Monday, June 4, 2012

An A+ in Failure

Picture courtesy A. Squires and family
I thought I was alone in my misery. I could hide behind the computer screen and disguise my pain. Ignorance is bliss when others are in the dark. If you know what I mean. 

Any hope I had of maintaining a status quo evaporated when I read her status update: “In desperate need of prayer.” She spoke volumes without saying much at all. 

I collapsed like a Lego tower while reading my pain between her lines. By focusing on her pain and praying for her unknown crisis, I distracted myself. 

I imagined her pain wasn't as bad as my own. In a moment of selfishness, I hoped it was worse. Anything to make me feel better.

Hours ticked away while I waited for an update. When it came, I was not relieved. Her confession sailed out of the screen and into my heart as surely as a marksman's arrow meeting its aim. She could not keep up with all life is throwing at her. She felt like a failure.
Courtesy D. Scott

I dropped my cyber-mask. “Oh, you? Me too!” One brave confession led to others. Stronger hearts reached out to comfort weary ones. Bandaids for the soul appeared via the magic of cyberspace. If only the comfort would last forever.

Night turned to day before I was through sleeping. Truth is: I'm never through sleeping anymore. Maybe I'm reverting to a 2nd childhood with days and nights confused? 

Sleep is the easier choice because I am always running from the to do list I never make. I never make it because it will be written proof of how often and how big I fail.

I never make the list, but I always keep a tally in my head. I feel my shortcomings before my eyes are open each morning. I will never be who I want to be or accomplish what I want to accomplish. Why even begin to try again given how far behind I am?

I turned the shower on and let the water run over me wishing the old me would wash away. I don't have the energy to cry out much anymore, so a whimper had to do. 

“Hello, God? Fix me? Make today better than yesterday?” If I signed up, I doubt the Army could help me be all that I want to be. If God can't fix me, the Army sure can't.

Courtesy A. Hughes
The yard needs to be mowed. The back forty looks like a tropical rainforest again this summer. Let's don't talk about shrubs that need trimming. I don’t qualify for an episode of hoarders, but clutter has the upper hand right now. 

Who am I kidding? It most always has the upper hand. 

The kitchen. Is still. In process. The bathroom wallpaper I started stripping the night before I broke my leg 2 yrs ago? You get the picture. 

The taunting voice echoed in my soul, “Psst! Failure. Failure. Failure. You can only manage the minimum it takes to get by. F-a-i-l-u-r-e.”

As despair taunted me, an echo filled my soul:

No, my child, you are not the airbrushed model on the magazine cover. You are not the thin, beautiful blogging homeschool mom with a dozen kids and home business on the side. You are not the famously published author with legions of fans. 

Every day you hold up the measuring stick the world offers and find yourself wanting. Your eyes are filled with the taunting implications of perfection around you.

What you can't see is the reality behind those airbrushed images. You've bought the lie of Facebook success stories, Pinterest wonderlands, Twitter feeds, and magazine covers. The lies that say, “This is what success looks like.”
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

No one pins a picture of wakeful nights spent with a hurting child. How do you pin hours of tears shed after sleep overcame his pain. No one videos the reality of hard fought battles in the trenches of long division for YOU TUBE. Who tweets an Instagram of homelessness? Images captured in the gritty reality of ICU don't tell the tale of death's knock at your door. Yet, these have been the 'pins' of your life. These and more.

Don't you see? I see you. I see you in the trenches. I see you fighting to survive one more day: one more fever, one more broken heart, one more setback, one more disappointment, one more assault to who I say you are in me. I see your perfection even if you don't.

I didn't say I was looking for the fastest, snazziest runner. I am looking for the one who will finish the race. You got up today. You ministered to family and friends around you. You are doing what I have called you to do. Only I have a 'pin' for days spent surviving in the trenches of your life.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Oh, fraidy cat, I don't know the fear that chases you today. I do know most everyone is running to keep up with images of perfection permeating our world. 

He sees you. He sees the hard fought victories in sleepless nights. He sees the loneliness a 'pin' cannot describe. He sees the guilt when an A+ in Failure mocks you from the pinboard of your life.

He looks at us and sees the sacrifice of his son. In that sacrifice, he redeemed and redeems the failures that haunt us. On the Pinterest boards of eternity, he sees you on the one labeled 'Perfection'. 

Underneath the board is an A+ whose url links back to all the things he saw when no one else was looking. Love you long and strong. So does he.

2 Timothy 4:7 (Amplified Bible)
I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith. 



  1. Carol - this is precious and so many need to hear it! I need encouragement every day! did you know I have RA? today- it's after 12 and I'm still in the bed. we are watching movies - because mommy can't move well yet. (there are storms) I cannot keep up with the house - yesterday I lost my cool and yelled at the boys because they are so messy & I was really yelling (partially because they are messy) mostly because I feel it is my failure that our home isn't in perfect order (it was not anywhere close and it still isn't) we all worked together to make some improvement but the boys can't even go in the back yard right now because the grass is too long - I can only do what I can do & I have to let go of the rest and REST in God's grace and love - but sometimes - I forget to let go and I take on that burden. Then I really drop the ball - big hugs to you - praying for you and the wonderful ladies in this group. God is good!

  2. Kelli, I did not know you have RA but understand the struggles as one of my best friends also deals with that reality. I think the hardest thing for me to accept is that I need to rest and do so w/o a sense of apology or guilt. I slept late today. For the 1st time, I did so in sweet peace and without guilt. Yesterday was a pivotal moment in life. I was able to forgive me for not being all I feel the world tells me I should be. Blessings to you for your part in Prov 31 Bible study!

  3. You. Are. A. Blessing. to. Me..... Thank you!

    1. That goes double for me! Love you long and strong!