It seems like it’s never good enough.
Any of it.
We work hard – but not hard enough. We love well – but still not enough. We serve and smile and share and schedule, yet we can still feel like we’ve failed – miserably – every day.
With Mother’s Day approaching, I’m reminded of so many Mother’s Days that only confirmed for me that I’m not good enough. I used Mother’s Day as a measurement to determine whether or not I was worthy to celebrate. And I always decided I wasn’t.
I felt tired and defeated. And I felt sure, if I truly was a mother to be celebrated, I wouldn’t feel so worn out.
BUT ONE AFTERNOON, IN THE MIDDLE OF A PILE OF OLD CLOTHES, MY PERSPECTIVE CHANGED.
Cleaning out clothes I found this little shirt. All four of my boys wore it at one time or another. The shirt shows its wear. Torn sleeves. Cracked paint. Faded colors.
Years and years of wear and tear have left this shirt completely worn out. And as this shirt lay limp in my hands, years of memories flooded my soul.
I thought of the smiles and giggles when I played peek-a-boo pulling the shirt over each little boy’s head. I remembered the times I found Daddy in the crib with the boys when they were suppose to be asleep! Tears ran down my cheeks as I cherished the embrace of little arms around my neck and heads on my shoulder as we sang one last song before bed.
I knew there wasn’t a child between the threads, but I held this shirt up to my cheek and hugged it anyway. Because day after day, year after year, I wove pieces of my heart into this shirt. As I covered my boys’ bodies with its fabric, I layered their souls with my love. No matter how imperfect.
A WORN OUT LIFE DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL ONE THAT’S RUN OUT.
Though the fabric of this shirt showed signs of being worn out, the life that stretched the threads did not. And I think so often our lives are not much different.
Tired hands still try. Weak arms open wide. Foggy eyes light up with love. And unbrushed teeth (sometimes) still glow with joy.
We can celebrate a worn out life, because a worn out life celebrates grace poured out.
The unthinkable gift of God’s grace poured out on us through Jesus, so that we may soak the life of another. Grace to see a need and meet it. To hold and nurture it. To take a hand and guide it.
My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (VOICE)
As I waded through the overwhelming blessings of each little boy and their days in this shirt, I realized something – I can’t remember even one moment of frustration. Not one memory of exhaustion or feeling overwhelmed.
It’s not that those times weren’t there. I absolutely felt tired and defeated some of those days. I just didn’t remember them. The blessings of those days overwhelmed the burdens, and my memory only soaked in the oceans of love and laughter.
So I want to tell you –
WORN OUT ISN’T ALWAYS A BAD THING.
We don’t have what it takes, but God’s grace is sufficient – for us, and for our kids.
And because God’s grace is sufficient, no matter how hard today might be, once you weather this storm you may only remember the rainbow at the end.
Lord Jesus, shine your light on me, that I may reflect it onto my children. Fill me with your grace, that I may pour it into their hearts. Cover me with your love that I may tuck my little ones beneath it, too. Strengthen my feet that I may meet this day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.