You know that draining feeling of longing to get it all right but not?
Needing all the lines to fall into place, but they’re all mixed up?
Falling to your knees in desperation, thinking you’re not cutting it as a mother?
Do you know that curiosity of looking up and wondering how the Lord sees you?
I do. Before becoming the mother of triplets, I spent years believing I disappointed God. That I wasn’t enough. I moved to Guatemala for almost a year when I was 26-years-old to experience a developing country first-hand and to find peace in Jesus. Just Jesus.
I remember sitting on my bed one night in Guatemala with the heat pressing in, mosquitos invading the room, and roaches nestling under the bed with a few making their way into my bed (eeks!).
I opened my Bible and that was the first time I saw it.
I’m not sure how I missed it before. It was as if Jesus reached out of the Bible and offered me His hand of grace:
“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ: You have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
Rules and perfection had drained me dry, but God’s grace came to life for me.
That night, I experienced freedom in Jesus. That is why Jesus came in the first place. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).
When I am consumed with rules over love and being the perfect mom, I am actually farther from Jesus because I’m not walking in His grace.
Fifteen years after my experience in Guatemala, with 8-year-old triplets running wild, I hold that verse close.
If anything, I need it more than ever.
I long to be the best mom I can, but I mess up so many times. In desperate moments when I catch myself uttering those harsh words, “I’m such a terrible mom,” I try to grip those words of grace that the Lord spoke to me in Guatemala.
I also think of Luke 5:30-32. When the Pharisees and teachers of the law questioned Jesus and were comfortable in their own righteousness, Jesus answered, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).
When we don’t think we have it all together, we understand our need for Jesus. And in that humility, he is present.
The Lord is here for us in the middle of the mess.
When we’ve fallen short the thousandth time by raising our voice at our kids, nagging those closest to us, settling for anger, Jesus tells us to let it go. He has taken our burden. He wants us to fall into His grace by choosing to. By apologizing if we need to and then moving on.
We are called to spend time with Jesus and read His Word because it makes our hearts more like His, but we are also called to rest in His grace.
When I’ve failed my kids, there are times I’ve had to bite my tongue not to ask repeatedly for forgiveness so that my kids understand grace doesn’t revisit the mistake—it covers it.
To chisel the idea of grace and unconditional love into my children’s hearts, I often ask them, “You know why I love you?” And then I say, “I love you because you’re you.”
I want them to know there are no limitations to my love for them.
There are no stipulations.
There are no qualifications that determine my love for them.
I just love them.
And God feels the same way about you. He simply loves you because you’re you.
In the middle of the mess, God loves the daughter you are, the mom you are, the woman you are.
He just loves you.
Christian therapists Sissy Goff and Melissa Trevathan share in their book, Raising Girls, “Families don’t have to be perfect to make a difference. In actuality, the more the lines don’t meet just right, often the more life and passion and personality that is contained within.
Girls don’t need perfection, they just need a group of people willing to walk alongside, love them, and help them transform into the women God is calling them to be.”
So, when those lines don’t meet just right and you find yourself in the middle of the mess, hear the words the Lord has spoken:
You are My chosen one; nothing can ever separate you from My love; you are fully redeemed; you are My beloved; I am your confidence; I rejoice over you; I am enthralled by your beauty; I gave My life for you; it is for freedom I have set you free.
And, when you look to the Lord, let it not be in the curiosity of how He feels about you as a daughter, as a mom, as a woman. Let it be in a peaceful smile, embracing the truth that in the middle of the mess, He loves you simply because you’re you.