On the hard, frustrating days when I fall into bed way later than I had hoped, and the pile of dishes didn’t even get touched, and the floor wasn’t swept, and dinner may or may not have been cereal, my mind becomes a battleground. I often fall asleep to the soundtrack of my thoughts, replaying scenes from the day.
I have to make a very conscious effort to choose my thoughts carefully because it is too easy to fall into self-doubt and wonder if I loved my family well enough—if I was patient enough, cared enough, nurtured enough, and gave enough. Sometimes I’m haunted by conversations, knowing that I could, in fact, have been more patient, more understanding, and more gentle. I snapped at Lucas. I pretended I was listening to my toddlers as they earnestly told me a story that would take too much mental energy to try and piece together. I took the short cuts and the easy ways out, not wanting to engage in another conversation about why. Unfortunately, it’s easier to remember the times I didn’t hit the mark rather than the moments I was proud of.
But I thank God that he’s not keeping a running tally—whether it be good days or bad days! He’s not keeping track of my winning (or losing!) streak. Rather, I am so thankful for grace that is enough for the days that my own humanity is practically crawling out of myself, screaming to be seen. I’m grateful for Scripture that sustains me through the sleepless nights, the screaming babies, the whining toddlers, the defiant children, and my own physical limitations.
And I’m so thankful for his mercies that are truly new each morning. I am overwhelmed by his goodness and his unending grace. I don’t need to spend today making up for yesterday’s mistakes. (If I hurt someone, then yes, of course, I should make amends, but that is very different from trying to make up for the times I fall short). I get to wake up today and thank him for my family—for these precious people he has given me the privilege of loving… for today, this season, or forever.
And so, with cereal in my belly, dishes waiting in my sink, and a sticky floor waiting for me when I get up, I must consciously fight the doubt and the shame that are so easy to fall into. My worth as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, does not come from the meals I make or the house that I keep. Instead, I must choose gratitude and allow his peace to surround me.
I close my eyes and smile, knowing that tomorrow I get the unbelievable privilege of loving this tribe all over again.