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Today, I got it wrong


Today was Mother’s Day, and as this day closes, I could show this happy picture of me and my kids, and tell you about my time with my extended family and how much I enjoy them. I could say how blessed I am that my kids share in my love of basketball, and how sweet they all were for making me dinner and an amazing sugar free cake. I could post my highlights from the day, because after all, it’s Mother’s Day and that’s what you do. I could put that out there for all the world to see, and to be honest, all those things would be true, but that wouldn’t feel true to me today. Today, wasn’t a part of my highlight reel. There are a lot of days that I go to bed at night with grateful and content with my life and my role as mother, and sometimes there are others where I go to bed sad and angry and resentful toward myself, because, the cold hard truth is there are days when I get it right, and there are days when I get it wrong. There are days when I connect well with my kids, when I show up for them and they see me and I see them, and all is right in the world, but there are also days, when I just plain and simply get it wrong. When everything I do seems to produce anger, and there are tears, both theirs and mine, and there are words exchanged that I don’t want to admit.

 

Although, there were so many things I could highlight about today, that wouldn’t really be true of how it felt. Today was one of those days, where I just got it wrong. Today I am writing this short piece sitting in my room isolating myself because I just can’t seem to get it right. I’m not sure what it is, but every interaction I seem to have, every hope I had for the day, everything I touch is sabotaged.

 

Just to give you a taste of what I am talking about, today I woke up realizing that I had forgotten to buy my mother-in-law a gift, and I didn’t have the food I needed for hosting lunch. I got up super early to get to the store before we went to church, but one store was closed, the other didn’t have the gift I wanted, and another still didn’t have the fruit I planned on buying. I rushed home hoping to get the groceries put away before church. I didn’t have time to eat so I grabbed a left-over coffee from the day before and jumped in the car. I made my son mad at church and earned myself some dirty looks, and couldn’t find a rhythm or key to sing with the music. After church, I ate two cookies, which was not on my diet, and definitely didn’t make me feel great. I messed up the cake I was making and had to throw out two full pans of charred batter. I forgot powdered sugar when I was at the store earlier and had to send my son to get some, yes, the same one who was already annoyed with me. In the mean time I forgot to order pizza for my in-laws to pick up and realized we had no lunch to eat, so I had to have my already annoyed son pick up fast food.  I couldn’t get the app to work so I had to have my other son help me. After lunch I got in an ugly fight with my daughter over her shoes and cussed at her. I cussed at her! That is not something I would normally do, and it made me feel horrible. I was feeling so down about the day and decided that I just wanted to go and play basketball with my family, and begged my big boys to let me play in a game with them. They were so kind and said yes, but during the game I fell down while I was trying to catch the ball and embarrassed them and myself. To make it even worse, I got super mad that they didn’t try hard enough after that because they were embarrassed to play with their fat, old, mom, and I yelled at them all the way home. Once we were home, I tried to get them to help me with dinner and ended up yelling some more and making everyone who was already hurting because of my attitude on the drive home feel even worse. It was at that point that I decided to go and hide. Every interaction I had just seemed to be filled with judgement and hate. I tried to tell myself all the reasons why my rotten attitude was their fault and how if they did more for me as a mother on Mother’s Day, it would have been a better day. I tried wallowing in how mean they were to me, but then I realized I was the one who raised them and that just made me feel worse. I tried to be angry at my husband for being silent and not defending me, but I knew my behavior wasn’t worth defending and I had to just sit and cry, because I really just got it wrong, all of it.

 

As I sat there crying, I heard the accuser say what a horrible mother I am and how selfish, and mean, and awful I am. Then I felt him pile guilt and shame all over me, and let me tell you, I wanted so bad to sit in it, to live in it, to allow it to make me bitter and angry. I wanted to own tonight that I didn’t just get it wrong, but that I am inherently wrong. I wanted to own tonight that I hadn’t just messed up today, but that I am messed up and that I will never get it right. But as I sat here in my room listening to my family try to resurrect Mother’s Day in the other room, a thousand different conversations I have had with mom’s just like me rang in my head. Conversations where I tell women that mom guilt is from the Devil and not useful for producing good things. Where I reminded them that our guilt leads to their resentment. I played over the number of times I have told people how I chose to capture my thoughts and walk away from guilt and shame because I know how important it is that I fail as a mother because if I was perfect, then they wouldn’t ever need God in their lives. I thought back over the conversations where I tell them it is when I screw up that I remind them that I am not God, and He is indeed good, and He always gets it right and I do not.


If I were to be honest with you on this exhausting Mother’s Day, I would tell you that one of the only things I did right today, was to own that I got it wrong and confess that to my kids. One of the only redeeming things about today was that I didn’t let the lie of Satan sneak its way in and sabotage my parenting and I captured my thoughts and redirected them for good. I got it right when after I went back out with my family, I asked them to forgive me for my selfish, angry behavior. But unfortunately, there just isn’t a great picture of the family to capture the moment when I admitted how ugly and hateful, I was. The reality is my true highlight reels from today wouldn’t make for a great story on Facebook or reel on Instagram. It would actually be a very humbling, honest, depiction of a fallen woman, who sometimes just gets it wrong,

 

I am choosing to share this tonight, when I am tired and not thinking clearly, not because I think it will be my best written work, but because I want you to know that sometimes all of us get it wrong, no matter what is posted on our Stories. Sometimes, the best we can hope for is to point to our actions and say, “Kids, today is proof that I am not God, and even though I hurt you and let you down, I need you to know that He won’t.” It is so important that we be honest about it when we mess up and choose to accept our humanity. When we do that, we can choose to let go of the weight of guilt and shame, and ask the Lord to redeem it for His good. If we lie to ourselves and choose to believe that no one else gets it wrong, we tend to view ourselves differently, and we operate under the weight of it, but ladies what I am saying to you about it is true. Guilt and shame never produce change, they only produce resentment in those we feel most guilty towards. If we choose to allow these emotions to breed on our worst days, we will likely face so many more worse days and the cycle will never end.

 

So, even though I am tired and I know there are dozens of mistakes in this, I am going to choose to publish this piece anyway, because I need you to see that even when I get it wrong, God can use my humility to make it right. He can use my failings to draw others closer, and He isn’t waiting for me to be perfect to use me, He is waiting for me to be willing to admit that I get it wrong, so that others can learn the joy and freedom that comes from knowing that we are not God, we won’t be perfect, and it’s okay to just simply have a time when we get it wrong. He is waiting for me to understand that the answer to those mistakes isn’t guilt and shame, but conviction and admission. It’s keeping our eyes on our redeemer and not on our mistakes, and it is being able to ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged, and point them to our savior in the process.


It is okay if you didn’t have a good day, if you were a bad parent today. It is okay if you messed up and if you hurt your kids in the process, some days you do that. But what isn’t okay is believing that those mistakes are who you are, and deciding to live in guilt and shame because of it. Capture those thoughts and step into the freedom of what it looks like to not be perfect. Allow yourself time to understand that the key to healing comes from humility and not guilt and shame. Allow yourself space to be okay with not doing it right and then move on, or rather, move forward to what God is asking of you next. Today, you may have gotten it wrong, but you can trust that God never has, and He is holding you up and redeeming all that was lost.


I am editing this post to add...this post wasn't all about my failures or about the ways I beat myself up, it was about being honest with my failure, in hopes that others would see a path out of guilt and shame even when they get it wrong, and hope that other will see how guilt and shame try to rob us of God's redemption. My kids heard a heartfelt apology from me and they gave one to me as well. I could have just left it at that, but I knew that there was more potential redembtion for others if I was brave enough to tell everyone how I didn't get it right, but that I am still moving forward. I hope people can see that and know that it's okay to get it wrong sometimes, it is what you do with the wrong that is important.

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