Everytime I begin to feel like a failure…God reminds me of this verse:
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-10
And it might seems strange…since it’s not a verse about my performance but maybe that’s the whole point.
Yesterday, I felt a bit like a failure as we navigated the day. I wrote my blog but after that it just seemed like nothing was going right. Catching the bus was hard, getting to preschool was hard, getting coffee in the morning was a giant fail…just one of those days when all the little things pile up and threaten to knock you right down.
Then, the afternoon came and I didn’t plan it out very well. The bus ended up coming early and I wasn’t outside in time and the end result was a pregnant woman running after the bus, yelling, “WAIT! WAIT!” while it drove away. With my child on it. And then I had to call the school and they were impatient with me and I could almost hear the woman on the phone rolling her eyes. Maybe thinking to herself, another mother who thinks being at the bus stop is something she can take lightly.
I was ready to cry. Because it hit me right where I’m vulnerable. Right in a raw place…a place of worrying that I don’t measure up as a mom. That place of wondering if I even have what it takes. And that tape began to play in my head of all the ways I’ve failed as a mom over the past twenty years. And that tape got louder and louder and Lila was on a bus somewhere and I was falling apart in the middle of the road.
What kind of mom can’t walk the handful of yards from the house to the bus in time?
And it’s not like I did it on purpose. The bus was really early, for one thing. It wasn’t due to come for at least eight more minutes and often is later than that.
But all the frustrations and irritations of the day plus this? It added up to me pressing play on that tape that tells me I’m the worst mom ever.
Fast forward about fifteen minutes and the bus has brought me my child. I think to myself, “Let’s shake this off and go get a Frosty.” Which we attempted to do. But Claire had removed my wallet from my purse and hidden it in the house and so, although we’d driven up to Wendy’s and ordered, I couldn’t get the Frostys. Causing weeping and sorrow and disappointed little ones in the car.
Cue the tightening of the throat, the threat of tears and that tape on a loop in my head.
Come on, Lord. I said. Help me.
I spent the afternoon scolding myself for struggling with these first world problems. Scolding myself for not doing a better job. Scolding myself for not having it more together. Scolding myself for not having a better attitude. No grace for myself at all.
And as I was laying in bed waiting for sleep to come and for the very bad, no good day to end…God whispered to me.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
I am evil and need my Savior. I am a mother who would not give her children or the ones in her care stones or snakes…I want good things for my little ones. And God wants good things for me.
He doesn’t want me to beat myself to death for mistakes and for my failings. He doesn’t want me to shame myself. He doesn’t want me to play that tape anymore. Because I am redeemed, I am living out the calling He gave me. I am enough for my children. I can do this.
He has good gifts to give. He loves me. And even when the day hands me stones and the world hands me snakes, God has bread for me and He has fish for me. He has gifts to give. Gifts that I missed yesterday because the day won and I lost and I didn’t remember to be thankful. I gave myself no grace. I gave myself no mercy and left no room for the counting of joys.
It’s not too late. Yesterday’s gifts:
Talking with Claire after nap. She can tell you where all of her body parts are, including tricky ones like her eyebrow, elbow and knee. And if you ask her her name, she can tell you what it is. Sort of. (It kind of sounds like Carrie.)
Sammy and the baby dolls. He loves the babies. He wraps them in blankets, pushes them in the stroller. And sometimes, Claire even lets him do this in peace.
Lila’s hug when she finally did get off the bus. Do you know it never occurred to her that I wouldn’t be there? That’s not a possibility in her life. She is secure and sure that her mom will be there.
Nora’s little baby taps and kicks and hiccups. I only just started feeling her move a few days ago and she hit the ground running. She’s a busy baby and every moment fills me with love for her.
Luke when he said, “It’s picture day at school, that means it’s going to be the best day ever.”
David’s dimples. They never fail to make me smile.
David and I’s trip to Walmart for his birthday present- a noisy truck and watermelon gum. He loved being able to pick for himself and he loved that it came in a bag just for him.
Pictures of my little nephew. He is a bolt of sunshine and love. We did not know how much our family needed this little nephew until he arrived.
Why didn’t I remember to count those things yesterday? I chose counting the stones that life handed me yesterday, not the bread that God gave.
And then I had this thought: I’m not the only mother that days like this happen to. Don’t we all have a tape that plays on a loop and tells us of our failings? Don’t we all have days where we’d love to press reset and just start all over again? Don’t we all screw up sometimes? Haven’t we all been late for something or forgotten something altogether? It’s not all hugs and kisses and reading stories. Sometimes, all day long is hard.
But I’m not the only one.
And, I have the power, tools and resources to make the next day a better day.
I woke up with Matthew 7:9-10 playing on a loop. I woke up with those fresh and good words in my heart. I woke up longing to find the gifts of the day, the jewels He leaves me, the joys that can be found in the everything that’s around me.
Today will be a day of remembering His goodness and His gifts. Today, I will count the bread, not the stones.
Will you count with me? Leave your list of gifts in the comments section. We’ll give it to God like a big offering- an offering of thanksgiving and praise. A sacrifice of praise even. We’ll sacrifice our desire to complain and feel frustrated and we’ll sacrifice our usual routine of beating ourselves up.
Share your joys with me and with our fellow moms and dads and other readers.