Yeah, so I’ve been losing it the last few days. I know, you know, we all know. Some of it is hormones, some of it is just trying to figure out how to work (write) and raise you all well and keep a decently cleaned home, homeschool you, and make dinner instead of ordering pizza — again.
I’m sorry, but I’m in this weird place of trying to figure it all out. I’m trying to figure out how to discipline you all so you listen and honor me and my words and for gosh sakes STAY IN BED. I’m trying. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy because there are three of you and one of me and your daddy is working so hard and I am just going to screw it all up sometimes.
Right now, I’m locked in the bedroom, and one of you is singing in a high-pitched voice. I want to scream, “PLEASE JUST BE QUIET!” But you’re also giggling and enjoying each other even though I was harsh with you. You’re playing together, and I love that.
Sometimes I just want to hide away, go under, under, under the covers until there’s quiet. I feel guilty for this, because somewhere in me there’s this twisted notion that I should have it all together by now, especially as an adult, a mom, a Christian. But here’s the thing, kids: I do not have it together. Obviously.
And it’s why I need Jesus and it’s why you do too. I will let you down. I will fail you sometimes. I will yell and I will regret it, and I will say I’m sorry a thousand times and mean it every time. And I will get better because God’s working in me, but I won’t ever be completed this side of heaven.
I am dust. And dust is messy.
You are dust too.
Here’s the good news: we are dust together, imperfect, prone to screw up, humans through and through, but we have the breath of God in us and the Holy Spirit divinely entwined with us.
I am weak and strong, holy and sinful. We have this in common, you all and me.
So what I really want to say is this: I love you so much it hurts, and I am grateful every day that you are my kids, my people, my team. I love who you are and I see God in you and I love watching you unfold into who you’re becoming. I love you, and my love never changes, even when my moods do. Even when I lose it or when I hide away, it’s never you; it’s me. I am learning every day, by faith, how to keep going and mother you well and be okay with this frail me.
And don’t you think for a second that I’ll give up. I won’t. I will keep going because that’s what love does. Love never fails.
Jesus never fails. He will never let you down, and when you think He has, you wrestle it out with Him and cry and go through all the guttural feelings as you pray, “Teach me to see you, God.”
When you have wrestled it out and settled it in your soul that He is good, you will see Him. And you will know down into the deepest places of your being that He will never leave you or fail you or unlove you.
Hang on for dear life to Him. I will too, because we’re in this together.
Beautiful, Sarah Mae! What a wonderfully written reminder of who we all are and how perfect God is. As you say we won’t be perfect/completed here on earth, but we need to keep striving to be, remembering Jesus is always there to help us. Thank you for putting it into such wonderful words.
Sarah Mae says
Thank God He is God. He is so good and so kind even in this mess.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I remember sitting at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) conference. Elisa Morgan was the president then and she gave a talk in which she described how sometimes she would close the bedroom door, crawl in bed, pull the covers up over her head and whisper this prayer, “Lord, save my children from me!” I have felt that feeling so many times with my kids. I trust God to know what He’s doing in everything else, but sometimes I wonder why He chose ME to be the mother of my children?? I have to walk in faith, trusting that He knows what He’s doing in this situation as well. Another prayer that helped me was at my children’s bedtime….as they dozed off to sleep, I would thank God for them and I would ask HIM to fill in the cracks where I fell short that day – for when I screwed up. God is able to fill in the cracks of our imperfect ways in which we raise our kids. What a good, good Father who does this, indeed. Thank you for the call for ALL of us to go easy on ourselves!!
Bev….THANKYOU for the words..”.God fill in the cracks “. This hit me so hard….I need to pray this for my 40 year old children… Who are not following the Lord any more …seems the old excuses…no time, life is too much fun, or there are so many other faiths,,and of course this filters down to our grandchildren all under age 10 who are so vulnerable … ” oh says the parents to us,” we want no influence of your faith on our kids..” Hummm well I say ” aren’t YOU influencing them?”
“Lord God, fill in those cracks I missed please” is now my prayer too. THANKYOU.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I believe it’s never too late pray this prayer. As moms we try our best and sadly, our adult children, make choices that don’t align with how we brought them up. So whether they are still young and you are tucking them in bed, or they lives miles away and your one option is to pray….I think that “God, please fill in the cracks” where my teaching fell short is an excellent prayer. I know the hurt of a grown child rejecting your ways….it hurts. But, the burden to carry is theirs not yours.
Blessings and Hugs,
BONITA J BAKER says
BEV…Thank you so much for your wonderful insight. I So need the cracks filled in, in me, today, at the age of 74. I dwell each day on all the cracks that i did not fill in on a certain day. I feel guilty, unworthy, a failure to myself and my family, especially my 14 year-old granddaughter (who we adopted about 3 years ago) because I see her mistakes which she does not attempt to correct (schoolwork not done, an attitude of back talk). She is so brilliant but is wasting that knowledge. Lord, PLEASE, help me to “let go and let you be in charge as I am really beaten down”. PLEASE fill in the cracks that I missed today and give me direction and calm in my life.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
You are not a failure to your family….their actions are THEIR choosing, not yours. It is so easy to let the “guilt wagon” back up and dump a heaping helping of guilt on our plate. That is false guilt. You did nothing wrong. You did the best that you could and I’m sure you raised your children and grandchildren well. I know from personal experience that adult children will choose paths quite contrary to the way in which they were brought up. This is not your fault. It’s their choice. God is more than able to fill in the gaps where we couldn’t be it all to our children. If we did parenting perfectly all the time, then there would be no need for Jesus. Pray, let Him fill in the cracks, and leave it all in His capable hands. God wants YOU to walk in freedom. You are not guilty of another person’s sins. Be easy on yourself sweet sister.
Sarah Mae says
“Lord, save my children from me!” That’s such a good line.
Michele Morin says
Oh, doesn’t it just feel so good to open our Bible to Psalm 103 and read that God “knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.” Then, when we play the Dust Card with our families, we can be comforted that sooner or later, they will need to play the Dust Card, too, and our kids will have learned from their hormonally-crazed, disorganized, and somewhat selfish mothers what to do when they fail.
It’s amazing to me that we can always come back to the beginning with God.
Emily B. says
Wow! This is so amazing, and incredibly timely! I’m sure I’m not the only one who was blessed by you. Did you actually give this to your kids, because if they don’t need to read it, they will. Thanks again, so much!
sarah mae says
Interestingly enough, this is an older post and my daughter, who is now 13, thought it was hysterical! 🙂 Yes, I did say those things to them, I just didn’t give it to them in a letter.
Beth Williams says
We are weak & strong, sinful & Holy. We are made in the image of almighty God living in this sinful world. Daily we wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. It is a daily struggle to do right & not want to run away from all the noise & hub bub of life. While I don’t have children I still mess up daily. Like you I can yell at my hubby & get upset over stupid things. I am sorry please forgive me as I will forgive you. God says in Joel 2:12 “even now”after all we’ve done all we need to do is return to me with all our heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” He loves us soo much that even if we sin & we do daily-He is there waiting for us wooing us back to Himself. Dear family, friends, co-workers, wold-let us hold on for dear life to Jesus. We are in this together & I will pray for you. Will you come along & pray for me?
sarah mae says
“holding on to dear life for Jesus.” yes and amen.
Heather L. Mattern says
Thank you so much for your honesty. Like you, I have found that being honest with my kids when I mess up or when I’m struggling is more impactful (I hope) than pretending to be the perfect parent. (As if they would buy that!) Admitting our weakness and our need for Jesus makes us all stronger in every relationship; with kids, spouses, friends, and neighbors. Thanks, Heather
Pearl Allard says
Sarah, this brought me to tears. Bless you. Thank you. May God help all us moms just trying to keep following Jesus in the messy and not scar anyone for life in the process.
Sarah Mae says
Pearl, (what a lovely name, by the way), yes, may God help us all. So grateful He knows our children intimately, just as He knows us intimately, and He is for us and with us and fills in the gaps when our sinful bents show themselves. Jesus is our hope.
Would you yell at a friend who’s getting on your nerves? Would you run and hide under a quilt if your friend comes over and does something you don’t like? I think not. Why are we only conscience of best behavior with people NOT in our home regularly? Teach your children that when Mommy needs quiet, they could respect her. Teach them to think of something quiet to do, or provide them something quiet to do. And remember, THEY need the same thing as you sometimes, so respect them with some quiet space when they are feeling overwhelmed.
There’s a difference between how you can behave in a sprint and how you can behave in a marathon. I don’t have kids, but I’ve had literal-share-a-room roommates, and you are not seeing them just for a few hours, or just when you’re up to being friendly and social and stuffing your aggravations – you are seeing them all.the.time., sick or well, tired or not. I agree that ideally we would treat everyone around us with as much respect and kindness as possible, but the difference between job-interview levels of Preparedness And Perfection vs. every-single-day is… not small. And while, ideally, one would be teaching kids to not push all the buttons and/or destroy things and/or whine at a loud, high, pitch, just when mom has a headache, they are not as accommodating, socialized, and reliable in reasonably good behavior as our enjoyable adult friends tend to be. So: yes, we’re likely to crack more around the people we’re around 24/7, the people we can’t just cancel with (or let them go to voicemail) if it’s a bad day, the people where we’re not going to get a break from their habits that irritate us. Who will deliver us from this body of death? God – not counsel to feel even guiltier about continuing to fail in human ways in human situations.
Heather L. Mattern says
So well said, KC. I agree that you just cannot compare the two relationships; children and friends/ acquaintances. Of course we want to give our closest loved ones our best. I believe most moms and women have struggled with this. I believe that the more time and closeness you have with people, the more likely you are to let them see your struggles as opposed to a surface relationship where everything seems polite and perfect, but where you aren’t really known. I am thankful for Sarah’s honesty, and I truly believe God wants us to be real with each other as women. We are all stronger when we acknowledge our weakness.
Sarah Mae says
Yes, that is the goal. Trying, friend.
Beautiful-thank you for sharing your heart.
So very true this message. Most of us who are mom definitely understand this. I too had been harsh to my kids on petty stuff. We hurt the ones who we love the most. Thank you for reminding us that no matter how messy our lives get, God loves us unconditionally.
Tracey Hooks says
How perfectly written! That brought tears within my heart! We desperately want to be perfect in all we do, especially parenting. We women want to.have it all, be it all and so it all…ourselves…have it together all the time. Fortunately for us, we understand how that’s an impossible expection! Otherwise we’ll be running our lives on the rat race wheel of life. Because our Father knows this about us…He tells us to focus on the important things in life, our purpose in Christ and fulfilling God’s will for our life. As king as we have a personal relationship with Christ…he’ll make all the worldly issues come to past. We cannot continue to try for perfection, for only Christ can hold that title!
How I feel every day! Giving it back to Jesus and accepting imperfections. Thank you for sharing this real raw and honest message to your kiddos. Right there with you, sister.
This. It’s me too…and sometimes I KNOW God’s grace and other times, I beat myself up. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty.
Nancy Ruegg says
God bless you for your honesty, Sarah Mae! It will surely help many struggling parents who read this post. Much as we all want to be stellar parents for our children, it simply can’t be done. Just as you’ve said: “We are dust together, imperfect, prone to screw up, humans through and through.” “But!” you add. ” We have the breath of God in us and the Holy Spirit divinely entwined with us.” He redeems our efforts! One time I decided to go out on a limb and ask my youngest child (out of 3) how he would describe his childhood, on a scale of 1 to 10. At the time he was a young adult, in college I think. I was hoping for a 6 or 7, remembering my failures, mistakes, and poor choices as his mother. His answer? “Eleven!” J. remembered the good; God softened the impact of my deficiencies. How gracious is that?!
This made my morning. Thank you nailing it so perfectly with such honesty.
Peace and Blessings to you!
Thank you for this! My daily prayer is ” Lord, please fill in where I lack!”
Thank you for your words of encouragement and for truly hearing the words of the Holy Spirit with this I really needed to see and read this. I received many emails/devotionals over the weekend but this stood out the most and I believe that it was God that wanted me to read this. I have 2 girls a husband and I feel like they rely on me and I feel like I need to be correct and right all of the time; no messing up but these words of encouragement allowed me to see that it is okay if I do and that God loves me in the depth of whatever I am going through.
Thank You! Blessings to you.
Becky Keife says
You know motherhood and you know messy brokenness and you know the unfailing love of God. Thanks for showing us the way through the hard to get to God’s heart. I’m here with you. xx