Sixty-five

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Emotional breakdowns aren’t that unusual in our house these days. We are smack-dab in the middle of transitions. Our house is mostly packed, but not sold. My husband’s new job has begun, but many of the benefits of it haven’t yet been fully realized. Money is tighter than tight and there are so many things to pay for. It’s almost time to start focusing on school, but my mind and heart refuse to admit that this is reality.

Any and all of those things might lead to tears, drama, poor attitudes, and breakdowns. But today, it wasn’t the stress of all of that weighing me down. Today I cried to my husband before he left for work, feeling crushed by the burden of motherhood. This morning I was convinced that I have a failed (true) and that I am a failure (not true) as a mother. Today I believed that I have done irreparable damage to my children and that they are destined to become works-minded, performance-based, grace-less robots whose only goal is to make their mom happy by acting “right.” Today I struggled to reconcile my personality (sarcastic, often harsh, not gentle, not prone to believing the best, quick to hold grudges) with what I believe to be the personality of a “good” mother (gentle, kind, soft-spoken, always patient and gracious).

In other words, today I saw that I am not Jesus, but I still believe I should be.

So as I cried to my husband, wondering aloud how I am supposed to be able to do this mothering thing well when my own mother was imperfect, sarcastic, harsh, strong-willed and not gentle, he spoke grace to me. He reminded me that my kids are being raised to understand that we are ALL sinners. Not just the three of them, whose outward behavior is easy to point to so often, but Mom and Dad, too. While I often go about it incorrectly, my kids are being taught that the “good” things they do and the “bad” things they do don’t determine if they are loved or valued or accepted. My kids are seeing the pattern of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. They are witnessing life, death, and resurrection. They are seeing the gospel played out by imperfect people who are loved and rescued by a Perfect Savior.

So while my wandering heart turns to “what can I start doing better today?” And while my hands grab the Jesus Storybook Bible to display more prominently and tunes Pandora to “church songs,” wanting my children to see and hear the truth, the Spirit whispers to me “Peace. Grace. Hope. Love.”

Believe. Be Still. Rest. 

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