Parenting From the Brokenness

flower vase with petals

I was reduced to shards one recent morning.


Me, Mama, undone, in an irritable, unsightly, emotional heap before my kids. Painfully imperfect. Exactly the opposite of how I hope, strive to be for my family. Feeling a failure, incapable of piecing myself together, once again set reeling by my feelings.

And I wondered, as my heart bled out, Could God be even in this? In my flagrant imperfection? In the mess of my brokenness?

I’ve known the answer to be yes, year after year, as I’ve battled the same affliction—depression–but He reminded me in His faithful way later that morning as I read Scripture through hot tears: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name ‘Immanuel’—which, when translated, means, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:23, AMP)

 He’s with me through the hard. Through the heart-wrenching, ugly moments. Through ALL the I cannots…

It’s becoming a familiar feeling as of late; my depression, a perplexing puzzle, relief elusive, seemingly unreachable in this season. And when it takes a turn for the worst—watch out. Sure, I’m fighting with every ounce of my energy—seeking answers, caring for my body and thereby my mind, remaining surrendered to the Great Physician, the One with the answers.

But still, there is the waiting…and the inevitable weathering, the flailing–the failing I have to do. And He is IN IT all. Even, especially, my mess.

See, God’s been teaching me, the impossible perfectionist, the mama who desperately clings to control, trying to be everything for my kids—that I CANNOT.

Only He can.

Oh, this is a hard lesson for me.

I strive so hard to do it all, to be it all for my family…intimidated by and measuring myself even against the women in the Book of Life–the Marys and the Proverbs 31 women. But I realize, I remember, even they did nothing apart from Almighty God. Like me, these superwomen needed Him desperately; super only in His strength.

I wrote this in my journal that messy morning:

“Lord, this hurts. But I know you’re continuing to teach me to release my incapable, fear-stricken grip on my family—instead, placing them into Your capable hands, awe-struck. To surrender them and not condemn myself when I struggle…and fail. (And Lord, I know You know how excruciatingly hard this is for me.)”

It’s always labor, letting go…but surrender is sweet. I must step aside to let Him be perfect for my kids. It’s what I need. I’m no savior, that is a fact.

And it’s what they need–the Perfect Parent; Who loves them more than my husband and I could ever. He holds them–my precious ones–and remakes them, whole, in spite of me.

It’s what we all need, but still, my knees are weak as I step out of my freshly surrendered savior posture, an imposter. It’s the knowing I CANNOT that gets me as a parent—levels me every time. But always, a subsequent surge of venerative gratitude floods me, for the Divine and His dust pan—mine and my kids’ safety net when I inevitably crumble. He cleans up; makes the scene spotless. Right redeems my rubble.

“The places where we’re worn to pieces can be thin places where we touch the peace of God.” Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2013) 79.

Holy places.

Yes. He’s with us in our brokenness, most assuredly—He allows it, so He can use it. He’s the Almighty Re-purposer. Only He can piece together our unsightly shards, once surrendered, rendering a thing of beauty.

“And God takes the greatest evil ever known to humanity and turns it into the greatest Gift you have ever known.” Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2013) 81.

4 thoughts on “Parenting From the Brokenness

  1. Wow…just read through this and will have to reread it again. This is so rich in good truth. We can’t do anything apart from God and it’s always labor letting go but the surrender is sweet.. Thank you your beautiful transparency.

    1. Amen, Jen…we mamas may have thought our labor would be short-lived, but parenting requires this continual, heart-rending work…thankful for friends with whom to walk through it all!

  2. Thank you for sharing. You are not slone. I too fail my family and them feel the guilt of doing so. Thank you for your words of wisdom! And encouragement.

    1. Thanks Blanda…it’s so comforting to know there are other fragile, imperfect mamas, reminding us of our desperate need for a Savior!! Thanks for reading–xoxo

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