Today I’m welcoming the beautiful Marigold Jones of The Journey of a Million Miles blog. Marigold has become a dear friend of mine although we live states away. She’s tough as nails, but a huge lover of our Savior. This post was very moving for me because I struggle with failure as a mom. We’ve all made regrettable mistakes, but when Jesus is in our life, we can rise above anything in our past.
I walked away in the middle of life, left a husband and three kids, and never returned.
You and I both could use a lot of words to describe myself and they would fit accordingly. Mothers do not run away. For fifteen years, I have kept this secret. By those who found out, I have been mocked, judged, cursed, and left to drown in my shameful sin.
Asked to define my life in one word, I would say, “failure.” That one little word, heavy with weight, set the standard for my life and permeated every fiber of my being. I allowed failure to pull me down and drown me under the waters of anxiety, depression, and fear.
Then God said “enough!”
Maybe you’re not like me. Perhaps you live at the corner of Betty Crocker and June Cleaver; your crown of faultlessness untarnished. There is a possibility you are the mom whose children set the bar of impeccability and “failure” never crosses your lips. I admire and applaud you, but that is not me.
Hearing the stories that adult children tell of how their parents ruined their lives and harmed them spiritually, emotionally, and mentally in one way or another, and ladies trying to recover from the scars of a “failure mom.” I hear the horror stories and see the statistical devastation. I know the aftermath failure moms leave upon society and all I can say is, “I am that mother.”
Maybe you are like me. Perhaps you struggle with failing your children in one way or another. Perchance you’ve not been the mom God called you to be. It possible that you’ve harmed them and left them out to dry.
If you struggle, if you answer to “failure” please hear me. God is still in control; hope is not lost.
It’s not all your fault
I am the mother of an alcoholic, drug-addicted daughter. I know she lives in North Carolina and she is a waitress (Thank you, social media.) and that is all I know. Yes, part of this is my fault, and I accept the natural consequences that abandonment causes. However, I did not make her pick up the bottle or force her to do drugs.
Even as I write, I struggle with accepting the entirety of this blame. “It’s all my fault,” haunts me and “shame” keeps me in the realms of guilt. Had I continued to raise my daughter in the way I began to raise her, she might be a different young lady. I made choices. She made choices. None of them good.
To the mom who is defined by failure, accept responsibility for your actions and yours alone. The evils of this world will try to convince you that it is ALL your fault. The sins of the whole world are not yours to bear. Take your faults and hand them over to Christ, lest His death is in vain. He did not die for nothing; He died for your failure.
Accept God’s grace
We all fail. We all fall short of the glory of God. Even if you are the perfection of motherhood, you are still a sinner. God sees you, momma. He sees your tear stained face lying in the dirt with your accusers ready to throw stones and judge you for being worthless. For being a wicked sinner. “Let He who is without sin cast the first stone.”
“Mother,” Jesus says. “Where are your accusers? Go and sin no more.” (John 8:2-11)
For me, there is no measurement of tears nor any penance or retribution to earn forgiveness for failing my children. I have tried. It is only God’s grace that says, “I forgive you! Stop trying to earn forgiveness by locking yourself in prison of oppression. You cannot do time for this crime. Accept my grace.”
To the weary mom, tired from trying to earn your way into forgiveness, God’s grace is enough. It is all you need. These are hurts that you cannot change. The past is final. There is no going back, only forward. Pick yourself up from the dirt, leave the word “failure” behind, accept the grace of forgiveness that your Savior has graciously given to you, and fix your heart upon Him. “Go and sin no more.”
Maybe your child traveled down the wrong path and is sitting alone in jail today or perhaps your child has failed fifth grade math for the second time and your peers laugh at you. Perhaps your child is the bully or a liar and a cheat. Perhaps you are at wit’s end with your child and ready to give up all hope. Don’t.
Don’t give up, don’t quit, and don’t take the easy way out.
God has promised that His word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11). He has promised that He will complete the good work He started (Philippians 1:6). His word says He will never give up (Hebrews 10:23). Did He quit on you? Take your shield of faith and fight for your child.
Many years ago, when I disappeared without a trace, I had a mother who never gave up. She never ceased praying the word of God into my life. My mom never missed an opportunity to thank God for keeping her baby safe. She knew in faith that one day I would come home. She wouldn’t live to see who I am today; however, she never stopped believing for one moment.
The prayers of a righteous mom prevail (James 5:16), and faith is God’s delivery system.
To the mom who wants to quit, even if math is where your struggles lie, do not stop believing in faith. Fight for your child from your knees. When the battle endures and fifteen years pass without a word from your child, please don’t give up.
Had my mother resigned herself to my fate and said “that’s just how she’s gonna be,” I would not be a living testimony to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
One day, my children will tell the story of a “failure mom” who came to her senses and refused to quit fighting. One day, my children will testify to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
It’s never too late
It took years of running from God before I stopped and came to my senses. The death of my parents, the loss of everything good in my life and seeing hell face to face to bring me back. There is a lot I missed and many prayers I didn’t pray.
It is never too late to begin again. It’s never too late to pick up your sword and your shield and go to work.
If your child is breathing, it’s not too late.
Replace the word “failure” with “warrior” by vowing to fight. You have the God of the known and unknown universe on your side, in Him there is no failure.
Do not grow weary doing good. Do not grow weary from the fight. Stay the course and run the race as if your child’s eternity depends upon it (Galatians 6:9).
To the mom that struggles with failure, please believe me when I say, you are not!
Writing from the Missouri Ozarks, Mari Jones is a sinner saved by grace. She lives by faith on a journey to the city with foundations whose builder and architect is God. It’s a journey towards home.
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