Most nights, as my neck finds the curve of my contoured pillow, I close my eyes and breathe in the quiet that has finally found me. The stillness is almost surreal after a day of so much noise.
It’s in the silence where moments of my day start to replay. Some are filled with laughter and smiles and silly dance moves and childhood humor (read: any sentence with the word “fart” inserted. my kids will roll).
But others are filled with conflict and failure, starring the less than desirable version of myself.
Today, I yelled.
I slammed a kitchen cabinet.
I reacted instead of responding.
I rolled my eyes.
I used sarcasm and a condescending tone.
And I certainly didn’t use the calm, strong voice my therapist suggests.
I allowed the crushed goldfish on my sticky floor and the wiping of my toddler’s messy hands on my cute throw pillow to spin my attitude in a direction I was hoping to avoid when my soul met the sunrise.
In the dark, I’m feeling less than qualified to run this race of motherhood.
I’m overwhelmed with everything. Everything.
I’m second-guessing my decisions and I’m anticipating years of therapy that lie ahead for each of my kids.
I wish you could see me in my darkest moments so I could fall from this pretentious pedestal I’ve been placed on by those viewing my steps from afar.
Actually, no, I pray you never see me behind closed doors.
It’s ugly sometimes.
I’m ugly sometimes.
I know you have these times too. Moments you wish you could redo, words you want to snatch back and actions that reflect anything other than what you always dreamed motherhood would make you.
My toes are teetering on the cliff as the boulder of my poor choices barrels toward my worn out frame. And its now, in the enveloping black of night, when I doubt my ability to mother these broken babies tossed into my unsteady embrace.
But Jesus, right?
In his gentleness, he draws me in and holds all of my guilt. I heave a sigh through pursed lips and reset my gaze. But it’s still so much. So wearing.
And that’s just motherhood.
Throw some foster kids in the mix and you can’t imagine the mess.
Or maybe you can.
Or you’re trying…because you’ve thought once or twice or a million times about being a foster parent. You’ve felt the tug to step into the sinking sand but you just don’t feel up to the challenge. What if these steps are full of unsightly seconds you will etch into the hearts of kids in your care?
There is hope. And there is freedom.
Freedom to be flawed.
So much freedom, mama.
Even with your imperfect actions, lives can be changed. Don’t get cemented into your safe seat just because you think it takes a mama who has it all together to hero her way through this hike.
You are necesary. With all of your baggage and blemishes. We need you. They need you. Foster kids and failing families are dying while you wait and wonder.
Let your inadequacies ignite a need for Jesus. In every moment of chaos and crazy. In every encounter with envy and greed and exhaustion. In the emotions of everyday crap, run fast, friend. Swim to the deep waters of defiant attitudes and death stares. Kids know how to push all the buttons. Amiright?
But you are free in this fight because Jesus set you free.
So rest in the truth today. And start tomorrow again.
In him, there is freedom, freedom to be flawed.