One of my kids referred to the last 8 years as their “Mercy House childhood.” It wasn’t said to hurt me, but it was said in pain and that wound knocked the breath right out of me. I cried over the words because sometimes the truth hurts.
Sometimes we do our best and our kids still get hurt. It’s the kind of pain every parent knows.
So, that was how the first day of Christmas break went down.
Yeah, the truth hurts, but it also sets you free. Because it’s unleashed some things in me I didn’t realize were all tied up.
I don’t regret saying yes to God. I just didn’t know that I would spend the rest of my life broken. Breaking. Laying the pieces of my marriage, parenting, my pride, everything, at His feet. I keep trying to keep it all together and He pries open my hands and says lay it down, give them to me.
My child’s words rolled around in my head and I replayed them over and over. At first they bound my heart with guilt and remorse over the sacrifices my kids didn’t choose to make. On some very long days and in some very heartbreaking seasons, we carry the weight of the world even though we aren’t supposed to. Sometimes a yes can change everything. And everyone.
But then I heard it: the truth. And let me tell you, this parenting truth is setting me free this Christmas.
I remembered the path we were on as a family eight years ago and I thought about the childhood I wanted to give my kids that was full of stuff and things and a bottomless well of never being satisfied. We played the disappointing game of comparison and no matter how much we got, we only wanted more. We tried to be like everyone else and it was exhausting and disappointing.
It’s easy–especially this time of year–to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do. It’s easy to wish for something different–a home, a job, a life, even a childhood.
It made me think about my child’s words in a different way. What a gift its been to help my kids see the world and others first, to have to opportunity and resources to give. It turns out giving my kids a “Mercy House childhood” is really okay. One day I pray they see every bit of it as a gift, but today, I choose to see those words–as a gift for me.
Moms, we do the best we can with what we have. Sometimes it’s a lot and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes we are broken and make mistakes. We get it right and we get it wrong, but we keep trying. And let me tell you this: it’s okay. It will be okay because God redeems everything…our mistakes, our pain, what we can give our kids or don’t.
This Christmas, I hope this truth will set you free too.