I had marvelous plans for the summer. I really did.
My boys are in an outer space phase so I planned to spend a few weeks teaching them about the solar system. And when I say “teaching” I mean lots of science experiments, Magic School Bus episodes, Pinterest projects and picture books. You know, all the stuff that often gets neglected in an effort to finish the “real curriculum.”
I downloaded several books from the summer reading list and browsed Pinterest for cute reading charts to keep track of our accomplishments. I planned fun outings. I googled “summer boredom busters” and collected the random supplies. It was going to be an epic summer. It was.
Then we decided to move a few months before we had originally planned. All of my “fun mom” ideas were instantly replaced with uninspired, uninvolved, formulaic ideas from fun mom’s evil twin. Maybe you know her, “Loser Mom.” I think she’s taken up permanent residence in our home the past couple of months.
At this exact moment my sinful flesh wants to tell you that, as of today, we’ve lived in four different places in a span of six weeks. Or that we’ve moved to a new country or how for the past three weeks someone in our house has been sick and that I deserve a “Loser Mom” pass because we’ve driven around for 4+ hours everyday with five kids in the car looking for a home. I want you to hear that it really isn’t my fault that I’m completely dropping the ball in the motherhood arena because well…I’m a sinner, that’s what I do. I seek to justify the things that make me feel like a failure in order to win your approval. Lame, I know.
The guilt started to flood in. I was ruining our summer. Our boys had watched enough TV and played enough video games to send the average child into a full blown media coma. I had served crackers for lunch and cereal for dinner, again. My kids were wearing the same outfits they had on
for three solid days the day before. The dishes and the laundry were embarrassingly behind. I proceeded to scroll through Instagram only to be reminded that every other mom on the planet was doing a better job than me. I sank deeper. The guilt was crippling.
In a hail mary effort to get something praiseworthy done in our day, I reached for the children’s Bible and decided we would read a few verses together. At least I could check the family worship box. And then the Lord showed me that He’s at work, even in my failure. The One that created my innermost being reminded me that “His power is made perfect in MY weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
As I mindlessly thumbed through the pages of the Action Bible the voice of our second son broke through my inattention. “Mom, do you think when I grow up and have my own children I should tell them about this day?”
I managed to muster up a voice that sounded somewhat interested long enough to ask him what about this day he would tell his children.
His answer caused my heart to leap and shatter all in the exact same moment.
“You know mom, how for so many months we prayed that God would give us a house that has an upstairs, four bedrooms, a place for us to play outside and still be close to a dukan and He answered every one of our prayers. I can’t wait to tell that story to my kids when I’m a dad.” (dukan is the word for a convenience store in our neck of the woods)
Oh, that story. The one I totally missed because I was too nearsighted to see it unfolding right in front of me. The one that my seven year old had to bring to my attention.
I had become so wrapped up in comparing myself to other moms that I missed what God was doing in our home. I had sank so deeply into my own self pity that I couldn’t see His hand at work, right in my own family. And worst of all, I was so focused on what I thought I needed to do that I missed what my Creator had already done.
I think I’ll tattoo Psalm 90:17 on my forearm, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us– yes, establish the work of our hands.”
In my weakness- in my frailty- He reminded me that it’s not all up to me. Even on my worst days, He is faithful. So for today, I’m not hiding my loser Mom moments, I’m posting them right here for the world to see and holding my head high because It never was me that made my measly efforts successful…It was Him.