Last night, I came home at about 11pm after a blur of several days of falling short and not measuring up as a wife and mother. The demands of a growing ministry, one that I consider a sacred privilege, often keep me from home for stretches of time. When I am home, it is difficult to ignore, even for a little while, the emails and messages coming from families walking the path of losing a child. My heart longs to walk alongside each one and offer some measure of comfort, just as God so faithfully and abundantly comforts us. He tells us to offer that same comfort to others. I had been at a training all day, and hosted a small support group that evening. When I arrived home, I waded through the dishes, piles of laundry, and middle school boy socks scattered about. My heart weighing heavy with the ache of mommy guilt. Not because of the outward mess, which I find rather endearing, evidence that my house is full of the gift of active boys, living life. But, because of the mess I felt inside.
Sometimes, we mothers juggle. I’ve never been adept at the juggling. I drop the balls. Habitually, in fact. Last night, I missed piano lessons, baseball, and homework as I cried with, prayed for, and listened to mothers missing their babies. I want to be there. I’m called to be there.
And, to be here.
I found it ironic that I was to write a post encouraging mothers today. For, I have never felt less equipped to offer another mother advice or encouragement. Often, those are the times when God chooses to use us. When we are so poured out, it seems there will be nothing worthwhile left to give. Perhaps, there is some redemption in that place of feeling so small and inadequate. Perhaps, we can begin to find some shred of raw truth and sustaining grace in the brokenness and not enough. For, is it not the wondering cry of every mother, every woman? The wrestling with not enough.
We struggle, wanting desperately to measure up to a standard, forgetting that our Father created us, and smiles on us, just as we are. He loves a beautiful, broken mess. He chooses the broken vessel, and delights in the beauty of it. As she lays there, feeling broken and helpless, her pieces scattered about, He steps forward, walking past all the expensive precious vases on the shelf, those pristine and without blemish, and He picks up the broken one. The one scarred and dented, abused and tossed aside by the storms of life.
He says, “I choose her.”
I think sometimes he treasures the broken vessel because more of Him gets poured out through the cracks. The picture of His grace and love oozing through my broken mess, gives new meaning to this place of my not enough. For in my not enough, He answers….plenty. In my weakness, He makes strength.
Tonight, in a conversation with a friend, words of encouragement spilled forth. Wisdom from above.
I said, “There are four things to remember as a mother. You will mess up daily. You will wrestle with your shortcomings and you will need the measure of sufficient grace that God gives you each day. You will need to remember that His mercies are new every morning…and great is His faithfulness. But, there are four things essential to get right.
1. Make sure that you have given your children God’s Word, taught them to cling to Jesus by living your walk with Him, by being real. Make sure they know how to pray and cling to Him. And, pray for them, dear Momma. Faithfully.
2. Love. Love fiercely and freely and with complete abandon. Love your kids with the I Corinthians 13 love. Love them and everyone you come into contact with. And, love their friends.
3. Always, always, say what you mean. Do not say it, if you don’t plan to do it. Tell them the truth. Keep your word, and teach the value of the integrity of meaning what you say. Children are like magnifying glasses for hypocrisy.
4. Grace. Give grace. This world will beat them down and break their spirits, plenty. Your home should be a safe haven from the tumultuous judgment and harsh realities of this fallen world. Give grace to them, and grace to yourselves. When you mess up, numbers 1, 2, and 3, give yourself grace. Let your home be a haven for you, too, dear momma. A place to be accepted as you are and covered in God’s love and sweet abundant grace. At the end of the day, let your bed be free from anxieties, a place for rest as it was intended.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
Raising Generations Today is an annual conference designed to equip and inspire moms to reach the hearts of their children for the glory of God. Through providing valuable resources, inspirational speakers, practical teaching materials, and the connection of moms in every season of parenting, Raising Generations Today will offer hope to women so that they may embrace and thrive in their roles as moms. I have the privilege of speaking at this amazing event on March 21st & 22nd, 2014 in Corning, New York. If you would would like to enter to win a FREE ticket, use the Rafflecopter below!