Mother’s Day is coming to a close and I am sitting at Starbucks.
Getting ready to spill out…
My daughter Bailey just served me my cafe latte. (This makes me happy because she loves what she does.)
The topic of motherhood failure might not seem the happiest note to end this day on but I hope it serves to bring hope to even one mother.
Three years ago Nathan took me away from our surroundings for seven days.
He took me away to mourn. Deeply.
He held me for seven glorious days and mourned with me.
He made me look into his eyes multiple times a day as he spoke above the lies I had bought into.
I had failed. As a wife, a mother and daughter of God.
Falling into the temptation to taste the fruit of false comfort was almost deadly and I needed a reality bigger than my sin.
It was the ocean.
God would have it that the area we were in was mostly secluded. I spent the mornings sitting at the ocean’s shore. My first few days were brutal. Several times I contemplated running into the vast ocean waves and letting them sweep me into eternity. I could not imagine how I ended up in this familiar place of hurting those I love the most. In those moments of being enticed to end it all I heard,
“If you’re dead you can’t do this again.”
Thankfully, His voice was louder.
“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
It was my worst moment. My lowest.
The morning of the first day, I picked up one seashell.
I made it through day one.
Each consecutive day I picked up seashells. Day one, one seashell, day two, two seashells, day three, three seashells…etc.
I wasn’t sure what to do with the shells when I got home.
I decided to get a frame and divide it into seven spaces, representing seven days..
and I hot glued.
If you know me, this was a MAJOR craft project.
But I still have it, tucked away for my own keeping.
I look at it every now and then. I marvel. Still.
It still evokes emotion…overwhelming emotions at times.
During our family lunch today my children handed me a gift bag.
It was from all of them. (Oh how I love them.)
Do you see what I see?
A silver seashell.
Now, don’t get me wrong…
The E,(Emerie) A,(Aizlyn) T,(Titus) cross and grandma charm are enough to bring me to tears.
All of those realities are my biggest blessings.
But the seashell…
Yes, I lost it. Right there at lunch. Right now at Starbucks.
I looked up…
tears in the eyes of my children.
How did they remember?
Why did they remember?
Do they really understand?
They were the first ones to offer me mercy.
They were the first ones to hold me.
They were the first ones to share their pain, their sorrow, their anger.
They were the first ones to let me back in.
My son was the first one to text me when the news broke out.
It simply read… “Go home and let your husband love you.”
Home I went.
Home I will stay.
The love, mercy and grace that was poured out in my life at a time I least deserved it, changed me.
And that’s the way God planned it from the beginning.
From Adam and Eve’s animal skins to cover their shame..
to Jesus’s blood to take way our shame…
and to our future glory of never again encountering shame…
if offered and received will move us past our sin and addictions and onto our new life.
Not a perfect life.
But a life of being presently and wonderfully aware how dependent we are on our God.
Even as dependent as a little child.
And the closer we stay and the more dependent we are…the safer we are.
God is our protection. Even from ourselves.
When a mother fails, she needs grace.
When a mother fails, she needs mercy.
When a mother fails, she needs love…
But mostly, she needs God.
Consequences for big failures will come.
They are unavoidable.
We don’t have to worry about that.
Nathan was accused of being in denial at the offering of such mercy at the onset of my failure.
He wasn’t…and still isn’t.
He just allowed God’s mercy to crash into him harder than the betrayal.
He mourned, he grieved, felt anger…
And he took his heart to God.
It’s the only way for true healing to come.
Seashells will never look the same to me.
When I see them, I see God.
I see His mercy.
I see those who have forgiven me.
I see those who haven’t and pray for them, sincerely.
I see failure that has been swallowed up in the ocean of God’s amazing grace.
So, if you want to see me cry…just show me a seashell.
Better yet, take me to the ocean.
For more about Kandace, check our her blogs at Severe Mercy