"Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger." Psalm 8:2
I was flying 30,000 feet in the air on a way to speak to a group of women in Texas. I felt dry, empty, and terrified about what I could possibly offer to anyone because my life felt upside down. My prayers seemed to only be reaching the ceiling and crashing down around me.
I was feeling guilty about leaving my children and the preoccupation I had let overtake me in the weeks leading up to my going away trying to prepare for the retreat. There is no greater area that I am accused in by the enemy than my mothering. He has used every possible angle on me and can destroy my day if I do not hold up my shield of faith against the fiery darts of his accusations against me. Sitting in my seat on a packed plane, I felt like a complete loser. I was reviewing conversations in which I had been too busy to really listen, had been impatient, or had lost control. Several minutes into the condemnation, I was feeling thoroughly defeated and completely incompetent for the weekend ahead.
I managed to hold back the tears - barely. If those women only knew me, they would have never asked me to come, my heart sobbed.
I plugged my ear phones into my phone to go over my notes one more time when I noticed there was a new voice memo that I had not listened to before. Puzzled, I hit play and heard the voice of one of my children in my ears,
"Hey Mom, it's me. I just wanted to say that you are the best mom in the world. I could never dream of having a better mom. I'm in my room right now recording this and you'll probably stumble on this sometime...but I just wanted to say a few things...You take care of me so well and I feel like our relationship is getting bigger and bigger and I am very happy because I have always wanted a good relationship with my mom. I am so happy to have a great mom. I don't know how I would ever be as good a mom as you, but I guess I'll try [one day]."
I was sobbing like a baby and didn't care. The encouragement I needed came from the the mouth of my own daughter. It infused me with strength and silenced the voice of the accuser in my head.
No woman is the perfect mom, daughter, employee, friend, wife, sister, student, fiancee, or ministry partner all the time. And we can become so obsessed with seeking that perfection which doesn't exist that we become full of despair and get out of the game. It doesn't mean that we can live our lives recklessly or not examine our hearts before God in those areas. But there is a great difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation discourages, brings shame, and is not of God. Conviction encourages, brings repentance, and is God's way of correcting us when we stray. Condemnation brings death. Conviction brings hope and understanding. Thank God He knows that we are but dust and His compassion and mercies are new every morning. Have we forgotten what He remembers about us?
My sweet sisters, our God is bigger than our mistakes. I believe, in His mercy, His glory supersedes our imperfections if we beg Him to allow that to happen. No one is deserving to do anything for Him. He cannot use perfect people because they do not exist. I have to remind myself that brokenness is what He is irresistibly drawn to. Weakness is exactly what He delights in because He then has no competition for His glory. And when we are feeling the most despondent and cry out to Him, He will speak directly to our souls in a way that only He could to lift us out of the pit of despair and remind us of the firm Rock on which we stand.