Take 10 Minutes — Are you experiencing a shadow of darkness from a tough or heartbreaking situation? What could possibly be good in such a hard place? Carla’s Column ministered to me immensely through this post, and I know you will be too. Please read and share with others to be encouraged today.
We had barely departed the experience, the fruition of obedience to God’s calling, when the clouds started rolling, the thunder started rumbling, the lightning hit and the rain poured. Our drive into Boston should have been one of elation and rejoicing, however, we quickly ran into a storm, a storm that started brewing long before we began our trip. No, I’m not speaking of a literal storm. I’m speaking figuratively. I wish we could have pulled under a bridge and wait for it to pass by. I wish we could have stepped into a closet and hid from the winds. Or even better, I wish we could have locked ourselves in our safe room and shut it out entirely. But we all know the storms of life are endured, not avoided. I read several years ago that trees send their roots down deeper due to the storms they withstand. No storms mean a shallow root system. Now I’m no arborist, but I get the illustration, and I don’t want to be shallow or weak, I want to go down deep and be strong. Nevertheless, the storms are unpleasant, unpeaceful, and at times, down right scary.
The storm’s intensity grew when I broke, exposing the darkness that surrounded us. I felt safe, I felt secure, and even more than that, I felt desperate for help. I literally broke, crying uncontrollably and sharing not only my defeat, but pronouncing my shortcomings.
For someone who lives as an open book, it’s imprisoning to hold in my burdens, to retain my brokenness. Burying and hiding are not natural for me. It takes effort. It takes determination. And while I see that sometimes it is necessary, it feels phony. We need a safety net when we are falling. Unfortunately, with the people I would have not wanted to have boundaries with, I should have had boundaries. The integrity and character of our home came under fire. And isn’t that the way the enemy attacks? So sly and creepy, using one attack to generate another.
The point is, if we lay everything out on the table, we’re providing the revelation of our failures. We all have them, and we provide for many more failures when we become parents. If you haven’t failed your children yet, wait, because you will.
You’re probably thinking something like, “Great. So glad I’m reading this today. Nothing like having someone tell me I’m going to fail at the most important role I will ever have!” Or you may be tempted to minimize those failures as you reflect back on your days of raising children. Pause with me please, and join me in asking the Lord to humble us and remove a pride He cannot honor.
Let’s remind ourselves that we all fall short. We are parenting in our humanity. And our humanity is fallen. John and Stasi Eldredge inform us in their book Captivating, “But Adam fell, as did Eve, and the fathers and mothers most of us had continued the sad story. They did not provide the things our hearts needed in order to become lovely, vulnerable, strong, adventurous women.”
Honestly, it’s a thought that never crossed my mind when I was welcoming my precious children into the world. “I’m going to fail this perfect little person. I’m going to wound their heart.”
I was prepared to give away my heart, but not to wound theirs. Big chunks were removed with every baby born. Jaron’s birth brought about our first NICU experience. The team whisked him away from me on the eve of Christmas Eve. I was discharged the next day and felt my heart in two places, neither of which was inside my chest. I was torn to be home with my sweet little girl and to be with my new precious and sick baby boy. It was just the beginning, just the beginning of my heart existing outside my body no longer secure and protected within myself.
“You cannot be alive very long without being wounded,” the Eldredges write. “Broken hearts cannot long be avoided in this beautiful yet dangerous world we live in.” “This is not Eden. Not even close. We are not living in the world our souls were made for.”
As I was caring for my own Mom recovering from an orthopedic surgery this summer, I gave her medication to manage her pain. Some are big pills, hard to swallow. And some of these words are hard to swallow, but can manage the pain of our wounded hearts. Through her own journey, Stasi Eldredge writes, “Yes, she [her mother] failed me. All mothers fail their children to varying degrees. But she also loved me. That was what was most true.”
Every wave and bump, even the wash outs and pot holes, messages are sent, imperfections are highlighted and wounds are created. We hurt our children and our children hurt us. Ephesians 6:12 tells us where the battle comes from, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
And as mothers, we battle. In our flesh, in our humanity, in our fallen, imperfect state, we battle.
“Women are called to join in the Greatest Battle of all time- the battle being waged for the hearts of those around us.” -Captivated
As long as I’m breathing I will go to battle for my children to have God’s best in their life. It is raw, it is real, and it is humbling to recognize our imperfections, and to encourage our children to take what we’ve given them as parents and to be better, to make improvements and be better parents for their children. No blame, no bitterness, but better. Humbling ourselves in believing and battling for God’s best.
So why would I write a post to share about being a crummy mom? Because at times, you feel crummy too. In those times, in those dark moments, and in those attacks, don’t allow the enemy to defeat you, even if he’s using people you love in the attack. Filter through. Sift it out before the Lord. Only He truly knows your heart.
I’m walking in steps of obedience to God’s calling. There is no attack that could possibly stop me than one upon my family, one upon my home. So here it is. The storm. Here I am. Not giving up. Battling the attack, because I know God will prevail. His Plan will succeed. Good will come, a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9).
Through this storm I praise Him and I pray He uses it to encourage you.
“But we don’t wait to offer our lives until we have our acts together. We don’t get that luxury. If we did, would anyone ever feel like offering anything? God asks us to be vulnerable. He invites us to share and give in our weaknesses. He wants us to offer the beauty that He has given us even when we are keenly aware that it is not all that we wish it were. He wants us to trust him.”- Captivating
Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
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Have you ever struggled with the feeling of not being good enough? Has someone taken a highlighter to your shortcomings or magnified your failures?
God's design for women includes a longing for intimacy and adventure with Him, to gain an understanding of how He sees each of us, and to develop a closer relationship with Him.
Please join me, along with the women of my community as we rediscover the joy of belonging to God with a heart that is awakened and restored… a heart in full bloom.
Throughout the weekend you will experience teaching sessions, including testimonies, films, guided periods of personal reflection and worship.
This weekend is based on the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge