We don’t have to look very far to see what’s going wrong. It all feels heavy, dire and needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
Where do we start? Who do we help? What can we possibly do to make a small dent for good in this gut-wrenching broken world? Would it even make a difference?
We often fall into the trap of two not-so-helpful choices:
…draining what little time and energy we have getting stuck trying to figure out what is most crucial
…crumpling under the sheer magnitude of all the horror.
There’s a third option. A much better one: make the world a better place because we are in it. Plain and simple.
It REALLY does NOT matter what we choose to invest ourselves in. We might care about clean water for the planet, special education needs in our communities, or our child struggling with normal every-day life.
It can be a big-world, local community or one-person issue. We, all by our sweet selves, can be a powerful force for good.
We’ve already done it thousands of times, most of it small and seemingly insignificant: a smile, a hug, a word of encouragement, a meal made, a listening ear, a thoughtful gift.
No, we can’t do everything. But we can do something. And that is lots better than doing nothing.
You see, all those tiny, supposedly inconsequential moments of good grow into the huge life stories of hope, change and restoration.
The good beats back the bad one choice at a time, one person at a time. It’s not insignificant after all. It’s essential.
I’m not sure where your passion lies, what sets your soul on fire, what your heart longs to see restored.
Be encouraged, my friend.
Your “cup of water” for one “thirsty” person will send ripples of life-changing goodness into the world. Trust the ripple.
From bad choices.
From all that’s wrong with the world.
It feels really good.
For the moment.
But I know it’s not good.
For their hearts.
Because when I am their savior,
I am also “saving” them…
From good choices.
From all that’s right with the world.
Doesn’t sound like much saving in the end.
Then what’s the point of this motherhood gig?
If it’s not for saving?
Hang on a minute.
Wait for it.
Wait for it.
What’s that still small voice whispering inside?
What’s that “aha moment” I can’t deny?
Has motherhood saved me?
bringing me JOY that I’ve never known before
revealing PATIENCE as I stumble along in the unknown
breathing HOPE when I need it the most
reminding me of BEAUTY in the ordinary moments
granting KINDNESS when I can’t find any in myself
allowing me to experience unconditional LOVE
opening my heart to see the tenderness of good good GOD
It’s 1 am.
My five-month old cries out from her crib.
Not another night of this!
It’s been three weeks since I’ve had more than 3 hours of sleep in a row. God, HELP me! HELP them!
I am barely functioning anymore, bags under my eyes the size of grapes!
I don’t think I can take it anymore! I am SO done!
It’s 1 am.
My kindergartener screams from his room.
Why does this keep happening?
The nightmares are getting worse! God, HELP me! HELP them!
Am I doing something wrong?
I don’t have any idea what to do! I am SO done!
It’s 1 am.
My 10-year old shouts “MOMMY!” at the top of his lungs.
His jammy bottoms are soaked.
He’s wet the bed again. God, HELP me! HELP them!
I’ve already called the doctor five times.
Nothing is working! I am SO done!
It’s 1 am.
I haven’t heard from my new driver’s license holder since 7 pm.
Her curfew is 11 pm. She knows better than this!
Is she hurt? Is she drunk? Is she alive? God, HELP me! HELP them!
I never knew this mom gig would be SO hard!
Will I ever get sleep? Will I ever stop worrying? I am SO done!
It’s 1 am.
My cell phone vibrates on the nightstand. I ignore it.
It’s vibrates again and again. I finally pick it up. Hello?
The campus security guard is on the other end. My daughter was found passed out on the sidewalk, having had WAY too much to drink. God, HELP me! HELP them!
This is un(freaking)believable! She will be the death of me!
What in the world am I supposed to do now? I am SO done!
It’s 1 am.
My eyes refuse to close in sleep.
My son has been furloughed from his job.
This pandemic is wrecking everything. He was doing so well and now this!!! God, HELP me! HELP them!
What is going to happen?
Even if he gets his sales back, will any business have the money to buy advertising? UGH! I am SO done!
It’s 1 am. I lay awake on my bed.
I can’t believe the text I got from my son this afternoon.
I burst into tears as I read it, gratitude bubbling up and leaking out! GOD, you’ve HELPED me! You’ve HELPED them! It keeps happening! Every single time!
You love him even more than I do! You are our great and only HOPE! I am SO UNDONE!
Inner Critic: “You cannot stay on a workout regimen save your life.”
Inner Cheerleader: “Start with 15 minutes again tomorrow. You’ve done it before . You can do it again. ”
Inner Critic: “Your friends are probably so angry with you because you are not checking in with them as much as you used to. It’s your fault if they don’t stick around.”
Inner Cheerleader: “You have had to narrow down how much you are pouring out into people for your own well-being. You’ve done that so that you can be a better friend.”
Inner Critic: “You should NOT spend so much at the grocery store. You need to stick to a list.”
Inner Cheerleader: “It costs just a bit more to eat healthy, which has been a goal for you and your family. Keep up the good work!”
Inner Critic: “I can’t believe you are so racist?”
Inner Cheerleader: “You are learning to listen to those who are not like you. You will grow and change. You always have.”
Inner Critic: “Why do you tell people you have a good marriage? You just had another fight with your husband.”
Inner Cheerleader: “Look how far you have come from the early days. You’ve seen how sometimes conflict brings closeness. You have helped so many other couples because you can admit you struggle too.”
Inner Critic: “You will never get to those boxes in the basement that need to be organized.”
Inner Cheerleader: “You have been sorting through many things in your life, not all of them visible to the outside world. You will get to it when you are ready.”
Inner Critic: “You know that cookie you ate? You blew it again.”
Inner Cheerleader: “You know that cookie you ate? Good for you for showing yourself it’s not about perfection, but about grace.”
Inner Critic: “You didn’t set good boundaries again with your kids. When will you get this right?”
Inner Cheerleader: “Being a mom is a hard job, no matter how old your kids are. Boundaries are tricky and complicated and you are really doing what you think is right in each different situation. Also, you are really good at saying you are sorry when you blow it.”
Inner Critic: “Why do you even bother to give advice? To share your heart? To try to make a difference?”
Inner Cheerleader: “You don’t do it because you have it all together. You do it because you are broken too and it’s in this broken place that we all heal each other.”
WHICH VOICE HEAPS SHAME AND DESTROYS? WHICH VOICE WHISPERS GRACE AND BRINGS HEALING?
You mean more to me than you will ever know. I count it a privilege that you ever take time out of your schedule to read the words that I pen, words that I agonize over, words that I edit and re-edit, words that I pray bring hope and healing to your heart and your home.
In that vain, I want you to know that my vision and mission has not changed and will not. I make these promises to you afresh, so that you have confidence when you “click” on something I’ve written, knowing my heart is for you and its desire is to bring you hope and healing in a hurting world.
I promise to do my best to take the posture of Jesus before I hit “send,” or “post” or “share.”
The posture of GRACE, the one that speaks tenderness to all, including myself, the one that conquers shame.
The posture of PEACE, the one that refuses to add fear and hate, the one that promotes reconciliation in every form.
The posture of KINDNESS, the one that sees beyond the outward actions to the inward suffering.
The posture of HUMILITY, the one that listens and learns, the one that serves and changes, bringing redemption to me and to you.
The posture of LOVE, the one that is the pure foundation, the one that moves each of us from brokenness to wholeness.
Lastly, the posture of HOPE, the one that shines light in the darkness, the one my heart needs every single day.
My heart is with you, my friend. I want this to be the safest place on the internet. We will continue to move on this journey of hope and healing together.
Thank you for reading. It means the absolute world to me.
I angrily pleaded, shouting in my mind, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME ANYWAY?
His gentle answer surprised me.
You have it all wrong, backwards in fact. It’s the question I’ve been waiting to ask you. What do YOU want from ME? What do YOU need? As a mom? As a wife? As a friend? As a woman? As a human? What do YOU need today?
Really, Jesus? Really? Cause I have a whole list. You ready?
I’m tired. Tired of holding it together. Tired of the extra work. Tired of the mental load. I NEED STRENGTH.
I’m confused. Not sure what to do in this new normal I find myself in. I NEED WISDOM.
I’m irritable. Emotions flying off the wall and out of my mouth. Cranky. I NEED PATIENCE.
I’m sad. Sad that so much good has been taken away. I’m really sad. I NEED JOY.
I’m afraid. It’s scary out there and even here in my own head. I NEED PEACE.
I’m discouraged. Everywhere I turn, it seems like bad news is being shouted loudly. I NEED HOPE.
This time around, His gentle answer did NOT surprise me, because it’s been buried deep in my heart for SO long, just waiting to emerge.
I’ve got all of this IN SPADES for you. Truth be told, I AM ALL OF THIS.
I am STRENGTH. I am WISDOM. I am PATIENCE. I am JOY. I am PEACE. I am HOPE.
There is plenty of ME to go around. I will give YOU all that YOU need today, because what YOU really need is ME.