A couple years ago, I was at my friend Amy’s house, and after about three hours of zero conversation because we had between us eight kids (ages two, three, seven, seven, eight, eight, ten, and ten — like whoa), I was beginning to think we would never even finish a coherent sentence. But then the Lord carved out about twenty minutes of solid conversation between us, which went like this:
Me: “I feel like I’m always failing at motherhood. I just keep dropping the ball. And I have a lot of fear . . . I just don’t know what I’m doing with my life.”
I started crying, and we talked about how we missed our mothers — she lost her mom, and my mom was never a mom. And in the lament and remembering the importance of grieving, she said something profound:
“You were never given what it takes to set the table, and so here you are trying to serve, but you’re still figuring out what linens to get and where to find them.”
Now, Amy has said a lot of wise and kind things to me over the years, but this thing about the table really struck me. For some of us, we were never taught or had it modeled to us how to be mothers. Motherhood doesn’t come naturally, and it’s a real fight sometimes. It isn’t that we don’t love our children and want to raise them well. It’s that we’re a bit behind trying to “find the linens.” And it was this realization that helped us, helped me, do two things:
One, we grieved the very real loss we’d had. If you weren’t taught or shown how to be a mother in the day in and day out, that’s a loss. And if you don’t have a mother or you didn’t have one who was involved much or had her own wounds to contend with, it’s a loss. And these losses are significant. They matter, and they matter to God.
To grieve our losses is the process of facing reality. We let the pain have its process so the truth can set us free.
Two, we realized just how weak we are and how much we need God.
I can’t mother without God. I need His strength, His wisdom, His power, and most of all, His gentleness. He is so kind and such a gentle Father. My heart accuses me, but He is greater than my heart. He is the One working all things out for good — thank God! What a relief! I really can’t do it without Him. And that’s okay because when I am weak He is strong and His grace is sufficient for me.
If you feel like you keep dropping the ball as a mom, go before the Lord, hands up, and say something like this: “Help me. Tell me the truth. Teach me and lead me and let me know I can trust You in all things.” He knows you. He sees you. He loves you.
We will never get it all together as moms, as women, as humans, and that’s okay because we were never asked to get it together. We were only asked to believe and receive and follow by faith. He holds us up when we can’t do it, and He gives us what we need to keep on.
I’m holding onto Him with all I’ve got, believing the truth that I am not condemned, that I am loved right now, and that He is doing the work in me that needs to be done for me to be holy. And my kids, who I adore so profoundly, I am also holding up to Him because I will fall short, but He never will.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
God holds us up when we can’t do it, and He gives us what we need to keep on. -@sarahmae: Click To Tweet