My entire life, I’ve always had it together.
I’m the person who works hard to earn what I want.
I worked hard for good grades.
I worked hard to make good decisions in who I was friends with, and to stay away from trouble.
I worked hard to plan my family and choose a church and choose a job and be wise with money. I’ve worked hard, and so often I’m pretty sure that I’ve got it together.
Of course, I have bad days…we all do. There are days were my kids are crying in the store, or I’m just a mess at home or I just can’t seem to get through that to-do list. These days are not rare, but I usually feel a general sense of “having it together”.
I mean…our family is still functioning. We have three kids and although I sometimes have a hard time, I usually reach the end of a day, week or month feeling like I generally have a hang on life.
Now I’m the One Who Doesn’t Have It All Together.
Last week, I attended church on a Sunday. With my three kids. Without my husband. I’ve recently been better at asking my church family if they would be willing to help me on Sundays, since Sundays are really hard. From the moment I walk into the doors of church, to the moment I leave, there are numerous people who are willing to help me.
But sometimes my kids are not willing to be helped, and I’m now The One who doesn’t have it together- at all.
We show up late, some has their pants on backwards, someone is missing a shoe. Someone is mad at me because I didn’t have time to braid her hair. Someone cries at the nursery drop off, and someone else throws a temper tantrum on the way into the sanctuary. We sit in the service and I spent 88 out of the 90 minutes telling my children what NOT to do, and what they should or could do instead. I’m exhausted. After the service, we gather downstairs for a church meal. I begin to panic, knowing that I’ve overestimated the capacity of my children to handle this day. The two younger ones are DONE, and we haven’t even reached the main part of the afternoon. What was I thinking, signing myself up for this? What was I thinking, even attempting to be at church for a meal after a long service that my children nearly fell apart in? What was I thinking, even being at church that morning when we were ALL a mess before we even stepped out of the door?
After the meal, our church had a lovely time of reciting Scripture. Together, the church memorized the entire book of Colossians. Each family took several verses and stood up front to recite their portion. Children of all ages are standing up front and reciting these beautiful verses from God’s Word. I’m not naive- I know the hard work that went into this. Hours around the dinner table, the breakfast table, the bedtime, practicing these verses. I’m sure there were temper tantrums and tears and overall, a faithful endurance as each family conquered their piece of Scripture.
And then came my turn. I nervously approached the microphone, holding Kiah in my arms. Tera, of course, disobeyed orders to stay in her seat and joined me up front. Heavenly asked me why she wasn’t allowed to go up front. As I held the microphone, Kiah grabbed at it and I shifted his weight to begin my verses. One person approached to take Kiah from me, and Kiah let out a high-pitched scream. My concentration was off, and I reeled. Kiah dropped his Paci and Tera picked it up to hand it to me. A second person approached to help me with Kiah, and again he refused. At this point I don’t even know where I am in my verse let alone what my verse is. It’s all over. As I stand in front, I am humbled to embarrassment. What a mess. I quickly read through my remaining verses, and book it out of there as fast as possible.
I left church feeling like it couldn’t possibly be the place for me. I didn’t belong there, among all the other families whose children can sit so quietly in the service, and who are able to spend hours practicing verses and successfully reciting them in front of a room full of people. I left feeling like I couldn’t possibly belong. Not because people didn’t welcome me in, or try to help me, but because I was too much of a mess to be useful in a place like that, amongst people like that (who are now so unlike me in my hot-mess-ness).
For the person who once always had it together, that was a really challenging conclusion to arrive at. It was a really challenging day. It was not only embarrassing and humbling, but I was quickly realizing that no matter how hard I try, I cannot have it together.
And this place of absolutely wrecked abandon?
It’s the right place to be.
It means that I cannot do, so the only thing I have left is Christ in me.
It means that I can sympathize with those who enter into a church or a new friend group feeling like they just don’t have it all together.
It means that I can be the first one to step forward and say “Hey, I certainly don’t have it all together. Let’s be messes together”.
It means that my children get to see a Mom who tries her best and works her hardest, but still needs Jesus. Every day (but especially Sundays LOL).
It means that I’m finally the one who doesn’t have it together.
So whether you are the one who does have it together, and you wonder how hard it can be to just pull it together, I’m here to tell you that on some days, it’s nearly impossible.
And if you are the one who doesn’t have it together, I’m here to tell you that I’m with you. I’m the one whose children don’t sit still in church, I’m the one who can’t seem to make it anywhere on time, I’m the one who has kids who are missing shoes and have their pants on backwards.
You are not alone.
(Now someone please tell me I’m not alone)