Parenthood. The best job. The hardest job. It is not for the faint of heart. It will pull your heart in many directions at once. At its worst, the job of parenting is fear, paid through anxiety and questioning. At it’s finest it is non-stop hours, paid through grace and love and moments when you see that you got something right.
If you haven’t already read it, I wrote a letter (you can read it here) to my children for Mother’s Day this year. I thanked them for making me the person, wife, and mother I am today. I thanked them for helping me into the purpose I was sure that God had set out for my life. I thanked them for who they are and the endless laughs and memories they have given me. I tried to pour my heart for all of them into the contents of one letter.
And then I hit the “publish” button to post it to my website. And I waited. And I wondered. Would they agree that it has mostly been good? Would they see how their acceptance and grace through my failures and mistakes had helped me to become a better person? Would they feel the love and sincerity coming through the page?
Or would they disagree? Would they think that my mistakes and failures had actually made me a worse mother? Would they stop and wish I could have been any other person in the world?
I sort of wallowed in that fear for a bit. Marinated in it. Had my mistakes, had my failures, had my shortcomings and my faults been too much? Had they consumed me? Had they prevented me from being what God wanted me to be?
Because I always wanted to be the best. The best person. The best wife. And the best mother. And I had failed. At all of it. Not all the time. But enough. And it made me feel worried. I wanted a do-over. And I looked up to God for a reminder of the good again.
Moments later I got a text from one of my children:
“Ur blog post made me cry. Love u.”
Awh. . . I could feel my heart expanding in my chest. Beating with even more love for these kids.
I said thank you and that I had been worried that I let my mistakes consume me and keep me from actually being my best. To which she replied, “Mom I can’t even think of a single mistake you’ve made accept shutting my finger in the window & cutting my eyebrow.” Keeping it real. And yes those things really happened. (I’ve kept her name off of this, but if you know our family you know exactly who wrote it.) Now it was my turn to laugh through tear filled eyes.
Because these kids of mine are gracious, and God is even more so. They all reminded me that I don’t need to worry about the past. It has already happened. It can’t be changed. There were desirable moments and there were mistakes. And He is already using it all for His good. His good in all things. And especially in these amazing, grace-filled, funny children who will always help me keep it real.
But now, this is what the Lord says. . . .”Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God. . .” ~Isaiah 43:1-3