Sometimes it's hard to find words. To this moment all I can come up with is: Wow.
I mean really... WOW.
Sometimes I say, "I don't have to be perfect, because Jesus already was." And I believe it, much of the time. Comfort myself with it when I have lost control of my mouth after 8 hours with a Stubborn Teenager Who Does Not Want to Study For Finals and Goes Into the Bathroom to Hide- (for the umpteenth time).
I mean, really. Who can be perfect in the face of such madness?
In this season my primary ministry is my family, and this is where self-criticism strikes deepest. One of my sons struggles with a number of health issues, including depression. The fall of 2014 was particularly traumatic for us as a family as we desperately sought how to help him. Part of my own process was battling guilt. Guilt over how stressed and anxious and cranky and unpleasant I was during a season when my husband was an ocean away in a war zone. Being shot at. Repeatedly.
I was more than a hot mess. I was a train wreck. I held fear close, lost my temper way too much, and was my own definition of a bad mom. During the dark days of stumbling through treatment of my son's depression, the enemy of my soul relentlessly accused me: this depression was my fault- because I was a bad mom when he was small.
The enemy has a knack for taking a small grain and twisting it into a reckless tornado. Dear Jesus, help me know the truth from a lie.
I love my kids and one of my deepest longings has been to get this parenting thing right. But I am not perfect. Not by a long shot. While I have grown in patience over the years, and learned Where to release my fears, and WHO is my Source, I still have those days.
Of course I do, because none of us is even remotely close to perfect. We are flawed individuals rubbing up against each others' sandpaper, and trying to do family the best we know how. If we get anything right, it would be that we four have learned The Power of The Apology. Perhaps this is the greatest contribution we will give to the world.
"I am sorry I lost my temper over__ (something that seemed relatively small to you)__. (Moving closer in relationship and sharing the load: I am stressed and worried about _____________. Can we pray together?
So, you' re welcome, Dear Sweet Soul. I am not perfect. Thank YOU, for I can take a deep breath and reflect:
God does not expect me to be perfect.
Grace is enough.
I can let myself off the hook.