*I am so thrilled for you to meet Sara Hagerty! She is a new friend and fellow contributor at TheBetterMom. After meeting her, I began reading her newly released book, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, and I literally couldn’t put it down. Her beautiful words and powerful ministry reached deep inside my soul. I pray you will be as blessed and encouraged by her today! ~ Lisa
As I sighed under my breath towards her, I caught her eye.
She’d heard the exasperation that was intended only for me. Her sister was on edge, too. She needed my cheek against hers and my hand on her back, but in my tiredness she got the one-sentence pep-talk that rarely moves a heart. I was coach, today, barking instructions and correcting their errors. I couldn’t see them past the seven things on my list that needed to be done (yesterday) and the fact that I was hours away from dinner and I’d forgotten the main ingredient at the grocery store meat counter. Again.
They were players on a field, not hearts, to me on this day.
But the real evaluation happening in our home was centered around me. Failed! — at the chance to reach her when my sigh betrayed my words. Failed! — at speaking to where she was when I used flat phrases. Failed! — at training when I chose to command, not teach. Failed! — at keeping up with yesterday, which left me in the negative today. All capped off by another family dinner from Chipotle to cover over this mama’s gaps.
I carried my internal report card into the nook off our bedroom, without even noticing. It’s hard to catch on to your own scrutiny when you’re always under it. As I stepped across the threshold into that sacred place where I get to breathe, I heard on my inside His declaration over me: yes, this is good. And I knew as I absorbed the words that “this” meant my home, these children, this environment we’d created in the space that held more laundry and disparate doll clothes and random puzzle pieces than I’d like.
He had a declaration for me that day. It was different than my own.
I sank into the overstuffed chair by the fireplace and took note of this pause. He hadn’t waited for a quiet moment so as to better instruct my mommyhood or, rather, to tell me to silence those thoughts. He’d intersected a “C” day on my internal report card with a new grade. The one that actually mattered.
And all of a sudden, I saw it. It was good. My day flipped on its ear after that one phrase from Him. Instead of all the failure, I remembered how she’d let me hold her, long — the one who usually resisted me. And her sister didn’t read words, but pages that day. In my lap. The little tike had a rough morning and I helped him make his bed and he left his room standing tall.
I had missed it all in my scrutiny.
But God had a better word over my day.
The One who spun beauty has an eye for what He made that we can’t mimic; it can only be imparted to us. And any evaluation I might make of my life — and my mess — independent of His, leaves me living in gnawing dissatisfaction.
Mamas, in the twenty-four hour span of today, He saw the dozen diapers you changed and the six times you wiped down the counter after their sippy cup spilled and how you held her, tight, when you really just wanted to plop her into bed. He saw the book you read him, again, and the block tower you built. He saw you folding sixteen pairs of panties and matching an equal number of socks that would be un-matched and worn in days. He saw you wipe her nose that could have just run all day.
He saw your “yes” today. Weak as it may be, His eye witnessed your weak yes.
It’s how He defined you.
Your list is likely different, if you’re like me and fighting a lifetime of negative thinking. You noted when you were short with her. And when you left him to run outside with his shoes untied, just because you didn’t want to tie them again. You didn’t forget that you checked your phone when she was tugging on the hem of your shirt saying “up, Mommy, please.”
We take this information — these analyses on our day — and use it as our catalyst for change. We hang it over our heads like a banner — “better not do that again” — in hopes that a “C” report card may motivate us to make an “A” tomorrow.
But it’s not working. We’re not changing.
Because it’s not the way He works change.
But by my Spirit, He says.
The Spirit of God does not function within our human constructs. His ways that are higher aren’t just better so that we have a tighter list of rules by which we can achieve that “A”. They are other.
They are love of an other-worldly kind.
He sees my weak mommy moments as opportunity and, while not afraid to call them out, He leads me to Himself by His gentle eyes towards my weakness.
I fall under a long line of greats — Abraham, Jacob, David, Peter to name a few — whose God called and labelled them by their weak “yes”, not by their dozens of life-”no”s. They grew because they received, and then believed, God’s perspective on them.
If this mama is going to grow in Him and not just live, stagnant, under a story of what He did once-way-back-when in my life, I need to start believing not only what His Word says about Him but what His Word says about how He sees me. On my worst days.
His love doesn’t fit inside the world’s understanding of love.
And it’s on my worst days, as I mutter one weak “yes” towards Him, that I have the best chance of seeing just how other it is.
Try it on for size: Begin to study in the Word the emotions of God’s heart towards you when you are weak. Give it a week, or three, and watch how you’re relating towards her changes. When we get stuck in our love towards them — when we get stale in our mundane moments — it is inevitably tied to stale impressions of Him. Here are a few isolated verses to start with — however, doing a study on those like Abraham, Jacob, David, and Peter and God’s stance towards them will shed light on how He really sees His broken people: Exodus 34:6, Micah 7:18, Isaiah 55:7-9, Lamentations 3:22-23, Psalm 18:35, Psalm 103:10, Psalm 103:14, Psalm 16:11, Romans 2:4, Jeremiah 29:11-12, 1 John 4:19.
For Your Continued Pursuit: John 6:63 | Zechariah 4:6 | Romans 2:4 | Hebrews 6:10 | Hebrews 11:3 | Isaiah 55:8-9 | Psalm 24:6 | Matthew 16:18 | Hebrews 11:21 | Acts 13:22 | Psalm 18:35
A Giveaway for Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet
Now I’m delighted to be able to offer two copies of Sara’s new book, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet! And to give you a sense of how much I enjoyed her book, here’s what I said in my review:
This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a very long time. Sarah Hagerty is a particularly gifted writer (she has the most lovely writing style!) and her story touches the deepest of places. I found myself stopping many times while reading and just staring off as I pondered the truth of what she had to say. Inspiring, convicting, and touching. I highly recommend this book! ~ Lisa Jacobson
You can purchase her book HERE (I’m actually getting several copies to give for Christmas presents! Shh…..):
You can also enter to win one of two copies here!
*A few helpful directions: If you follow either of us on Instagram, simply copy the link provided (example: http://instagram.com/everybitterthingissweet) in the little “box” and you’re good to go!
*Lovely photos are with thanks to Mandie at seeingjoy.com
Sara is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the expanse between the United States and Africa. After almost a decade of Christian life she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her. And out of the overflow of this perplexity, came her writing, both on her blog and in her book – Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, just released via Zondervan.
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)