When I was a young mom, with four small children all needing my attention and time (usually all at once!), I remember wondering when I was going to do something that was actually "important" in the eyes of the world. Back then, at the height of all of the Equal Rights Amendment uproar, it just felt like no one even knew what a stay-at-home mom did all day, much less appreciate the work that I was doing in my home and with my family. So I very often felt like a failure. That was when I was young . . . . . and I already felt that I had somehow been left out of the world of the accomplished, the gifted, the celebrated, and the appreciated. Would I ever do anything that really mattered?
And then as children grow up, as they all have a way of doing, and they didn't always do what I thought would be best, I continued to feel that I had somehow failed. This time it was even more significant on the scale of lifetime failures . . . . I had devoted my life to my family, which didn't seem to be recognized by anyone as having much value, only to discover that I had failed at that, too. It was as if I was responsible for the happiness of everyone in my life, and if they weren't happy, then I was continually reminded of what a failure I had been. I had forgotten (or perhaps I had never learned) the truth of God's promises - that they have nothing to do with me, with my weaknesses, or with my failures. In God's eyes, all of those things are the "events" in life, they are not my life. God uses even our failures, and I think sometime especially our failures, to teach us, to guide us, and to show us our need for His presence in our lives.
As hard at it is to believe when you are in your 20s and 30s, getting older really does have many blessings and benefits! I look around my world and I see that my children, in whom I invested the years of my youth, are OK. So, in view of eternity, I guess that was a good investment. Even though the world in which I lived and made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom didn't recognize my work as anything significant, I know it was the right thing for me at that time in my life. And even if the world, or even if my children, do not recognize the significance of those years, I know that God does.
And now, I am in a different stage of life . . . . . I again have small children to care for, and I again choose to invest my life in them. I know that God will honor my choice, even though I still make lots of mistakes as a mom. But now I know that just because I fail sometimes to be all that God would have me to be, I am not a failure. Just a sinful woman who is seeking to honor God with my life, and frequently lose sight of the ultimate goal.
I read a banner the other day (in my doctor''s office actually) that said something like: Don't be ashamed of the gifts God has given you, only be ashamed if you haven't used them." That quote was attrtibuted to a woman who ran a marathon at the age of 72. I guess I still have some living left in me, and time to take a few more steps in the direction of figuing it out. But it will never be perfect, for only He is perfect. It's just that when I stumble and fall, or don't measure up in the eyes of the world, I just need to know that He sees and cares, and that is all that matters. No matter my age.
Stop by and visit Karen at "In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus" who is our hostess this week for "In Other Words." Then, visit the other women who are participating this week and read their responses to this week's quote. Have a wonderful week!