In spite of how amazing life has been lately, I have to admit that I’ve felt like a pretty bad mom these last couple weeks. Far From Here released, my mom had major surgery, Aaron traveled for work, we had a big fundraiser for school, not to mention hockey tournaments, a radio tour, interviews, and so much more. It’s hard balancing all the many aspects of a full and beautiful life, and though I know I should savor every day, sometimes I feel like I’m barely hanging on. But I came across this old blog post when I was feeling at my worst… And it spoke grace over me. I don’t know where you are today, if you’re on top of the world or kickin’ it in the gutter, but I hope that this little message of hope is meaningful all the same. It was to me.

(First posted on 10/22/10)

Though I love being an author, I would definitely say that my motherhood defines me more than any other aspect of my life. Someone once said that being a mom is like giving your heart permission to exist outside of your body, and I could not agree more with that sentiment. Every day when my eldest takes off for school and my preschooler packs his backpack for a morning of playtime and learning, my heart follows them out the door. And when I lay my baby down for a nap, I can almost feel the ache of the distance between us. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I wonder if that’s why I sit on the far side of the couch in the living room–the side that is closest to his bedroom. Or why I turn up the monitor so loud I can hear every breath he takes.

However, as much as I love my children, I never quite feel confident as a mom. I fail them so much. Yesterday (after hours of hearing them whine and cry–it must have been a full moon), I yelled at my kids so loud I’m sure the neighbors heard. Actually, I am sure the neighbors heard–they were gardening in their backyard and all our windows were open. Bad mom. And sometimes I’m tired and I just can’t handle another “Why?” question. Why do we put gas in the car? Why can’t I have a friend over? Why aren’t we having something good for supper? Why did you put puppy seeds (translation: poppy seeds) in those muffins? So I put on PBS Kids and plunk them in front of the TV for half an hour. Bad mom. And though I try to feed my children healthy food, teach them good habits, read to them every day, and be Jesus for them in each and every situation, sometimes we have Macaroni & Cheese with hot dogs, I let them burp at the table, we watch Funniest Home Videos, and I fall short, fall short, fall short. Bad mom.

But the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He takes my meager motherly offerings and infuses them with his own amazing grace in ways that I will never understand. How can I be such a failure of a mom and still continue to watch my children grow in beauty and grace?

This morning my 1st grader was writing in his journal before school. He forgot it on the counter when his carpool showed up in our driveway, and I was blessed enough to have the opportunity to pick it up for him. It was open to a page with this written on it:

God has a plan for me. And I know it. God tolkt (talked) to my dad. And I thank (think?) God will tolk to me. My dad and mom love God.

Oh. My. Goodness. Wow. That’s better than hitting #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Better than a trip around the world or a million dollars. Better than… well, anything. Thank you, Lord, for moving in wonderful, mysterious ways. And thanks for whispering your grace into my children’s hearts even when I yell.

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