It had been one of those days. You might know the kind. A day in the deepest part of the trenches. The dark part, the messy part, the part of the parenting trenches that screams, “You aren’t doing anything right!” As 4:00 rolled around, I knew my limit was coming. Four o’clock is my breaking point, mamas. It is the point in the day where the line is drawn. Either we race with peace to the five o’clock finish line (when Daddy comes home), or we begin deteriorating in a way that mimics a civil war battlefield.
On this particular day, I felt the battlefield coming on. Britton couldn’t keep his hands off Beckett or prevent his tongue from uttering his favorite word (poopie). I had already spent the previous seven hours disciplining this behavior and redirecting his attention - so let’s just say by 4:00 I raised my white flag. I was finished.
And so, at 4:01 I decided the only way we would all survive the battlefield was to sequester each boy in his respective room to 1) keep them from killing each other and 2) keep me from imploding due to a loss of sanity. Since my discipline-o-meter was rendered inoperable by 4:00 p.m., putting the boys in their rooms was the BEST I could do. But, my best felt terrible.
In hopes of salvaging some gold stars from the day, I thought I might have better luck fulfilling my spousal duties, so I began to cook dinner. I had delicious dreams of an asparagus ricotta flatbread that would serve as an edible band-aid to my exhausting and treacherous parenting day. Since I am a sub-par baker, the BEST I could do was purchase premade pizza dough from the commissary. But, I couldn’t help but think of those Pintastic moms clutching their pearls over the thought of store-bought pizza dough, and so, my best felt terrible.
Despite my valiant attempts to spin/twirl/toss that dough like a pro, I was missing a critical piece of knowledge: You can’t stretch cold pizza dough. Consequently, my flatbread dough looked like this when I put it on the pan. (Seriously, this was THE BEST I could do. And oh my goodness, it looked terrible).
Have you ever been there, mama? If you haven’t, just keep parenting longer. You can’t escape these years without having days when the best you can give feels terribly inadequate. When all you have left to provide is the tiniest love offering, the smallest olive branch, or the weakest handshake. But listen mamas, even your terrible bests are terribly pleasing to God.
You see, putting my kids in their rooms was my only chance to protect them from my temper. Buying pizza dough was the only way dinner would ever get made. And throwing my pizza dough disaster into the oven in its holiest form (pun very much intended) was my only chance at salvaging the day.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul is dealing with a “thorn in his flesh”. We don’t know specifically what this was (possibly an ailment, or a pair of rambunctious toddlers), but during this time he had a vision from God.
“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.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
Even in my weakest moments, God’s grace is sufficient. The grace to remove my kids from one another, the grace to be OK with sub-par, and the grace to let go of my perfectionistic tendencies. Because Christ’s power is made PERFECT in our weakness. Did you hear that? Perfect in our weakness. Perfect in our brokenness. Perfect in our exhaustion. Perfect when all we can give is our Terrible Best.
As I threw together the holey pizza, I began to see it transform. The delicious and appealing toppings started to cover up the imperfections of the dough, creating a HOLY reminder of God’s grace. His beauty made perfect in my imperfections.
My terrible best became terribly beautiful right before my eyes.
These trenches are deep and exhausting and demanding, but they are also made perfect when we accept God’s grace. Don’t let your terrible bests define you, but rather be like Paul and boast of those weaknesses so Christ’s power can rest upon you. He’s there, mama, ready and waiting to make your terrible bests terribly perfect for His kingdom.
I am a lover of people, a child of God, and a laugher at jokes. I write words, cry tears and smile at strangers.