February 21, 2011

Less Than Perfect

I glanced at the report card and back at her, tears streaming down her face.

Knowing this would someday come doesn't lessen the pain. It's there, ugly and uncontrollable. She puddles before me, all preteen hormones and disappointment.

I fold her into my arms, speak soothing tones as my hands brush through those tousled curls I envy and adore. But what consolation is there when you realize that you tried so hard and came up just short? When the hope of perfection shatters into a thousand tiny shards that slice you to the very core?

Later I tell my parents the story. My mom smiles knowingly. The apple didn't fall far from the tree. I still remember too well those years of striving - needing - to be perfect. So afraid to fail and disappoint anyone that I nearly destroyed myself.

Is this the legacy I'm leaving my daughter?

There are many things I want to pass down to her.

~quilts made by my great-grandmothers

~family Bibles filled with scribbles of generations before us, lessons learned and heritages traced

~a love of classical music

~the joy of reading

There are many things I hope to cultivate in her.

~a hunger for the Word, written and made flesh

~a heart of gratitude

~a spirit of contentment and obedience

~an appreciation of God's mercy and grace

But this - this need to be my own redemption, my own accomplishment? I never wanted her to feel the sense of hopelessness that ruled over me for years.

And yet God used that very thing to bring me to Him. It wasn't until I accepted my glaring insufficiency that I could accept His complete sufficiency.

I long to instill this truth in her heart, berate myself for not doing a better job. The dull ache in the pit of my stomach comes fierce.  Sometimes I forget that I am not sufficient

to live the life I desperately crave

to love those around me with the love of Jesus

to praise Him as He deserves

to pass down anything of lasting worth to my daughter, except the One alone whose grace is sufficient.

I cannot change my heart or hers. I can only grab her hand and bring her alongside, together learning to accept His marvelous, scandalous, miraculous, infinite, and all-sufficient grace.

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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Cheryl Smith said...

I have a teen who melted into a puddle this weekend from the stress of an intense violin lesson and upcoming all-state auditions. I gently remind her that she is not the sum total of how she performs but I think my words don't often penetrate her driven ambition. Hopefully the prayers will.

Lisa notes... said...

I feel my own heart's ache in this post, Melissa. As a mother, as a sister, as a fellow sinner. I still grapple with 2 Cor 12. How can His power be perfected in my weakness? I take it on faith.