Wednesday, August 7, 2013

But I Failed

“I wanted to _________________.  I wanted to______________________.  I wanted to _________________ so you would know I appreciated the time you spent on it.  


It makes me feel so miserable that I couldn’t do that.  I didn’t let you know.............  And my wish didn’t come true.  I want to be perfect........I want ______________but I fail at that too.  Mom, I want the thing none can give sometimes.  You could call it wanting the impossible but the impossible won’t come and I want it so bad.  I wish things were different but that won’t come true either.”

Close to midnight, I read the note on my pillow after a sweet and encouraging time with friends, old and new.  I read it so fast because it was almost like I knew the words that would follow the words I was reading.  I think I groaned, threw it on the bed at Jeff and walked out of the room.  I had conflict on the inside.  One part of me wanted to get her out of bed, hold her, sort all of this out with words into the wee hours of the morning, and the other part of me wanted to leave on a week long retreat so I could sort these same feelings I experience almost every day.  The other interesting thing is a book had just resurrected itself from the move stashing just a few days ago-- a book I never finished, Grace for the Good Girl:  Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman.  Over the last couple of days, I had been reading it like I was in a race or something being so happy it had resurfaced.  The note on my pillow made me wonder if this was a trick or a test or something.

But no, I was holding her heart for the day in my hand.


But how had she failed?  Whom had she failed?  Had she failed at her agenda or had she failed to follow Christ?

She struggles at 11 and I struggle at 42.  How do I help her understand the “impossible” IS supposed to be impossible because it keeps us entirely dependent on Christ- a dependent cycle of releasing my will, responding to His holiness and restoring fellowship with Him?

Sweet daughter,
Is this how you felt?
“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
These are Paul’s words from Romans 7.  The whole chapter is full of treasure but these may be the words I relate to the most.  You, of all people, know that my intentions are good but you, quite possibly, most of all, know that I fail all the time.  Almost every day and am in need of forgiveness from you, your Daddy or Brighton and sometimes, on a humdinger of a day, all three.

I read your raw note and I want you to know that I hear your felt expectations from me and some real live ones too- the ones I have made all too clear.  What’s hardest to read is the pressure you feel from me, the disappointment with yourself, and the ugly cycle that I know can follow those feelings if we don’t cycle back to the Source of Truth and Grace.   If we don’t run-- as fast as we can- back to Him in the midst of failure, we will stay in the funk you wrote so well about.  And, in Christ, we are not to assume any position of condemnation.  Ever.  {Romans 8:1}

But I failed.

But the impossible won’t come and I want it so bad.

I say to you,

BUT Christ made all things possible.
BUT Christ can make things different.
BUT Christ never fails.
BUT Christ can give the thing none can give.


Honey, it’s your middle name.

We repent and we ask.  He gives. This is how Christ makes things--- people, marriages, families, churches-- different.  That simple exchange that cost the Father so much.

I hear your thoughts about perfection.....we all fall into that desire and I must tell you, you will continue to be disappointed if we place that standard on ourselves or anyone else.  Only HE is perfect and that it’s HIS breastplate of righteousness that we get to hold up.  Not ours.  Let yourself and anyone else off the hook.  All the times I come to you to ask for forgiveness for my sharp tongue or my thoughtless words, even just last night, it is the right thing to do but also because I want to make sure you know that I am on no pedestal of spirituality.  I desire to “keep in step with the Spirit” {Galatians 5:25} and that requires a lot of repentance, receiving His grace and moving on.  I am pressing on toward the goal {Philippians 3:14}  and working out my salvation {Philippians 2:12} day after day after day.  Just like you.

So, my sister in Christ, this life is impossible when we are trying it all out with our own might and our own power.  That's a life of frustration, failure and funk.  You get your marching orders in the morning from Him and you focus on that.  He may use me from time to time to assist in that but I commit to you that I will be getting my own marching orders from Him too.  Hopefully, what I require from you will be led by Him.  That's the goal, my dear.  No more, no less.

Remember, For [you] are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do. Ephesians 2:10

I love you more than you'll ever know.

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