The Backstory

Yahweh is not a puny handwringing god. Rather, He is “the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity” (Isaiah 45:7a NASB). He is the Lord who does these things. He does them for our good.

God orchestrates all the corners of my life to bring about my self-realization and an increasing awareness of His love. He changes everything. In the process, He expands my awareness that He is glorious. The autoimmune diseases that open my eyes and provoke this growth were determined by God to be the best course for my good. As sure as one season follows another, God remakes me into the woman He always intended me to be. I’m learning to be me.

I have a lot to learn! My goal was to be the perfect mother. I was going to fix it for all time. I would invest every ounce of my energy and self to do this most important job absolutely right. I, yes I, would succeed where all others had failed. Go ahead and laugh. Of course, I failed in many ways, and I still do. My broken humanity frequently gets in the way.

Even at our best, our strength is limited. There are no perfect mothers.

Every one of my ancestral mothers and grandmothers likewise failed to be perfect. We were all mothered by broken women. We mothers strive with all our might to rectify the flaws of our mothers before us, yet stumble into our own errors. Add the fact that no mother can be everywhere at the same time, nor can she be aware of every experience that impacts her child negatively. This is universal.

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Then, there’s the flip side. When I consider everything I put my mother through, I see the full picture. Of course, my kids also proved to be human, and now my grandkids likewise are human, and that will continue for generations. I guarantee it. In every family, both parents and kids are broken.

God is not surprised, nor is He disappointed in us.

This is the state of humanity, repeating for generations. He loves us because we’re like this. We need Him desperately, and His mercy extends forever.

It’s taken me a long time to grasp this elementary theological truth. Who wants to see or admit that we’re all thoroughly flawed, that if left to ourselves we will wander into sin, and that there’s nothing any of us can do to fix it?

Yet this is remarkably freeing. This is what we must see.

This is why Jesus came down to save us. He knew. All along.

He already had it in hand. His grace and mercy enlarge before my eyes as the awareness of my brokenness increases. He holds in His hands these kids and grandkids and even the great-grandkids I will never know.

They’re HIS responsibility, not mine. It’s always been this way.

Though He keeps no record of my wrongs, I certainly remember them, and I can tick off all the many errors I have made when mothering in my own strength.

Yet, softly He whispers to me, “You do your best. You don’t hold anything back. I see that. I see your sacrifices and your tears. I honor your service to Me in it. Now step back, and watch Me work.”

Of course, I step back. 

I feel as though I’m barely sticking my toes into the deep waters of this freeing reality. My goal now is to simply stay out of God’s way, to let go each time I try to seize it back. It only took me fifty-seven years to learn this lesson, and I had to get really sick to learn it. I wrote that with a smile, and He smiled with me.