Step. Step. Fall. Get back up. Step. Step. Step. Fall. Get back up. You're wobbling and toddling along. Bruises dot your small frame from the unavoidable crashes you’ve taken. You are learning to walk. With such excitement and determination in your eyes, you try and try some more. I can see the improvement with each hour that passes. It's so simple, so human. Countless little ones have done just this. I knew it was coming, I just didn't know how deeply this development in you would speak to my weary spirit.
I watch you and I feel the tears forming. In part, because you’re growing and milestones like these make the fleeting nature of time come much more into focus, but there is a portion of these tears that are drawn from a deep well within my spirit, a well where the waters have been muddied by a rain of failure and unmet expectations.
A day in the life of motherhood is filled with moments that I so easily deem a success or failure. I made it to the store and back without a meltdown = success. I responded to the neediness of my child with a frazzled heart and ungracious words = failure. I prayed and surrendered my desires when the baby skipped a nap = success. I wallowed in self-pity when my day looked nothing at all like I’d planned = failure. I sometimes label these segments over the course of the day, allowing those labels to dictate my knee-jerk responses and even my decisions moving forward. This proves to be a rollercoaster, vicious cycle, tornado style of life. Up one second and down the next.
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
The reality is, as a mother, I will succeed and I will fail. Nevertheless, in either state, I am under the strong, gracious, and merciful hand of a loving Heavenly Father.
Just as you are learning to walk physically, I am learning to walk in this calling of motherhood. Falling down and tripping up is a part of the process. One might say my failure is not a sign of inadequacy; but the truth is, in and of myself I am inadequate to be the mother God is calling me to be. That goes against what the world and maybe even what some of the Church says, I know. Yet, from the very beginning of creation until now, we have desired to do whatever it takes to handle things on our own. It's that sin of pride the serpent whispered to Eve on that fateful day, and the same pride the enemy uses to beckon me to rely on anyone or anything except the only One who can support me and provide the firm foundation I need.
The strength to walk in obedience and move forward on this journey in a God-honoring manner is not something that can be mustered up by sheer desire and ambition. My human limitations and sin nature mean that I will fail whether it be from weakness, lack of knowledge, or downright foolishness when I don't choose even that which I know to be right. Only by the grace and strengthening of God’s Spirit in me will I walk under the gentle leading He offers. Yes, a choice is involved, but it is not the choice to do and to be better. It is the choice to humbly submit to the One who can sanctify.
So, you get back up. Each and every time, you get back up. The joy in the steps outweighs the fear that you may fall. Even though the tumbles occur so often and progress may seem indecipherable to you, I can see it. Your strength and stability are increasing.
May this be so for me as your momma. May I see that the joy in this calling is far more worthy of my focus than the fear of failure. Why? Simply because God is near, and on the cross He bore my past, present, and future failure that I might live abundantly in the fullness of joy that is found in Him. He is strengthening, purifying and sanctifying me even when the progress in my spirit doesn't seem to be that steady, gradual, linear incline I so desire. While I am only perceiving in part, God sees the whole. What is key is this: the consistency in "getting back up." While getting back up for you means pressing your palms to the floor and pushing yourself back up on your two chubby little feet. For me, getting back up is in the form of looking unto Jesus and boldly approaching His throne of grace in order to receive mercy and find grace to help in my time of need (Heb 4:16). Getting back up means recognizing the sin and the failure, but not staying there. Rather, picking up my head to say, "Yes, I fail, but Christ's blood shed for me covers my shortcomings and puts me in right standing before God, That is the truth I choose to walk in." May that be a testament to you, my child, that I will never be the perfect mother— and that is a grace in both my life and in yours because my shortcomings will point us both back to the unfailing, perfect, unconditional love of our Creator.
God formed you and set in motion the physical development to begin taking those steps. Just so, God formed me into a mother, He set this calling into motion. Therefore, may I draw near to Him as He draws near to me, trusting that He who began this good work of motherhood, will be faithful to complete it.
In view of God's Mercy,