Does faithfulness ever feel like it’s not quite enough?
It has been my mantra, my goal, for some time now – faithfulness. In the early days of motherhood, when the kids were fewer, the pace seemed slower and the naps were longer (yes, I might still be mourning the loss of nap time over here), I felt more on top of things.
Whether I actually was or not is debatable. The rose-colored glasses we look back with seem to adjust themselves quickly as we move through the seasons of motherhood.
However, these days I’m working on math facts with one kid, while another is learning to read. I’m thick into reports and bibliographies with the oldest child and there is still one more kid. Always one more kid who needs a piece of mama.
Add in meals. Try to clean something, write something, study something, exercise something. Rotate and repeat. And it seems full. Really, really, full some days.
Faithfulness has become the one way I keep breathing. I cannot do it all. I don’t even pretend to. But I do work hard at being faithful with the task at hand. I’ve given up rehashing the to do list at the end of the day and I instead ask the simple question – have I been faithful?
I cannot always do awesome, but I can steward well.
I cannot always do everything I had hoped or planned, but I can do my best with the time I have.
All the things may not get done, but I can choose peace over anxiety, knowing that I did what I could. I can choose to be content with a slightly messier home, far from perfect meals, a little undone everything.
Most days, most days I can do that. Until I can’t.
Some days all the undone becomes glaring, the deficiencies are loud. It all feels heavy; my measured and metered faithfulness just doesn’t feel like enough.
And that is when I realize, it’s not. My faithfulness alone is not enough. I’m believing a lie when I expect it to be.
I sat in a conference session last weekend where several women spoke about raising children who know Christ. They talked about practical helps for devotional times, addressing ages and stages, fervent prayer, good basics for all of us.
Except one woman.
She brought something different to the conversation. In her senior years now, her children are long grown and she is widowed. She spoke honestly of how she and her husband argued plenty and made a thousand mistakes when they were raising their children. She mentioned how she only wished her husband would have led devotions with her children, but she did the best she could and by God’s grace all of her adult children have chosen to follow Christ.
God’s grace. His faithfulness, with her limited efforts. His abundance with her messy and undone, her imperfect.
A simple goal of faithfulness is a good one; I’m not giving up on that. It is still my mantra, still my question at the end of the day. But it is essential for me to remember that my faithfulness alone is not enough.
We must lay that effort at the foot of the cross. His faithfulness is what ultimately makes the difference. Our hearts are changed amidst the messy and imperfect, because He is our hope, not because we are.
If I am not careful I can turn my relaxed goals into a modified method of performance. I can make success about my effort, my discipline, my faithfulness.
But when all of that feels like sinking sand we must find our footing on the Solid Rock. This is the gospel.
He is faithful. May this be your hope today, as it is mine.