your 11 year old sister.”
“Don’t scream when I tell you ‘no’.”
“No you can’t use the computer.”
“Your baby did not tell you to play with the scrub brush in the toilet.”
“No, you can not put hydrocortisone cream on by yourself.”
We’re in the season of The-Three-Year-Old.
In theory it seems like my fourth 3 year old would be easier than my first. In theory.
In reality my first three year old only had me as her authority during the day. Squishy, on the other hand, has one Mama authority multiplied by three brothers and sisters telling her “no, don’t touch my playmobiles” or “no, don’t touch the tv controller” all day long. Which leads to screaming.
With my first, I had one focus and that was her heart. With Squishy, I’m homeschooling three students and teaching multiple hearts.
Plus, the siblings perfrom all of the forbidden acts-computer time, fixing their own food, playing with off-limit toys, dangling independence in front of her growing heart.
Four-thirty arrives and I’m done. D-O-N-E.
(Did I mention she hasn’t been napping? And I suddenly feel an urgent need for a nap myself?)
But it’s still two hours before help arrives in the form of Mr. Darcy, super-father and husband.
That’s when I abandon the list in my head that remains unchecked next to “afternoon chores” and “start dinner”.
Instead I collect my sketchbook, art supplies, and the three year old (aka, One-Who-Is-Currently-A-Danger-To-Herself-and-Others) and head outside.
The chaos dims.
Pen and paint bring rhythm and order to my page.
And seeps into my heart.
And until the call of household duties rises above the calming tune of “me” time, I make art.
And so does she.
God shaped my heart to find peace and joy through creativity.
Some mamas find their peace when they go to the Y for an hour to exercise by themselves.
What about you? How did God make your heart? If you don’t know, give yourself permission to find out. Your check-off list will be there when you get back.
Daughter works on an art assignment.
I hear Daughter slam hands on the table and utter a low, gutteral animal sound that rises into high soprano.
I breathe deeply and head into the room.
“What’s the problem?”
“I can’t do it.”
“What’s the exact problem that you’re frustrated by?”
“All of it. I want to quit.”
“Remember the last time you were frustrated with an assignment and you pushed through and kept working and you ended up with something you really liked. Don’t give up. Keep going.”
I help with any specifics if she’ll let me.
I leave the room. More indigested lion sounds from the school room.
Later, after she’s successfully pushed through, she comes looking for me with a smile she’s trying to hide.
“This is great work Mookie.” I continue, “Even more than sketching skills or math skills or grammar, the skill of pushing through a problem and not giving up is a skill that will carry you a long way.”
Repeat scenario for said daughter and her sibilings and subsitute trying to read, trying to sharpen a pencil(!), or any other daily challenge in our house.
Now replace the child with the Mama.
Low, guttural sounds emanate from my throat. Arghhhhhhhh.
“I want to quit,” I said to my husband tonight.
“What’s the exact problem?”
“Honey!” I exclaim.
“Parenting. Homeschooling. Respect. 11 year old girls who think they are 13. Attitudes. Being the taskmaster all day long. All-of-it.”
And of course I see myself as my daughter looking at her impossible assignment.
She doesn’t have the ability to quit, she has to do it.
I can’t quit parenthood.
Not completely, but there are ways I could quit trying to be the Mama I really want to be. Take an easier road that would make my kids happier now (which means more peace for me), but not more disciplined or loving in character later.
But there’s a chance, if I don’t give up, I’ll find something that I’m happy with from my work at the end of it.
Oh my, but it’s hard.
The Lord has used Mamahood for His sanctification in me and I’m facing part of that now: I actually have to act out for myself, the lessons that I teach.
Today, the lesson is pushing through.
I sit in the bathtub and try not to think.
Which means I think about everything that I don’t want to think about.
I think about
the late hour of the morning when we all woke up
and the fighting that ensued seconds later.
I think about
the groaning over chores and school
and the rising anger in my mama/teacher self.
“Gentle,” I heard the whisper earlier that day.
I think about the tears (mine were on the inside)
and the straw on the camel’s back when we realized that the toddler had consumed a tin of mints
while we were all breaking down.
I thought about the yelling (mine, and not on the inside)
and hours later when we got locked out of the house
and there was a boy preparing to throw up in the back seat.
“Gentle,” I heard the call as I continued head long in the opposite direction.
I think about the days my mom messed up
and how often the next day a present showed up on the kitchen table.
She was speaking her love language even though it left me wanting at the time.
How can I make it up to them, I wonder?
But the warm water and solitude
pull me under to a temporary state of semi-sleep
and I decide that’s better than remembering
what I don’t want to remember.
Finally I reach for a towel with my wrinkled fingertips and
attempt to get out of the bath, without a flood of thoughts.
But we know how that went already.
Since the flood won’t stop, I pour my day out to my husband.
Then I open my devotional and read the first line,
“IT’S ALL RIGHT TO BE HUMAN…” (it was written in all caps on the page itself)
My foggy heart grasps at those words.
It is? Can it really be okay that I messed up today?
And then I recall an echo of my pastor from a few days ago
when he said “Remember, you’re human.”
I hold this idea tentatively, the possibility that my mistakes of the day
might not be a reason for such condemnation.
I look up a verse from the devotional.
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me..I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Again the possibility that my weakness, rather than being a reason to put on shame, is actually for the purpose of sending me and all the kids to Christ who is perfect, who is patient, who is constant and never-changes, who is slow to anger, who is love.
A few years ago I began to realize that I didn’t need to measure my idea of perfect parents side by side to my actual parents and try to define the size of the gap. Instead I began to see that my mom and dad were never supposed to be perfect because they were human. I even allowed that those holes were probably purposefully left there so that I couldn’t experience perfect love from anyone but my (heavenly) Father. A rather astounding idea after years of playing, “what if..” with my childhood, assuming that my kids would inevitably play the same game and enter counseling sometime in their life (still a prime possibility).
And now I know the gift my kids need, not a box to place on the kitchen table, but for their hearts. They need the arrow that my weakness and their weakness both point to-they need the gift of the Lord. I’ll tell them, “I’m going to love you more than I can ever put into words, you are my treasures. But I will always make mistakes. The Lord, however, loves you perfectly, patiently, gently, and his love will never change, he will always be constant. When I let you down, or a friend, or the world, or when you let yourself down, look to the Lord, rather than lingering on the weakness of others (and yourself). In my weakness, the Lord is made strong.”
I sit with these truths for several minutes before I read the rest of the verses from the day’s devotional.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”(1 peter 3:3)
So the earlier whispers were also true. God is reminding me of His grace and also still leading me toward transformation.
But if I can walk in His grace rather than the lie of condemnation I can also believe in His power to change me daily. Sometimes the change comes from falling flat on my face.
There is a mystery. We are completely forgiven (it only needed to done once through Christ’s blood) and yet we’re still being made into His image in the midst of grumpy kids and our own sinful hearts day by day.
A mystery that could also be called, a gift.
Welcome to our girls only weekend.
With three extraordinary girls, that’s quite a treat.
It all began with a game night and the perfect, gooey chocolate chip cookies shared with their Aunt.
Saturday morning brought pajamas until eleven and this spur of the moment photo shoot.
I didn’t make a grocery list, plan school, or do anything else required on a normal saturday.
I did make homemade applesauce.
And we all tasted a persimmon for the first time. Standing in the middle of a small grove of trees brimming with petite orange fruits, we peeled the skin and ate the insides, looking up at what I imagined to be dozens of tiny pumpkins dangling on the branches above us.
Our final girls’ night included a dinner of butternut squash lasagna, sauteed kale, some of that fresh applesauce, and good friends (girls only, of course). Mix in a classic movie, way too much popcorn, and another late night.
At some point I recognized a strange feeling called being relaxed. I haven’t felt it in a while, but it suits me just fine. The constant smiling, the looking at my kids not just as a set of tasks to make sure we accomplish, the staying present in the moment.
Now that I have the feeling, maybe I can find it easier the next time-with a little help from my girls.
The Setting: The swing at the park
“How old is your daughter?” asked the portly but athletic gentleman in the baseball cap two swings over. I’d already noticed a few glances our way, but I knew the glances had nothing to do with me. His eyes traveled eagerly from my daughter to the similiarly sized pink and braided toddler of his own. For a new parent, seeing a child within a sixth month age range of his own is the golden chance to compare achievements (can he walk, talk in a full sentence?) and stats (height, weight, bottle or sippy cup). I could see him mentally rubbing his hands together.
“Two and half years,” I answered compliantly, “and yours?”
“She just turned two,” he paused as the swings squeaked on and then, “Your daughter’s really doing great on that swing.”
He looked down at his own daughter, tucked safely into one of the enclosed toddler swings, while mine sailed toward the sky on a “big-girl swing”.
Seeing his dismay, I tried to reassure him, “She has older brothers and sisters and she tries to do everything like them. My first child didn’t swing on this kind at two and she definitely didn’t go as fast.”
Hearing the word fast, my Squishy yelled out, “Faster, Mommy!!”
I pushed her into higher gear and I heard, “Wow, that’s high,” from the Dad and then, “Honey, look at this little girl, don’t you want to try one of those swings?”
Obviously my attempt to reassure had crashed and failed and I cringed as I pictured his already tired wife when they got back home to her. “Honey, we saw this other two year old and she could swing much better. We better work on it….”
After a few minutes we went in search of the siblings and eventually ran into the Dad and daughter on the slide.
“So is she potty-trained and all that?” his tone working to sound casual as his eyes narrowed in on the smooth lines of Squishy’s shorts as opposed to the bulk of his daughter’s sweatpants.
Thinking of his wife, I tried hard to lower the bar. “Well, yes she is mostly potty trained, but only because she wanted to, and probably because she sees her brothers and sisters go all the time. She’s not like any of my other children,” and just in case there was still wiggling room I added (truthfully), “My others were older, closer to three. With our first we started trying at two and potty trained her for the next year.”
He tucked this away for a later analysis and switched focus, “Samantha, look at this little girl, look how she can climb the slide, don’t you want to climb the slide too?”
And a few minutes later it was time for us to gather the stragglers and head home.
It’s too bad we didn’t run in to him at Trader Joe’s today. If his eyes had followed us through the store he would have found one pink croc on Squishy’s left foot and one black mary jane with a purple sock decorating the other foot. Then, later, he could have celebrated with his wife, “At least our daughter knows how to match her shoes, and she’s six months younger!”
For myself, I had counted the cost of fighting the mismatched shoes (which I knew would be noticed and judged in favor or against by other grocery shopping mamas) with the foreknowledge that eventually she would match her shoes, just like every other child. So for today we went with mismatched shoes and some fly by-the-seat-of-your-pants swinging.
First, the birthday card from my children last week included a proverb about gray hair, based, I will add, on their actual observation of the silver weaving through my brown.
Second, as we crossed the college campus last week for choir, my four ducks in a row behind me, I realized we were walking through Freshman Week. Food, beach balls, inflatable slides, and young, pink, new adults spread out like a new crop of awkward saplings. I walked the campus as an invisible woman (I know I was non-existant because I didn’t even glance at people who were married with children when I was freshman). And yet the memories of my first week at college danced across my thoughts, rising with every sense of smell and taste and color. And then I did a little math to recall the year of those memories and I couldn’t help but think, “I’m so old!”
And a final, third reminder in this month of my birthday arrived through a sweet nurse that takes care of my Dad.
“I’m getting married in three weeks!” she announced with flushed cheeks.
“How old are you?” I asked after a few other comments.
“Twenty four,” she answered. ”I’ve been living with my parents and now I have to go live with a boy!” She exclaimed with equal parts excitement and concern.
After, as I sat with my Dad, my mind traveled through the decade that stood between the nurse and myself.
That’s a lot of life, I thought. Lessons of love, losing and finding identity as a parent and wife, unexpected surgeries with our second child, the six years of caring for my Dad, becoming a teacher-that’s a lot of life and lot of journey.
Oh, I realize to anyone who’s older than me, I sound like a baby mewling. But for now I can only talk about my thirty four years and more specifically the last ten or so.
I’m thankful for the wisdom gained through experience and it makes parenting our fourth child much less stressful. But there is pain in knowing that I can’t go back and apply anything I’ve learned to the early years. I have to accept all of the mistakes and the hurt I’ve lived and caused during the learning of the lessons.
But I still go there.
What if I had known more about God’s grace when my first born was two? What if I had snuggled her more and dumped the books in the garbage?
What if I had known, in the early years of our second child, that each child would be different and therefore, need different parenting?
What if I had been less angry?
What if we had seen different doctors, asked different questions, been at the hospital more in the spring of 2010, could we have kept my Dad from disappearing before our eyes?
There are both gifts and pain in knowledge.
A few weeks ago I listened to an older friend. A friend with a decade and a half added on to my 34 years. A friend, who now in the peak years of teenage parenting, is learning the difficult lessons that she knows will help her parent child three and four differently but can do nothing to prevent the hard road that has begun with her eldest son.
I received her words as an early birthday gift.
“I don’t spend time second-guessing and wondering how I could have done things differently. I’ve never struggled with that. I know that almost every day of my life I’ve gotten up and given my very best to the day with what I had at the time. And that’s enough.”
On the drive home from my Dad, the what-ifs fill my mind, louder than the radio meant for distraction. And as I look at the treasure of my eldest daughter: beautful on the outside, filled with gems of love and God inside, I worry “what if I had….?”
On the good days I can stop myself and think:
On all of the days I was making mistakes and laying the ground for the wisdom I’ve gained, I was doing the best, always giving the most I had to give with what I had. Yes, the effort was broken, because I am broken, but I was giving my best effort. And that’s enough.
All of the empty spaces I’ve left in my family are the ones that God will need to come in and fill, just as He’s doing in my own empty spaces.
On those other days, the almost days where I may have gotten out of bed but my heart, my mind, my prayers, my hope all stayed under the covers, I have real regrets and I made big mistakes. So how do I answer to the days that I can’t say I tried my best? I can only let God answer, the same answer He’s given me through friends, through my husband, through His word:
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1)
Do you feel the peace and grace trying to edge in?