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To Moms Who Feel Like Failures

146075080_d17392cda9_oThis winter was the hardest winter our family has experienced in the past six years.

Having lost our income for several months to becoming unexpectedly pregnant to letting go of a lifelong dream as well as having my best friend be nearly killed by a drunk driver, I had hit a new low as a wife, mom, and friend.

The problem with hitting a new low, however, is that life must go on. I still have to take care of our children, I still have to be a wife, and I even have to take a shower now and then.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the state of our home throughout winter could have told anyone the state of our family’s life and, especially, my heart.

Our home was disastrous. There was not a clear spot available on either of our dining room or kitchen tables. There were food and crumbs on every available flat surface, including floors, counters, and beds. There was not a clean dish to be found, so mugs became bowls and meals were slurped down when no clean utensils were available. Our couch became a storehouse for all laundry, both clean and dirty. The floors? Well, you couldn’t see them due to the toys, strewn about clothes, shoes, and whatever other God-forsaken items to be found.

I had never seen our house so gross. It was depressing, overwhelming, and defeating. I’d start picking up in one area, but when I viewed the home as a whole, you couldn’t even tell that I had picked up at all.

So I felt like a failure, in every sense of the word. I couldn’t take care of our house, I could barely take care of our kids, and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was eating terribly, sleeping terribly, and smelling terribly. And I didn’t know what to do.

Where does one start when everything is so disastrous???

The house looked the way I felt inside. I felt at a loss. I felt broken. I was in a lot of pain. My family and friends knew how broken I was, but there was little they could do. Some friends donated money, others dropped off meals, and we couldn’t have been more grateful. Those acts of kindness gave us glimpses of hope during those dark months.

Only in the past two weeks, have we finally begin to emerge from that dark journey. No longer am I seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m emerging into the light now that we’re exiting the tunnel. And the fresh air that is on this side of the tunnel is breathtaking! I can feel the sun’s warmth on my skin again. I can feel hope bubbling within my chest. I can laugh again and feel stress literally melting from my head, neck and shoulders.

All in time for today: Mother’s Day. A day when people honor their mothers for all the love and work they’ve poured into their families. But for moms like me, Mother’s Day can often remind me of what a failure I’ve been. A reminder of how terrible of a housekeeper I can be, of how short-tempered I am at times, and how emotional I am on a day-to-day basis. I am nothing like the mother I had envisioned myself to be: calm, serene, always smiling, brimming with joy and patience, and a natural at rearing children and homekeeping. I can barely brush my teeth on occasion, much less be stellar at anything else!

So for moms who feel like me, who feel like frauds and failures more often than they’d like to admit, I want to remind you (and me) of something: that how we feel doesn’t need to define who we really are. Just because I feel like a failure doesn’t mean that I am a failure.

Our worthiness is not found in what we do. Our worthiness is found in who we are, and as followers of Jesus, we are his children. His heirs. His everything. He gives us our worth. When we stop believing in our worthiness, we start hustling for it by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving*, and girlfriend, that gets us nowhere. One of our greatest challenges is believing that worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites – that we are worthy right now, no ifs, ands, or buts.

So to the Mom who is reading this right now, I look you in the eye with such love and tenderness and say this to you:

You are so, so beautiful.
Your beauty is not defined by flawless skin and perfect hair and brushed teeth. Rather, your beauty radiates from your worthiness in Christ, and it shines through every cell on your body and in every thing that you do.

You are strong.
So incredibly strong. The energy and love and commitment it takes to raise child(ren) is not for the faint of heart. You get up each morning, you do what you do, and you crash again at night, only to repeat it the next day, and the next day, and the next. You keep going. You keep showing up. Don’t think for one moment you’re weak, for you are strong.

And, sister, you are not a failure! What you get done in the day or don’t get done in the day has no bearing on your worth! You are loved and cherished and accepted and celebrated just as you are,  and you and I are called to live life from that rooted truth. So, sister, you are not a failure. You are victorious. You are valiant. And you are valued. Don’t you forget it.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. A benediction of sorts:

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.

It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” 

From one mama to another, Happy Mother’s Day. You are worthy, indeed, of love and celebration!

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