Getting dressed for a wedding can be a traumatic experience for me. It usually involves frantically going through my closet to see what I can wear without ironing, and blow drying my hair while simultaneously slapping on makeup. Woe to the person who knocks on my bedroom door to ask if they look okay!
Our most recent wedding experience was more traumatic than usual. During my pre-wedding panic, family members knocked on my door with multiple emergencies.
My son wondered what to wear.
My daughter burst in with the news the two dresses we bought last summer are too babyish this year. (I lectured her on how I’m never buying her another thing, gave her MY dress and went through my closet a second time.)
My son said, “Does dad have an extra belt? I told you last month my belt was broken. Did you get me a belt?” (My reaction was not pretty.)
My daughter burst in again. “Mom, I don’t have any shoes!” I looked, and sure enough, she had flip flops, high tops, cross trainers and sandals. No dress shoes
My son said, “Do I look okay?
My daughter said, “Is my hair all right?”
By the time my poor husband came in to get dressed, I’d had it.
“Does this look okay?” he said, holding out a shirt and pants.
“It looks great!” I snapped. “Wear whatever you want!”
By the time we got into the car, I felt terrible. What kind of a mother am I, anyway? My son has no belt and my daughter has no shoes. Why do I wait until the last minute to get dressed, so that I’m a bear to anyone who needs help? Why do I take things out on my husband?
Mother guilt is the worst kind there is. It creeps up on you all the time, but whether you’re a parent, friend, or co-worker, any relationship provides an arena for you to mess up. You explode at someone or disappoint them, and you feel guilty about it. “How could I do this again? Will I ever change?”
Recently I read something in the Jesus Calling devotional that would transform me if I could really get it:
“Stop trying to fix yourself and fix your gaze on Jesus, the Lover of your soul.”
So much of my energy is focused on trying to fix myself, but I’m freer to receive forgiveness when I take my eyes off of my failings and turn my attention to God. I’m free to relax and receive His amazing, unconditional love. I can let go of my failure, get up from where I’ve fallen and make a fresh start. I’m free to apologize to people when I blow it and extend grace to them when they mess up.
Psalm 103:11,12 has good news for me:
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Have you blown it lately? What encourages you when you do?