I opened my dishwasher on a Friday afternoon and my eyes filled with tears. But not for the usual reasons. Not because it melted yet another one of my son’s favorite sippy cups. Not because I was so weary of housework that I barely had enough energy to unload it. Not because I’m a wife and mother of two small children, which meant the burden of most of the household responsibilities fell on me and I was feeling sorry for myself again.
Not this time.
No, this time things were different. This time, my tears were tears of joy…and thanksgiving.
I was emotional over a full dishwasher because it meant things had finally changed. We had one more person at the dinner table where there once was an excruciating void.
My husband had come home.
Just four months earlier, my husband of 14 happy years walked out. I was left alone and confused and betrayed. I was served divorce papers. I was left to care for our children on my own. My heart was shattered. I had been told I wasn’t loved by the one person I loved the most. I had been rejected and abandoned.
But not by my Jesus.
He held my hand and my heart. He whispered promises into my very soul. He sent his people to care for me, encourage me, and pray for me. He comforted my children. He provided our every need. He spoke life and truth to me daily through his word. He told me not to give up.
My husband came back…in fact, he came home with a new light in his eyes and a fire in his spirit.
Jesus had been working in him just as he had been working in me.
God rescued him and made him a new creation. What I heard God whisper as I fell on my face before Him so many times was true. All things are possible through Christ who gives me strength.
It took a battle like that to open my eyes.
I have a different perspective today. God has placed His divine, unconditional love in my heart. He has restored and renewed my marriage and my family. It took the worst experience of my life to change my perspective.
I know now…
A full dishwasher means there have been meals shared on actual plates with conversations and warmth and a sense of family. It means we are blessed with food to eat and more importantly, people to share it with.
Serving my family and loving them as imperfect as they are is a joy, not a burden.
Laundry overflowing means I have a house full of people to love. People who play hard and experience much and have the wrinkles and stains to prove it.
A mess of toys all over my living room floor means I am blessed with children who won’t be children for long, but who find joy and happiness and laughter in my home.
A husband who keeps me awake with his snoring means I share my bed and my heart with someone who has chosen to be there. Someone who continues to choose to be there, no matter how much work it takes to be able to crawl into that bed night after night.
Wives. Mothers. Women. I know many of you today are battling in the trenches facing difficulties in your marriage or with your children, dealing with the busyness of life, the stresses, the fatigue, the worry. I encourage you today…Don’t Give Up! Pray for your family. Fight for them. And…
Strive for a heart like Jesus.
Strive to see and love your family and others the way He sees and loves you.
“God can raise marriages from the dead and He can restore life and purpose to those who have given up. He can forgive and purify the vilest sinner. God’s specialty is raising dead things to life and making impossible things possible. You don’t have a need that exceeds His power.” – Beth Moore
No matter what you are battling today, never give up. Let Him fight for you. He will reward you for your faithfulness because you are His child.
“Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
One of my favorite holidays is Mother’s Day. This is because it’s all about me, and I love celebrating me. I believe that carrying a child in my womb for nine months, giving birth, changing diapers, making lunches, wiping up vomit, and kissing boo-boo’s is deserving of a day of celebration and fanfare. Who’s with me?
So the truth is, I don’t quite feel like I’m Mom of the Year every day. In fact, those moments are few and far between. I, like many of you, struggle with believing that I’m not scarring my children for life. On any given day, I’m battling large amounts of guilt because I feel like I just can’t get this mom thing right. I didn’t put cute notes in their lunch boxes. I didn’t get the laundry done. I forgot about picking up the kite for “kite day” at school and I fed them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Slim-Jims for dinner… Again.
And some days, those are my shining moments, because the real truth is that sometimes, I mess up in far bigger ways. I yell in anger. I stare at my phone, interested in everyone else’s life while ignoring the three little people sitting in my living room. I get distracted and don’t remind them who they are in Jesus and instead, rush through the routine so I can binge watch Parenthood on Netflix. There are days I fail and camp out there, letting feelings of regret, shame, and sadness overwhelm me.
I’m learning that when I fail with my kids, it’s usually because of one of three big reasons. I’m living in fear. I’m dealing with insecurity. Or I’m battling emptiness.
When I’m fearful, I’m actually just failing to trust God with my children. I feel out of control and become paralyzed with fear. So in order to get back the control, I yell or become angry and unkind.
When I’m insecure, it’s most often because I’ve spent way too much time comparing myself to all of the other amazing momma’s around me. Often in my skewed perspective, every other woman is nailing this mom thing and I will never measure up. Therefore the pressure grows and I can’t deal, or I give up altogether.
In addition to these struggles, I often parent on empty. I’m simply not prepared to pour out love, grace and wisdom because I haven’t been spending time with Jesus – the one who pours love, grace, and wisdom into me. Difficult days will come. Hard moments will try me as a mom. I know the truth is that I have to be filled up with the grace of Jesus in order to pour that grace out onto my kids.
So today, I’m speaking hope to you and to myself. There is hope for us mommas who don’t get it right all the time. That hope is found in Jesus. That hope is realized when we know and believe that he is a God of forgiveness and favor.
He forgives. Let this truth sink in. Your Father, the Creator of the universe, loves you so much that he created a pathway for forgiveness. As much as I wish I would never hurt my children, I know I have and I will again. But there is mercy for my failures. And I know a few reading this, simply cannot believe that you can be forgiven. I know you believe that what you’ve done is unforgivable. Maybe, you’ve led a life of deceit, hurting your children in the midst. Maybe, you’ve been addicted and absent and the relationship with your children seems broken beyond repair. Listen to me. Our God heals and restores. There is no one beyond His reach. He will forgive. Even you. Even me.
I can also know that he grants favor. That is, he gives us the grace we need to lean into to make it through each moment. His grace is all we need. All of his blessings are undeserved, but it’s his nature to bless us anyway so that we can walk in the strength of his favor daily.
Forgiveness and favor are ours for the taking. They make the difference and set us free and sister… if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed! (John 8:36) It’s not enough to know they exist. We have to receive his forgiveness and take hold of his favor.
I’ve been a momma for almost 14 years now and I’ve learned a few things that have been difference makers in this journey.
Know who you are. Get in God’s word and know the truth of whom He made you to be.
Understand the power of the repair. We will mess up; in small ways, and in big ways. You need to know that our God restores. When you blow it, ask forgiveness from your kids, remind them of truth, and pray with them and over them. Ask God to heal any broken places in your heart and theirs. Pray bold prayers of protection over your relationship.
Let the Holy Spirit work. Believe that if you are a child of the Most High God, then you have his power at work inside of you. God’s word says that his strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) My need for God’s power has never been more evident to me than in my desire to parent and to love my children well.
Don’t do this alone. No lone ranger momma’s allowed. We need each other. Find friends who can speak God’s truth into your life. Look for momma friends who will walk this out with you. Be that kind of friend to someone else. No more judgment on other moms. We’re all fighting a battle. Our enemy is not each other. When you see that momma in the grocery store with the screaming child; figuratively, link arms with her, pray a prayer for her, and give her a smile and a word of encouragement. We’ve all been there. I’ll probably be that mom later today, and if you see me, I will most likely desperately need your grace.
My Ella, Sam and Drew are precious gifts from God. They deserve the best, but they wound up with me. And the good news is that I’m the best momma for them. I will fail- maybe not today – but most certainly I will continue to do this momma thing very imperfectly. I’m so grateful for grace and new mercies. So, I’m ready for Mothers Day. I’m ready to celebrate all the ways I love my children well and I’m ready to celebrate a gracious God who fills in the gaps with his forgiveness and favor. Happy Mother’s Day, sweet sisters. Party on.
Momma, Ella, Sam & Drew