I sat beside my girl and watched her pencil out letters onto the lined and dashed paper. Copywork. Carefully guiding her pencil down from the top of a lowercase d, she struggles to make this writing thing natural, still learning. And it comes out backward. I sigh and cringe inwardly and ask myself, did we really forget everything over our long Christmas break?
Some days I internalize every backward letter. Every misbehaving moment. Each selfish outburst. Motherhood, it’s all me failing. Again.
I take deep a breath and with it, a clean sheet of paper. We slow down and we practice, scratch out the letter d by itself a few more times in hopes of reminding her head and hand which direction we need them to go.
And I saw it. This is not failure, this is faithfulness. When I’m quick to judge I get it wrong, but this slow going is slow growing, faithfulness lived out.
My little girl isn’t the only one who struggles with the basics. I’m a mom to four here, which only means that I think I should have mastered something, anything, yet much of the time there appears to be far too little to show for my efforts. I still do it messy. I still lack patience and grace; I still get it all backwards.
And then I read these words.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)
He is faithful. This is my confession, my hope. My job is not perfection, my job is not to waver.
On days when I do this mothering job something ugly, He is faithful. I will not waver.
On days when dinner is late, a decent meal is non-existent, He is faithful. I will not waver.
On days when I feel like I’m failing these kids, this family, that husband, He is faithful. I will not waver.
It’s the time of the year when everything new rushes in bold and flashy. Swarms of mothers hold their color coded planners full of hopes and dreams. And it’s good. There is good in all of that planning.
But when the newness wears off, when the days get long and the plans fail, on the days when the kid gets the letter d backward and you are short on patience, know this. Our performance is never our hope, He is. He who promised is faithful, even when we aren’t.
Yes, we can plan and hope and organize. Yes, we can resolve and and set goals and give it our all. But on the days when we wreck that, on the days when we crash and burn something ugly let’s plan on remembering that he is hemming us in (Psalm 139:5), and he is forever faithful. That is a resolution you can count on.