Want to Be

I want to be the mother with the messy house because she was too busy fingerpainting and reading and building a fort to get around to vacuuming today.

Instead I am the mother with the messy house because I’m too lazy to clean it most days.

I want to be the mother smiling at the chaos because I know these moments will be gone sooner than I can imagine.

Instead I am the mother adding to the chaos with screamed words and angry,  impatient actions.

I want to be the mother whose kids talk to her because they know she is wise and trustworthy.

Instead I am the mother who tunes her kids out until they just stop talking.

I want to be the mother training her children by example to share, to be grateful, to speak kindly, to give, to pick up, to respect.

Instead I am the mother training her children by example to be selfish, to complain, to snap, to take, to leave everything lying around, to roll their eyes.

I want to be the mother confident in the role God has given her, knowing at least most of the time that most of her choices for the day were the right ones.

Instead I am the mother wondering what in the world God was thinking when He entrusted me with these sweet children, knowing most nights when I fall into bed that I have failed greatly.

I am okay with not being perfect.

I am okay with a messy house.

I am okay with moments of failure.

I am not okay with doing the wrong thing more often than the right thing.

I am not okay with a house so messy that there are no clean forks, no clean underwear, and the baby is eating yesterday’s breakfast off the floor for today’s afternoon snack.

I am not okay with failing so often every day.

He says His grace is sufficient. Even for me, and my imperfections and sins and selfishnesses and failings are who I am. At least who I am without Him.

I believe His Words. But always the disconnect. Never meeting even the easiest standards. Constantly knowing that I am missing out on precious time with my kids because I am too wrapped up in myself.

I can blame my busy life and my arthritis and all kinds of things for my failings, but the truth is they are my choices, most of the time.

The picture you have of me from reading my words here, from seeing what I post, it is incomplete. I do not seek to deceive you. Maybe I am trying to deceive myself. If I can make it look like my life is good, if I can hide the messes and post the pictures of my children being cute and compliant, then I can make myself look better. To me– to you.

But not to Him. And not to them, my sons and daughter, my husband. They deserve better than this.

And I try to change, to follow, to obey, to accept grace, to be the mother God wants me to be– I want to be.

And I fail.

Again and again I fail.

And sometimes I wonder if there’s any hope for me at all.

I have to believe there is.

Sufficient grace, right?

More grace. More grace.

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16 thoughts on “Want to Be

  1. Wow. Holy cow.
    And all this time i thought you were perfect.

    It’s called “just being human”, sweetie.
    Don’t beat yourself up so much.
    “HE” doesn’t.

    • But God doesn’t call us to be human. He calls us to be like Him. Yes, he loves us despite our condition, but He wants so much more for us.

  2. and this is why is sit where i sit, right now. wishing i had spent more time, wishing i had been better, done better… all the while people think i am way better than who i really am. a mess. a big mess. but i am God’s mess… and that has to count for something, right? but just wait. someday soon those oh-so-cute kids will be doing the dishes and the laundry, and you can at least have forks and underwear. trust me…

    love to you … and i just know God is serving up a heaping helping of grace 🙂

  3. Hi beautiful mess! Beautiful disaster. Welcome. It’s called broken beauty and scripture is filled with us and we are who God uses, just like we are. And tomorrow we get up and put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing. I love you. Hugs. You’re not alone.

  4. Brings to mind one of my favorite passages of scripture from
    Psalm 103.
    As the heavens are high above the earth,
    So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
    As far as the east is from the west,
    So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
    As a father pities his children so the Lord pities those who fear Him.
    For He knows our frame;
    He remembers that we are dust.

    His grace and mercy don’t give us license to sin, but do give us peace when we know we are forgiven.

    It is also amazing and wonderful to witness the grace, mercy and forgiveness of our kids.

    • Yes, exactly what Mom said. I love that passage. “So great is his mercy toward those who fear him….”
      Hang in there, friend. One day we will be perfected. Until then, we are reminded daily by our mess that we need rescuing, redemption.

  5. I think sometimes it is way too easy to focus on our own failings and forget the good parts. I’m sure that there are many moments where you made your kids feel loved and affirmed, or when you served up a tasty dinner to your family, or wrapped Little One in a towel warm from the dryer, or took some time to really laugh with Art. Don’t forget, while you are learning (hard) lessons from your failings, to take a little pleasure and comfort from your successes too. 🙂 Words it’s easy for me to say, but not as easy to apply in my own life! But I’m trying.

    All of which to say, keep your head up, my friend! You’ll make it. 🙂

  6. first, i think we post what is in our hearts. what is beyond being wrapped up in ourselves…. them, Him.
    don’t stop doing that. take those blog moments to delight (to enter his gates with thanksgiving in your heart) in your children, your husband, your God.
    blogging is healing for me is this way.

    second, me too erin.

    racing through my mine this a.m. is my laziness, my self absorption.
    and i respond in many of the ways you mention.

    praise God for his grace upon grace.
    and may he cause us to live in his grace, so that we can live in the fullness of the life and love he has blessed us with.

  7. Your honest words struck a nerve. We’ve all been there, I think. I know I have.

    I have to pull my thoughts away from me — and even away from my shortcomings — and put them on Him. That’s when I find I reflect Him best. Yes, grace — grace that is greater!

    Come on over for some mom inspiration and encouragement.

  8. Wow, Erin, yes. This is my life. You always put my feelings into words so much better than I can. Thank you so much for writing this, and for being so honest about your shortcomings, because we all have them, I have so many… 🙂

  9. I am late commenting on this, but I wanted to say something. This post has been rolling around in my head all weekend.
    You have a gift for putting emotions into words. These words hurt, but I know are so true in my life. So often my own selfishness wins out over parenting the way God desires me to. Thanks for opening yourself up & putting this out there. It is helping make me a better mama.

  10. Erin,
    I wonder sometimes why we feel like there is a negative to this.
    How you are choosing to spend your time doesn’t have false or less value. I think we live the way our soul calls to us . There will always be the mundane, the broken, the dark, but how you live joy and praise isn’t hypocritical as much as it is the smile you give to yourself and others, even while you may be living in the mess of life.

    Many nights in order for me to have a few minutes with my husband , I don’t clean the kitchen. I am a wife first.
    Many nights in order for me to talk in the bedtime hours with teens and young adults, I don’t transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer, don’t put away the piles covering my bed and put them on the floor.
    I am a mother first.
    etc
    we do what we can, we can only try ,

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