I am going to blame 75% of how I’ve been feeling lately on this cold weather. And I know I can’t complain being down in Houston where instead of being -8, it’s only 20. BUT 20 DEGREES IS TOO COLD FOR ME. It gets in my bones and spreads to my heart until I’m all seized up and freezing in spirit.
I’m feeling like a failure these days as a mother, wife, and just person. (Again, give me some sun and warmth or even a beach and a virgin pina colada and I think I’d feel fine.) So this post is to cheer the cold in my bones, and I hope it also cheers the cold in yours if you find yourself having a day/week/month/year where you feel like a failure at life.
I’m also linking up with Crystal Stine’s “Behind the Scenes,” where you write about what’s going on behind a photo. None of these photos scream failure, though my feelings of it were there. (Oh, wait, ONE of them does scream failure.) But they also have something else behind them, which I hope is a bone-deep encouragement.
When you feel like a failure…LOOK UP.
There is a glory written in the skies, even when they are gray and hung low with sun-choking clouds. There is a Creator who wrote this glory and spoke its existence and knew your name before you were even a thought in your mother’s mind, before your mother was even a thought in her mother’s mind.
This moment is bigger than your failures, real or imagined. This life has a vastness and an eternity which swallows up your weakness and your heavy heart.
And yet…even in the huge sweep of sky or the ragged hem of mountains cutting across the horizon or the impossible flat edge of a plain, you are significant. Your life, your thoughts, your very being. You are created, you are loved, you are known. Look up and remember: GLORIA!
Remember your childhood with its joys and struggles and maybe even some horrors. Remember how each of these shaped you, how some of the hard memories may still haunt, but you have come through. You can now look back from somewhere new. You survived, maybe even thrived.
You are more than the mistakes your mother thinks she made, and your children will be too. She may feel that she failed you while you only remember the time you all laughed so hard that you made a scene and had to leave a diner in South Carolina. Your mistakes and failures, real or imagined, will be written into the larger story of your life and your children’s lives.
Know also that when you look back, you see how quickly time vaults forward and how you may want to pause in your current struggle to embrace this very day, before it too has gone.
When you feel like a failure…REMEMBER WONDER.
Stop looking with familiar eyes at this so-familiar life. Watch the way your children watch a flame, or a puppy, or a new experience. Take off the veil of age and weariness and the sense that you’ve seen it all.
Take a moment to look at the tiny veins in a leaf and those running through the back of your own hand. Think of the cells at this very moment growing and replicating in your body as you are reading these words. Think of language and its beauty, of song and poem, and of how we have somehow come to make sense from sound, meaning from the movement of your tongue.
He has made all things new, and will make them new still—even your old eyes and old heart. Be awed by it all as though you are yourself a child again.
When you feel like a failure…LAUGH IN FAILURE’S FACE.
When your failures and mistakes and regrets are impossible to dislodge and remove, remember a certain infamous woman in Proverbs who laughed at the days to come. You may have started a small fire or wounded a tender heart and there is real impact on your life. But His mercies? They are new every morning for you and your real failures, great and small.
Extend grace where you have wounded, in humility confess your humanity. And then replace the loud drumming of your guilt with laughter. Let the lightness of levity lift the weight of your remorse.
Laugh and your children will laugh with you, loud and long. They will remember a box of dropped spaghetti as an occasion to giggle and play pick-up-sticks. Let there be light, even in those darkest of corners.
On the days when you feel like a failure, remember that you are So. Much. More.