Some weeks are not for the faint of heart. Juggling work, four kiddos sick with a stomach bug, end of year homeschool reports, and trying to get something productive done around the house will challenge the sanity of most parents. The problem is, I’m one of the faint hearted. I don’t have my own life figured out, not by a long shot. I definitely haven’t gotten this motherhood gig as well in hand as I’d like to pretend that I do.
And then there are the facebook posts, the articles shared… The ones that firmly declare that “messy” and “authentic” are cop-outs. That anyone admitting to how much they don’t have a pinterest-perfect life is just making excuses for laziness and sin. They can be excuses, I’ll freely admit it. Human beings will do some crazy mental gymnastics in an attempt justify anything they like! Maybe Christians weren’t called to chaos, but there are days when it seems that God has dropped me into some pretty chaotic circumstances. I’d love to say that I handle it all with grace, that I perfectly balance everything on my plate Proverbs 31 style. The truth is, I’m still a work in progress, and sometimes I just need to know that I’m not the only one out there who isn’t doing this perfectly.
That being said, simply being transparent and sharing our struggles and failures isn’t enough. Sure, it helps to know that I’m not alone in this imperfect life of mine, but what I really need is some hope. I need the second half of the story.
The blunt truth is that I can’t do this in my own strength. I’ll never be the perfect woman, wife, mom, or anything else. Not this side of Heaven anyway. I need someone to remind me of the verse on the sticky note that I have stuck to my monitor:
“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16 HCSB
When I was cleaning what felt like an endless stream of sick buckets, brewing another cup of coffee, and trying to get a little work done in the brief moments when sick kids slept, I kept repeating to myself: We do not give up. Maybe sometimes running the race just means rubbing a sick kid’s back and handing out ice pops. Maybe the best prayer you can come up with in the middle of it is just, “Lord, please give me Your strength, because I’m all out.”
We need to know that we’re not the only ones, but we also need to know that God can and will give us the grace and strength that we don’t have on our own. He’s not done with me, and he’s not done with you either. We need to be authentic without using that as an excuse for staying where we are. We’re being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and it’s not us that’s doing the transforming and renewing, it’s God at work in us. God taking our sin, mess, and brokenness, and redeeming it through the blood of Jesus. God loves us in the middle of our mess, but He also loves us too much to leave us there in the mess. (“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2 HSCB)
When you don’t have the strength, wisdom, or grace, (and none of us do!) remember that we rely on the strength, wisdom, and grace of God. God started the work of redemption in you when you trusted in the death and resurrection of Jesus to cover the guilt of your sin. Someday that work will be finished, but until then, don’t give up. Keep running the race, and keep your eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 HCSB