I woke up this morning feeling as if I did not have the strength to make this day. At the time I felt major defeat, but as the day progresses I am realizing this is probably the most powerful, most important place for me to be. It is in these times I am reminded that I cannot face life in my own power.
I look at the events of the past couple of weeks, and on the surface they appear discouraging. I fight extreme feelings of failure. Thoughts of “if I had only been a better mom, step-mom, friend, wife, daughter…” You name it, and I can provide a list of shortcomings a mile long. The “should haves” and “shouldn’t haves” seem to consume my thoughts. My emotions are torn between wanting to make all things right in the lives of my children, while all the time knowing there are things that God is allowing them to experience in order to reveal His unmatched love and grace.
Some heartbreaking events have occured that were completely out of their control and which seemed on the surface to be so unfair. Others came about as a result of choices made…choices that have dug a hole so deep that only divine intervention can rescue them from that hole. Regardless of the circumstances, I know that the issues were beyond my ability as a parent to solve.
This fact seemingly goes against the laws of nature for a Mom. From the time my children were born I had the instinct to protect them. Mom is supposed to be able to make everything better. However, as children cross over into adulthood, the role of Mom changes tremendously. In those heart wrenching circumstances which happen without provocation, all I can do is pray and cry alongside them. In those situations resulting from bad decisions, all I can do is refuse to enable or rescue them once consequences of these decisions begin to unfold…and I pray and cry alongside them.
I must also rest in God’s promises from His word. Sometimes in my humanity I have to admit that these promises seem so distant. I don’t always feel these promises. There are days whenever I let myself give in to the belief that God is so disappointed in me that His promises could not be for me or for my children. There are days when I feel as if my children will never understand the fact that I love them more than they could ever know, and that despite my failures as a parent, or even despite some of the right decisions I have had to make that may seem harsh to them at the time, their instrinsic value is unmatched in my heart. The overwhelming love experienced whenever you hold your child for the first time never fades. Nor does the love that develops and strengthens whenever God brings two families together, and you find yourself falling in love with two children that you may not have given birth to, but who become a part of your life and your heart in a way that you never dreamed possible.
It is at this point that God in His loving, gentle way reminds me of His love for me as His child. He reminds me that He does not ask for perfection. In fact, He reminds me that I was not created as a perfect being. He reminds me that through dealing with my children I can gain an understanding of my relationship with Him as my heavenly Father. I am humbled to remember that in the same way that I want the best for my children, He wants the best for me as His child. In the same way that I grieve whenever my children make choices that take them down a painful path, His heart grieves for me whenever I do the same. He reminds me that in the same way I feel that deep love for the children in my life, the love He feels for me as His child…His very creation…the deep, unconditional love He offers every day of my life never, ever fades…regardless of my mistakes.
And I begin to find comfort as I look back over my life and see all of those seemingly unrelated, ragged patches come together, I begin to see a beautiful piece of God’s handiwork. I begin to see how, when turned over to Him, all of those mistakes and failures have been woven together in a pattern of understanding, grace and forgiveness. This is when I know I can cling to His promises…not in my own strength or because of my own goodness, but despite my weaknesses and because of His goodness. My failures can be redeemed in love, understanding and acceptance of others who are desperately seeking the same. And I begin to see that these events are not just random happenings allowed only to bring pain to me and those I love. Instead I begin to understand that these events are important pieces that in God’s capable hands make up the patchwork that is my story…the beautiful patchwork that, when completed, becomes the heirloom quilt that is my life.