Last night I had a meltdown. Maybe that’s too dramatic? At the least, it was a crying spell. I had spent the day looking after my ~almost~ two-year-old son and cleaning our home for guests that were coming over the weekend. I love my son and genuinely enjoy him and I adore our guests who are coming and am really looking forward to spending time with them this weekend, but it had been a long day in the house and my husband had plans that evening so I was on my own for the bedtime struggle.
Anyways, that day my son decided that he was going to have freak-outs about EVERYTHING that didn’t go his way. He wanted to watch more minions, didn’t want me to turn the water off in the bath tub, didn’t want me to touch his hair wash his hair, wouldn’t take more than 5 ml of medicine, certainly no diapers, and wouldn’t let me brush his hair. Oh yeah, and he had already pooped on the floor before all of these meltdowns happened. Back to the meltdowns… I’m talking full-on tears, red face, coughing and gagging because of the tears meltdown. THAT kind of meltdown. You know, it’s comical now reflecting on it all but in the middle of his, I don’t know, 5th meltdown of the night, I lost it. I thought to myself, “Oh God, what have I done? Have I already screwed this little boy up? Is he too spoiled? Is something wrong with him? What am I supposed to do right now? And how in the world am I going to do this AND take care of a newborn in a month!? I’m completely failing.”
And that’s when my crying spell ensued.
I found myself sitting on our bathroom floor crying, holding my soaking wet wailing son who just crawled out of the tub, trying to comfort him but that clearly wasn’t working. I felt so overwhelmed. Powerless. Weak.
Eventually we got to his room, diaper on, snuggled in pajamas, reading Disney’s The Prince and the Pauper but all I could think of was how I’m failing at this mother thing and how weak I was feeling.
Once the quiet of the night came with my sweet son sound asleep in his room, I sensed the Lord repeating, “My power is made perfect in weakness,” and I was reminded of the words Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Yes— Paul’s weaknesses and hardships consisted of him being persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, and mocked for Christ, while mine were a cranky two-year-old and a pile of self-doubt, but in that moment, I felt like I related quite a bit to Paul.
But as I started reflecting on this passage, I decided that I wasn’t going to dwell on the, “I’m a failure” and, “what have I done wrong?” thoughts, but instead accept and even boast in the fact that I am weak, the fact that I don’t know what to do in certain moments and that a little two-year-old can knock down my defenses pretty quickly.
I’m choosing to know that in me gracefully accepting that I am weak and don’t have it all together, that God’s power is being perfect. But what does that actually mean?
This is conjecture, but I don’t know if Paul actually intended for us to walk around with a sign on our back saying, “I’m weak and proud of it.” I think that what he meant by ‘boasting in our weakness,’ was that we should be vulnerable with one another. We should be real and open and honest in saying we don’t have it all together. We should be comfortable letting the world know that the job offer shouldn’t have came, that the college acceptance letter was a outright miracle, that the fact that our kid shared a cookie with a classmate absolutely blew our minds, that the rent was paid, that we were able to walk into a room of beautiful women without a single thought of self-hate entering our mind, or that we were able keep a sense of peace as dinner came out of the oven pitch black. This is SO contrary to our current Instagram-able culture. We are told that we have to portray our lives as perfect and that we are capable of it all without a single helping hand.
That's where we miss out on something major— we miss out on the opportunity to show ourselves and the world God’s power. Our friends don't get to see our everyday miracles because all they know is that we are completely capable, that obviously we made it, we accomplished it.
So here I am, telling you that it’s a downright miracle I got my son in bed that night, minions turned off, bathed, hair brushed, medicine taken, and diaper firmly secured. I wasn’t strong enough to do that on my own, but with HIS power, HIS strength, I was made capable.
His strength rested upon me in a way that it couldn't have if I thought I had it all together and insisted that I didn’t need help. His grace is sufficient for me- right in the middle of tantrums and meltdowns and crying spells (mine or my son’s).
Maybe days like these spent with little ones aren’t your reality right now. Maybe your struggles like as much like mine as mine do with Paul’s (which isn’t very much). BUT, I know that you can relate to the feeling of being a failure. Of being weak. Of being powerless. Whether you’re feeling that at your job, in school, in relationships, in finances, or anything else— I want to encourage you to boast in your weakness, to believe in faith that Christ’s grace is sufficient for you right where you are, and to believe that it is His power that is revealed to the world when you say, “I can’t do this, but I know who can.”
I hope to see you on November 10th