**The following is not a plea for pity. The note I received from a reader was kindly written and received without offense. I’m sharing a snippet of it here, with permission, because I believe it’s worth addressing.**
Here is what she said:
“While I believe you have a knack for writing, I’m bothered that your stories always have a happy ending. What about those of us who don’t get to the happy part for any number of reasons? What you mean for encouragement is somehow discouraging to me since life in my home rarely looks like what it seems to in yours.”
Herein lies the danger of the internet. We only see what we’re shown. You only read what I write.
You can’t possibly know how very real my life is. You couldn’t begin to imagine how different it probably is in my home than it appears in my feed. You can’t know because I don’t come here to saddle you with my burdens but to encourage you in yours.
Because, yes, real life is filled with failures. It’s full of falling downs and not wanting to get back ups. It’s all part of the revised plan and has been since sin was first introduced.
We’re all wading through the same mud. It’s deep and it’s slippery and it doesn’t even have to be raining for us to suddenly realize we’re knee-deep in a heap of it.
If you took an honest peek in my home you’d find toddlers having meltdowns, girls spouting tears for no conceivable reason, boys with way too much testosterone, teens with mood swings to rival any PMS out there, and a baby who clearly believes it’s child abuse if he’s not being held. Every single day carries its own struggles and trials and moments where I want to throw in the towel. Some days even find me melting in my own tears as I lament to my husband how we’re ruining our children.
Graceful mothering at its best, right? Obviously, no. But there’s more to the story. And if we stop reading we’ll never get to the good stuff.
Sadly, we’re so much better at wallowing in the bad stuff.
I use this space to write largely of the victories because that is where my heart thrives and grows. When I slow down enough to take notice of how God is at work, my faith sprouts and begins to blossom. Enduring the rough patches is simply the process of weeding out snares before they can take root. And if I’m faithful to weed, dirty and sweaty as the job may be, I can count on Him to water and provide the light necessary for good growth.
But if I’m so busy moaning about the weeds they’ll never get weeded.
Not long ago my daughter wrote me a note that said…I’m becoming a jerk and I don’t know what to do. I’m no different than any other mother in that I don’t want to hear my little girl is becoming a jerk. But the Lord was giving her a glimpse of her own soiled character and injecting her with a desire for change. That, my friends, is a victory. And it’s the kind of victory that opens the door to more victories.
I can choose to stew over the fact that my little girl is hyper-sensitive or too quick to cry or a bit hard on her younger sister. Or I can choose to celebrate the fact that she is seeking after change. That her heart yearns for cleansing. That she’s reaching the age at which she has begun to be responsible for her own spiritual condition.
Totally worth celebrating and absolutely counts as a victory.
We all smell suspiciously of mud on occasion. Whether it’s the art of parenting or marrying or working or resting, we tend to make a mess of it on our own. Because it was never, ever meant to be done on our own anyway. Keep reading your story looking for the good stuff and He’ll keep writing it until you find your happy ending, at last!
And please don’t ever be discouraged by anything I write. Take heart knowing it takes a whole lot of yuck to get to the yum in this house, too.