By Darcie Fuqua, Crosswalk.com
Dear Beautiful Mom,
I know there are times in your life when you feel incapable of your roles and responsibilities. Maybe your feelings of inadequacy stem from the most challenging job in the world—being a mother. Perhaps you feel incompetent in your career or believe you are not bringing enough to the table in your marriage or other relationships. Possibly you are enduring a particularly rough season where you think you don't measure up or are never good enough.
I will let you in on a secret. Everyone goes through a dry season or two... or ten, scraping the bottom of the barrel. I don't say this to compare hardships or make you feel guilty for your feelings of inadequacy. Your feelings and emotions are valid. Trust me, I've been in your position more times than I would like to share, and what I've learned is that everyone's "hard" is different, but it doesn't make it any less hard.
Whether you are in the season of rearing young children or teenagers or embarking on the years of an empty nest, you will always question your capabilities as a mom. Am I capable of raising a disabled son who feels included and loved? Am I capable of raising a brave child in this hostile world? I don't know if I have what it takes to help my daughter understand her worth and break free from depression. And there will be many occasions when you doubt your ability in your career and other relationships. It happens to all of us.
Sometimes, in life, you will live with a powerless mindset and go through the motions just to get to the next day. And this is okay, as long as you don't take a permanent vacation in this position. It’s all part of the learning process. Early in my parenting days, I took an unplanned "vacation" and stayed longer than I should have.
Recently, I stumbled across a picture of me holding my oldest son right before his first Christmas. I remember walking around our quaint downtown with my mom and my nine-month-old babbling baby boy. The entire town exploded with Christmas cheer. White lights hung from every tree, and the storefront windows were turned into magical snowy scenes. Poinsettias and Chrysanthemums were planted on every street corner and on top of the white picket trashcans.
It was like a scene out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. But, I wasn't playing a jolly character captivated by the scenery with the lights twinkling in her eyes. No, I was trying to get out of the house and do something—anything—to take my focus off my situation and the accompanying screaming thoughts of my insufficiencies. And while my racing thoughts slowed, the merry atmosphere only perpetuated my feelings of inferiority.
I watched other moms with their toddlers in tow, shopping bags spilling out of their strollers, and perfectly pressed outfits. It seemed the other moms had it all together. I wanted to be like them. I was supposed to be like the other moms. I had done everything according to plan—college, marriage, career, house with the white picket fence (okay, a privacy fence), a couple of dogs, and then a baby.
The stroll around town only fueled my dissatisfaction with where I fell in my storyline. I was worn out from living in the devastating aftermath of the plot twist God wrote into my story. Tired of waiting for God to usher in the happy ending, I decided to take control of the situation and pursue my own path back to the confident career woman, doting wife, and new mom I used to play. Little did I know then, but this would only derail and delay my healing.
See, friend, I had let a diagnosis render me incapable when it was the enemy's lies disarming me and feeding my insecurities. The enemy had a field day with my mind. He let me believe I was not the best mom for the job and was failing as a wife. The enemy was quick on his feet and would kick three negative thoughts my way whenever something positive came about. And most of all, he made me view myself as a burden—not just incapable—but a drain on the people I loved.
Often, our feelings of inadequacy come from misplaced priorities and being stretched too thin. I had the checklist life, making plans and diligently checking them off. But I didn't have the correct ranking order with my relationship with Christ topping the list. So when the checklist got crumpled up and thrown in the trash, I jumped into the dumpster. I frantically searched for my old self instead of anchoring myself in God's Word and embracing His new plans for me.
I depended on my strength and capabilities at that time instead of leaning into Christ's strength. In my trials, I glorified my weaknesses but not in the correct way. Instead, I sulked and ruminated far too long on my emotions and shortcomings. But it was all part of the learning process, so I could truly understand the gift of God's grace as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 12:9. "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
None of my trials were for waste, and none of yours will be fruitless either. Romans 8:28 reminds us of this: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
I truly understand the difficulty of trusting and letting go of control. But you have to be willing to surrender your checklist and let God mold, shape, and transform you. "Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand" (Isaiah 64:8). In the surrender is where your incapability collides with our Father's limitless capabilities. Let Him do good work in you!
Beloved, it's time to move past the rotten fruit at the bottom of the barrel and take hold of the good fruits (Galatians 5:22). Let the Holy Spirit do His work in your life and live in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)! Extend these gifts to all of those you meet, and don't forget to apply these same graces to yourself.
And take the picture, momma! Even when you feel at your worst, even when you are in sweats, even when you think, "I can't. I just can't anymore." Take the picture. I'm beyond grateful for the downtown Christmas picture of my son and me. Of course, I see an underweight woman who had suffered through months of suffocating depression. I notice the dark under-eye circles from lack of sleep and nutrition. And I see the semi-forced smile.
But do you know what else I see? I see the beautiful, natural smile of a happy child. I look at a mom who got up and dressed despite her circumstances willing her to stay in bed. I see a woman who persevered when she wanted to give up. And I see the pottery wheel starting to spin and the water and dust taking form into a new creation—imperfect in all my ways but perfected by His.
Remember when your confidence is shaken, and you feel like the shoes are too big to fit: seek Him first. When you come face-to-face with everything you think you are NOT, remind yourself of everything Christ is, and know He's got this (Philippians 4:13). Let Jesus do His good work in you!
Your Sister and Friend
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Tatyana Tomsickova
Darcie Fuqua is a Business Analyst, Auburn Grad (War Eagle!), Christian blogger & podcast host, and mental health advocate. She is from the deep south of Alabama, where she currently resides with her husband, two energetic fun-loving boys, and a dog named Charlie. She loves sinking her toes in the sand, cuddling with her boys, and having great conversations over a table of good food. You can read more of her writing on her website www.leightonlane.com and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. Check out Darcie’s latest project as cohost of Therapy in 10.