Failure

I just feel like I’m failing.

FAILURE. Until becoming a mommy the word “failure” never held any power in my life. The word just floated around in space with all the other words, just a word. Honestly, it wasn’t really until I had reached the toddler phase of motherhood that I really became acquainted with the power of failing.  When our oldest was still itty bitty I remember hearing a mom that was a little ahead of me with one in grade school and another in preschool talk about feeling like she was failing. I remember thinking “Failing at what exactly? Was it something she failed to do? Some area that was falling apart? Were there important things being neglected?” But the answer to all of those questions was no. She did everything she needed to do each day, her kids loved her, her husband loved her. Everyone who knew her thought she was awesome. This was a woman that people looked up to. So what exactly had she failed at?

At the time, it made no sense to me and I had no idea what this ambiguous failure was all about.

Now I know the power of failure all too well. Now I understand exactly what that overarching-all-encompassing sense of failure was for her. You can’t really ever explain what led to that feeling of defeat, even to another momma. It’s hard to articulate where exactly the last straw fell. All you know is that the last straw fell somewhere along the way and you feel like you can’t take another step. It’s the feeling that when my dinner is a flop served up with sides of burnt and mush, it’s on me. When my kids are running in circles and chaos abounds, it’s on me. When the laundry in the washing machine gets mildewy three times in a row because it’s forgotten, it’s on me. When my kids aren’t as spiritual or academic or polite or obedient as the metaphorical measuring stick demands, it’s on me.

But those aren’t moments of failure, those are moments of real life. And that metaphorical measuring stick is a lie from the pit of hell…seriously.

It’s so easy to see our shortcomings and weaknesses as failure. We’re terrified of being weak. After all, what’s the highest compliment a mommy can receive? “You’re Super-Mom!” We live like being Super Mommy is a real thing, like it’s achievable. We all strive to run like a well-oiled machines. But we aren’t machines are we? We get tired and run down, we get cabin fever and feel discouraged. We take on burdens that are impossible to bear. And if you are at all like me…We stuff and stuff and stuff all those emotions and half-truths down and try to stir up some more fuel and press on like the machine we wish we were. We tell ourselves we must press on, there is laundry to fold and dinner to prepare and disasters to correct. But inevitably, without regard to our schedule or convenience all that ‘pressing on’ and ‘stuffing down’ will catch up to us. And before we know why we find ourselves crying over a sink of dirty dishes, or losing it when our husbands don’t look at us just right. At the point where the half-truths of mommy success fail us, the whole Truth of grace lights our path.

As believers, we aren’t supposed to keep striving to be “The Perfect Mom,” we need to embrace our weaknesses and shortcomings. When we stop living as if we can accomplish perfection, we are able to see the beauty of Christ’s perfection. He has perfect love, perfect holiness, perfect purity, perfect peace, perfect grace….He has everything that we need to give to our kids, to get through the day with joy, to love our husbands even when our tank (by the world’s view) is empty. Sisters in failure….we must rejoice in our weakness, because He is so strong! 

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

As a mommy whose eyes are still puffy from last night’s failure fest, trust me the truth WILL set you free. You aren’t perfect, you need grace, and you need a Savior. You’ve never been able to muscle your way to perfection. I know; I’ve tried. The failure to be perfect is our truest failure. Our failure has the ability to bring us to Jesus…so let’s not waste it on self-pity, let’s set it down and walk in freedom. Let’s take the grace friends. 

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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9