FAIL is not the worst of all four letter words, despite popular opinion. Fail means you tried. And in today’s world of celebrating mediocrity, trying earns you a ribbon. There are certainly worse things in life than failing.
Yet, in our fear of negative emotions, we absolutely denounce feelings of failure in ourselves and others. I know I’ve been guilty of it. A mom friend sends a text and says, “I have failed at parenting today. Adulting is so hard.” And you know that you reply to these texts the same way I do with absolute assurance that said friend is the exact mama that Jesus handpicked for those children and that said friend is not a failure in any way. And maybe you even throw in a comment or two about children being little demons. No? Just me? Oh well. I’m ok with that.
But Papa God taught me something this week that I just have to share with you.
It’s ok to fail.
No, truly. It is. Please keep reading.
Failure is like death. Now, hear me out. God gave this to me, so it’s good. Failure is like death. It’s sad when someone dies and it’s ok to be sad when someone dies. We will miss them. We wish they could still be with us. But it doesn’t end with sadness. If the deceased was a Christian believer, then death is not the end. Sadness is not the end. We have peace and hope and even joy when a believer dies because we know we will see them again someday in heaven. Sadness is not the end of this life because of redemption.
The same holds true with failure. Sadness, regret, and shame are not the end of failure for the Christian mama – if she gives it over to Jesus.
Unfortunately, sometimes we are so deeply grieved by our own shortcomings that we forget to give it over to our Redeemer. As if we, in our failings, could possibly make it better and not worse.
Failure is like death. It may look like it’s the end but it doesn’t have to be.
So, dear mama, you failed. You lost your cool. You yelled. You made a bad decision. You ruined Christmas, a birthday, a special occasion. You forgot about the tooth fairy. You got divorced. You got married. You trusted someone untrustworthy. You harmed your child. You ignored your child. You infuriated your child. You didn’t love your child enough. You failed.
Satan wants you to think it’s over, but it’s not. Failure is not the end of the game. It’s not the end of the race. It’s not the end of your story….if you don’t want it to be. It certainly can be and for many people, it certainly is. Failure leads some to the bottom of a bottle. To the backseat of someone’s car. To a life of loneliness and hopelessness and despair. But Jesus died on a cross so that our failure could still be used for His glory. He died so that all of our messy imperfection could be made perfect.
When your teenager looks you in the eye and tells you that you’ve failed them, hug that sassy thing back and thank God that it’s not over.
When you’ve messed up the checkbook and the electricity gets shut off, light a candle and thank God that it’s not over.
When the man you’ve loved and devoted your life to walks out the door, pour yourself a bubble bath and thank God that it’s not over.
So, you failed. Admit it. Don’t try to sugar coat it. Don’t deny it. Deal with it by giving it to Jesus and asking Him to redeem it. He makes all things new. And that “all things” includes you. And your babies. And your relationships. Dear mama, we are all going to fail. It’s ok to fail. It means you are in need of a Savior. A Redeemer. A Friend.
Be a friend to another failing mama and let her know it’s ok. It’s not over.