Motherhood has taught me a valuable lesson.
I will fail. And that’s okay.
Before having my daughter I made very successful choices. I made decisions and judgments based on whether or not I knew in advance that I would succeed. If it was questionable, if there was a chance I could fall on my face, I passed. God opened a lot of doors that I chose to ignore because it didn’t seem like the safe choice.
While carefully selecting the easy road made me look good, with fancy titles that grew as I climbed the corporate ladder, it never felt right. It felt easy, but empty.
When God gave us our daughter, my life changed. No longer could I control the outcome of every situation. No longer was I able to choose the easy, successful road. There was no way to guarantee that she would sleep well, eat when she was supposed to, develop and hit all of her milestones. As much as I tried to prepare for the big moments and the little details, God had other plans.
I would fail.
I would cry too much, yell too much, forget to pack the diaper bag. I would feel guilty, frustrated, desperate for sleep. I would try to move her from her baby tub too soon and create a child who is terrified to sit in the bathtub. I would feel guilty for letting her cry and guilty for going in to sooth. I would read parenting books and feel like a failure, and I would try to do what they told me to do and feel – again – like a failure. I would look at Pinterest. And that’s all I need to say about that.
I doubt nearly every decision we make, from the type of food to feed our daughter to what time she should go to bed. I have failed. But motherhood has taught me that – not only is it okay – there is grace.
In the middle of the failure I have learned to lean into God. I have learned to pray deep, earnest prayers at early morning hours with a sick baby snuggled on my chest. I have learned that there is something special about the grace and hope that comes with the rising of the morning sun, when even the worst nights can turn into moments of joy when those big brown eyes look at me in love.
My daughter? She doesn’t see me as a failure. She doesn’t care about the titles mommy used to hold, she doesn’t care about the accolades, the money, the things the world considers important. She cares that I’m there in the morning to do it all again – not as a woman who feels like a failure, but as mommy. And God? He doesn’t see me as a failure either. He sees me as His daughter, a woman – flaws and all – who has been created in His image. In this journey of motherhood there will be moments of success, to the glory of God and not by my own design.
As my daughter grows older I want her to see me choosing the harder road, the one that doesn’t promise success. I want her to see me fail, and still give honor to God. I want her to see me waking up weary and doing the hard things again the next day – not because I think I will succeed, but because it’s the kingdom work God has for me. I will fail. And it will be okay.