You Are Not a Failure, Live Free!

I lay awake, replaying the situation in the darkness. My son’s questioning of my authority and the house rules, and my response: ugly, belittling, and completely unnecessary. 

He had long since stormed to his room and I ducked to mine. The anger had dissipated, replaced by shame and regret. Harsh words hung in the air, evidence of another bedtime fiasco.

And the self-doubt began.  

Was this the essence of my mothering? Epic failure.

Is this what our mother/son relationship had become? Forever strained.

After wrestling with the reason for my inappropriate response and eventually repenting, the answer to both questions became clear: No. 

Grace-filled day 2

This was but a single situation. Not one to be proud of, certainly. But projecting one episode as representative of all my years of motherhood gives a moment far too much power.

Oh, responses matter, definitely! Words and actions have consequences, no doubt! But a sad episode doesn’t reflect the entire picture. Doing so discounts a powerful factor: the gift of grace, which all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ inherit. 

I don’t truly understand grace. But I do know that without grace we would all be lost, drowning in our unrighteousness—never able to find peace and be reconciled to God.

The Lamb of God has “set us free from our sins by His blood” (Rev. 1:5). His gift of grace covers all our sins. None are too small or too big.

Yet, if you’re like me, for some twisted reason, you often hold onto the guilt of your failings. Much to Satan’s glee, you and I tend to resurrect our worse failures with which to beat ourselves up when we are already down.

But by rejecting the Lord’s forgiveness and cleansing—by rejecting His gift of grace—we’re rejecting the sacrifice He made for us. As if being bloodied, humiliated, crucified, and left to bear the consequences of the sin of the entire world, isn’t good enough. 

What a shameful display of gratitude we offer!

To live a life in Christ, to live as a child of God, is to hold fast to His promise of mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. We can live boldly in the Lord’s grace—stumbling in our flesh, most assuredly, but not left to be mired in the quick sand of unrighteousness. 

The day after my tyrannical mom episode dawned bloated with an assured hope. 

  • The hope for a new beginning: a transformation of this mother’s heart, a renewal of the relationship with my son, 
  • The hope that comes from being a beloved child of God: bathed in a love that never ends,
  • The hope that comes from living under the grace of our Lord: a priceless gift given out of His love. 

My dear friends, awake to the hope of each new grace-filled day. Let yourself live free in Christ! 

“He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:10–12)

Reflections: Is there an area of your life you have trouble allowing His grace to cover? What’s one step you can take today to find freedom from it?

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By His grace ≈


Linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience in 2013 with my Joy Dare list  for Multitude Mondays (#1809–1829, read the entire list by clicking here):

  • Wogging (Walk/Jog) thru a meadow in a sea of grass; Opportunity to serve food to those w/ less; Scent from my new lily
  • Bike ride w/ Joey; Cottonwood fluff filling the sky; Took first #scary step in new writing project
  • Spotted a fox on our walk; Enjoying the beautiful Wis. countryside; Watching storm come in on porch w/ hubby–peaceful
  • Received peace during our info-gathering trip for Rachel; Away time to laugh & connect w/ hubby; Flop of a picnic 🙂
  • My children’s love for each other; Being forced in “jail” (her room) w/ lights out by Rach; Update of a friend’s healing
  • An unexpected gift; Spent hours w/ my boys playing one of my fav sports–tennis; Gentle breeze on a warm, sunny day
  • Spending time w/ Dad; Observing my firstborn as counselor at our church camp–#ProudMama; Molten-gold sunset 

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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

3 comments on “You Are Not a Failure, Live Free!
  1. Ugochi says:

    I often get angry and behave in a shameful manner with my children, but like you I have discovered that I do not have to dwell in guilt. I always find hope in Christ for better days and opportunities to right the wrong. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. Mary Detweiler says:

    You are More

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