Monday, February 22, 2010

The Messy Truth

My mothering skills last week rivaled Joan Crawford's performance in Mommy Dearest. Sadly, it wasn't acting for me. It was real life. It was one of those weeks in which stress, sickness, sleep deprivation, and selfishness created a perfect storm.

I snapped...more times than I can remember.

By Thursday I collapsed on my bed in tears. I said to myself, I can't do this. I don't want to do this.I wondered why God gave me these precious children to teach and nurture. Surely someone else could do better.

Too enraged and distraught to even pray, I did the worst thing I could do...I went on about my day, trying and failing time and again in my own strength.

And every time I failed, every time I said and did things that were wrong and harsh and uncalled for, I sipped the toxic brew of failure. By week's end I was drunk on guilt and self-loathing, too inebriated to grasp for any rational thought whatsoever.

I tried to write and couldn't even string two words together. I was a mess.

Friday morning I read this post of Emily's. Her words couldn't have been more timely.

Shame is what happens when we let guilt fester and sink deeper and don't deal with it. Shame seeps into our skin when we aren't looking and takes our spirit hostage. And then she sits down heavy and masks herself as us so we can't tell the difference between the two. {excerpt}

I realized then that Shame had taken up residence in me, kicking Grace right on out and locking the door. The two cannot coexist. No house is big enough for the both of them.

Sometimes I think failure isn't an option when you're old enough to know better. And while I am certainly old enough, I was reminded through the words of a song that I am still very much like a child, a baby even. A child who stubbornly believes she shouldn't need to be picked up and dusted off so often still by her Father.

The words coated my still-fresh wounds with healing truth...

And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes you
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live.*

Some falls are worse than others. At times it's the sheer frequency of the falls that make it so hard. Some weeks I feel as if I never make it up off the floor before I stumble again, tripping over the mess I haven't allowed Grace to clean up.

So I'm in the process of cleaning house. And like some of those hoarders you see on TV, I'm finding that it can be hard to let go of the stuff that caused the clutter and mess in the first place. Ironic.

Thankfully, Grace doesn't care how messy it is. In fact, Grace works best in a mess...and she never says that you're old enough to know better.

And thank you, Emily. Your words helped give voice to my own and enabled me to at last string two words together...and then some.


*Come to Jesus by Chris Rice


  1. ick. Sounds like you had a rough week. Thank goodness for new beginnings! Thanks for sharing. I'm not alone!!!!!

  2. I admire your honesty. Hard days (or weeks) like that can really take it's toll on your mind and soul. I wish you a better week!

  3. thank you for your honesty. for some reason it is so hard for me to step away and go and pray. because you are right, i often try to do it in my own strength. i wrote a post on this last week too! too would be nice to have coffee in real life because we would have a lot to talk about:)

  4. i can't believe it's a white!!! we recently repainted with all greys from benjamon bedroom is wedgewood gray and it looks blue. i do love it though.

    we did edgecomb gray throughout the main living areas and i love it so much too!!!

    i'm going to remember your color though-it is so cheerful and warm!

  5. thank you, i needed to read that.
    His mercies are new every morning...

  6. In the midst of what you see as a mess, there are others reading your honest words and being lifted up by the fact that they are not alone. And best of all, you turn to Jesus. Luv, your mother-in-law

  7. Wow. So well said. Bless you!!!

  8. I love that song. Praying that you are able to do all of the "cleaning" you need to this week.

  9. Oh, honey. You are not alone.

    I bookmarked that post of Emily's. I've already gone back and re-read it twice. I'm guessing a lot of us needed that.

    I'd never before really thought about the difference between guilt and shame. I, too, think that guilt can sometimes be helpful--a little nudge, a little reminder to re-think. But shame? Oh, gosh, how I struggle with it. And it is so destructive.

    I do love that Chris Rice song; thanks for reminding me of it. Emily's post made me think of a song, too: do you know it?

    Grace to you
    Grace to you
    May grace abound in all you do--
    Grace to do the will of the Father
    Grace, grace to you.

    You. are. doing. the. will. of. the. Father. May grace pour over you as you do it.

    Love you,

  10. Oh, so familiar! You wrote it well and true, though.

  11. Scooper,
    Thank you for writing this post.
    You are such a gifted writer. He has given you an outlet to express your thoughts, but also to aid other strugglers in their journey, too.
    This fellow so-journer needed this very song today!
    Peace to you, my friend.

  12. I love this song from Chris Rice. We do need to fall on Jesus and live. Thankfully He is always right beside us, waiting for us to come to Him. Thanking God today for his never ending grace.

  13. Arg... This post made my ovaries cringe. I heart your blog, and genuinely hope your week has improved.

    Just so you know, I would have already eaten the babies (so you're doing pretty well in my opinion!)

  14. Thank you for sharing this. While I am so very sorry you had to experience the lousy week, I am always amazed by God's perfect timing. My best friend today had to experience a very painful day of parenting a foster child. I can't wait share this post with him as encouragement ... not only for the reminder about God's grace, but also that even birth parents struggle with the same feelings. :)

  15. Love your words. Even though I'm an empty nester I reflect back to the times when my children were young and having all those same feelings flooding back to me. With our Father in Heaven's encouragement "this too shall pass". Know that times get better and your children will remember all those "wonderful" experiences your creating for them now. Good luck!


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