To the Momma who Feels like a Failure

I was doing my best to make this week feel equal parts festive and holy.  I have been digging deep into our craft closet and even deeper into the basement of my being to find some scraps to make our Spring Break shine despite the COVID cloud.

We made pretzels and quickly consumed them. We hosted our first ever Family Lip Sync battle (no cameras were allowed, thankfully). I even slept (more like did not sleep) in a blanket fort last night with my youngest son and the stuffed otter he is convinced he is training.

But today I hit a wall. I am tired. I am grumpy. And, despite my best efforts, I feel like I failing.  With all the helpful suggestions of ways to better homeschool and use this strange time, I find my heart drowning in comparison and crushed with expectations.

Our activity for the day was supposed to feature a happy family making Easter ornaments from salt dough to paint and hand out to neighbors.  Only my boys did not want to help make them. And we did not have any cookie cutters except Ninjas (because  I mother three boys). What was supposed to be shiny and sanctified came out lumpy and  bumpy. “Neighbor, here is a Ninja ornament because Christ knocked the tar out of Satan!” is not quite what I had envisioned.

cookie fail

I imagine I am not the only one who feels like they are failing.

Good news, my friends. Holy Week has so much room for our failures, our lack, our limitations.  Our short tempers and our tired tears can be far better ways to lead our children to the cross than a set of resurrection eggs.

In Psalm 73, David talks about being a brute beast before the Lord. I can relate far more to this side of David than the giant-slaying side. I love David’s rawness with the Lord and his shocking realization that even in his beast mode, the Lord’s presence was continually  with him.

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right  hand. You guide me with  your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides  you. My flesh  and my heart may fail,  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:21-26.

In my desire to dig deep and conquer this Quarantine Spring Break, I began like an excited puppy and ended like a brute beast. But the Lord is with me. And He is with my children. He is the head of our home, its cornerstone.

When the continual presence of my children during this COVID season brings out the beast in me rather than the best of me, God is continually with me and them.

Unmet expectations on all sides pick our eyes up from lesser things and set them on the One who meets all our expectations through His perfect love.

I know these things. The Lord teaches me them on the regular. But today, I needed a fresh application of these timeless realities. I needed to remember that what my children need more than an exciting day or a disciplined homeschool teacher is Christ. They need to see real confession of real sin and the freedom of real forgiveness from a real Savior. Thankfully, I can provide that from even in my failures.

I needed my own heart to remember that the point of painting those little dough crosses was to help my children remember and celebrate the Christ who carried an awful cross for our real failures.

After a few minutes to confess to the Lord and cling to the gospel, I am not ready to paint those bumpy, lumpy dough crosses from a spirit of freedom and wonder. Oh, how I pray  that my boys would know the Christ who faithfully walks with their faltering parents.

May our feet which continually run to the cross leave a foot trail for our children to follow.


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