Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit out of my element. My son continuously asks for some time with me, I’m behind in our homeschool planning and implementation, I’m struggling with this new nutritional plan my husband and I are trying out, I’m feeling unattractive with my new post-partum body and I can’t seem to get into a routine with all my to-do’s. Yes, yes I know we just had a baby and all these are normal. But, being me, I feel like all my shortcomings would somehow lead to even more disasters.
If I don’t spend time with our son, our relationship might suffer. If I don’t homeschool, my son would fall behind. If I don’t make good dishes, my husband won’t eat it and be healthy. If I don’t get back my body, I’d be fat and losyang forever.
Okay, I’m going way over the top but it’s not uncommon for a mom to feel like so much depends on her, right?
It’s telling of how I take things from a short-term perspective. I see only as far as my eyes can see. What’s more, I seem to have this big idea that I am in so much more control than I truly am. As if the whole world rests on my shoulders. And my success, and my failure, would mean the success or failure for the rest of my family. Truthfully, this is where I’ve gone into troublesome quarrels with my husband especially during the first years of our marriage. Because of the mistaken “scope” of my control and fear at the heart of it, I’ve tried to tell him what to do far too often with so many things.
Yet, countless times as a wife, mom, woman, I felt confronted by my own set of limitations. I make too many mistakes, and I am stubborn in making them again and again. On top of that, my own emotions can sometimes still the best of me. These are the moments that I kneel to the Lord and ask for help.
“Forgive me, Lord for my shortcomings.”
“I’m sorry, Lord for the hurt I have caused.”
“I need your help in changing myself because it’s too hard to do it alone.”
As Christians, we are called to move from glory to glory. To move forward from craving “infant milk” to “solid food”. Yet, time and again, I realized just how quickly I can go back to square one as if I had not learned anything at all. And how can I teach, how can I influence when I see all my imperfections before me?
And this is where my prayer takes a turn. “Lord, amidst the mountain of failures and shortcomings, if you see a small part of goodness and righteousness in my heart, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, please acknowledge, bless it and make it grow.”
As I prayed, I realized that in my life, in my struggle with my own mistakes, miscalculated judgment calls, and wrong mindsets, God did not even meet me halfway. He met me where I can…even if it meant I was only at the starting line AGAIN, and again.
Of course I am grateful. But more than that, I am encouraged.
I love yesterday’s devotional, “Working Through Failure” from Theology of Work. It cited the passage where Peter boldly declares that he will go where Jesus will. And Jesus gives him the chilling prediction: “Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Then, the passage continues to say that Jesus added, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus knows Peter will fail him, yet it doesn’t deter him from assigning an important task to him. How encouraging it is for me to know that our God chooses to see beyond our failures, and continues to make His purpose for us come to pass. The devotional goes on to say, “It’s important to learn from our mistakes, but we can’t let them become obstacles. We have to move forward, trust God for both forgiveness and guidance, and prepare for what’s next.”
God has always dealt with me in such a way that surprises me. Coming from an unhappy home, I never really dreamt of having a family of my own. Yet, He gave me a loving husband and two beautiful children–gifts I had never even thought of having, so I never even prayed for such. But that’s how a gift is–you just accept it and enjoy it.
In my heart, I’ve always been a writer. Yet, I didn’t pursue that path in my career right away, as my own passion daunted me. So I taught preschool in an international school for awhile. Then, I went into Publishing where I enjoyed many years producing magazines. After that, the lure of a higher position as a Marketing Manager got me to leave the job that I loved. Then, I went to Public Relations. There I truly felt that work was work. I did it, but always wondered why I was doing what I did. I didn’t last very long with the last two jobs. Too often, I wondered why I had even accepted the preschool, marketing and PR jobs. Though I didn’t regret the experience, I felt that those were precious years I could’ve spent doing what I really wanted to do–which was to write, edit and produce publications.
Years later, I found myself homeschooling our son and utilizing skills I had learned in that preschool stint. It taught me how to teach and to break lessons down to a small child’s level. The marketing position opened the door for me to another industry and I got into PR, where I met some of my much-loved friends, one of them even becoming the ninang (godmother) of my son! It also paved the way for us to meet one of our most treasured clients now in our video production company. And that editorial job I loved in a publishing company? That’s where I met my husband! Put together, all those jobs I did taught me skills I need now in being partner to my filmmaker husband in our company, and a homeschooling Momma. Who would’ve thought?
My point is: I didn’t make those career choices in wisdom or careful discernment of my future. My reasons varied but they were mostly focused on the short-term returns and for some of them, I truly believed I was making a mistake. Perhaps I was, but what’s more important is what God has done with those choices.
All these I am reminded of as I was busy reveling in all my shortcomings lately…that there is a God who makes sense of the mistakes, who weaves together seemingly insignificant details to make one beautiful piece, who meets me where I can and pours out His grace on me. Of course I am grateful. Of course I am encouraged. But more than that, I am inspired. To try again, to do better, to be better. And perhaps face tomorrow, with all my strengths and imperfections, bravely and joyfully, fully expectant of God’s glorious purpose.