I looked up at those words, and I saw . . . myself, or at least someone very much like me, about a decade or so ago.
A young mom stood before me, preschooler in tow and toddler in the basket.
“Are you crafty?” she asked again, a hint of desperation creeping into her voice. “I’m looking for string. To make a spider web. To help with their fine motor skills.”
I smiled and remembered those days—those days of trying so hard to teach little ones all they need to know and of being so frightened of leaving something out, leaving something undone.
So, as I led her to the string, I said, “It gets easier. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier.”
Her relief was visible, almost touchable, and so I smiled again. “You’re doing a great job”—because sometimes you can just tell—“and it’s going to get easier.”
She took the string and went on her way. But as I later thought about our encounter, I realized that although she was looking for string, what she really needed was . . . hope.
I wanted to find her, then, and tell her so many things . . . about life, about motherhood, about doing all that you can, day in and day out, until your eyes ache and your legs burn and you’re ready to collapse in a heap on the still-not-yet-vacuumed floor.
I wanted tell her that I understand about doing all that you can and still feeling inadequate . . . not enough.
I wanted to tell her that she doesn’t have to be perfect. That love covers a multitude of sins and that mommy hugs erase those mommy failures that we all have.
I wanted to tell her that there is hope and light and love and laughter. That there is One who would give her the strength to keep comforting at 3 a.m., the patience to play just one more game and read just one more book, and the love to wipe away one more tear.
But most of all, I wanted to tell her that there is One who will wipe away her tears, who will comfort her heart, and who will be her strength when she is weak.
Because that’s what He did—and does—for me.
The truth is this thing we call “life” is hard. It just is. But it’s that hardness that sends us searching for Him. And it’s the mistakes, the mishaps, and the imperfections that carve out space for His grace. Yes, it is hard, but there is hope. And there is joy. And there is laughter and love and light. We only have to open our eyes and see it—see Him. Because He is the One—the only One—who takes all this crazy and makes it . . . wonderful.
That’s what I want to tell that young mother . . . and you . . . and myself. Because when we’re out there searching for our bit of string to hold it all together, what we really need is . . . Him.
For so long, I thought I was the only one who needed to learn these lessons about life, but I’m beginning to see that I’m not alone. So I want to invite you to my join me in my learning. I want to welcome you to my thoughts, to my wonderings and wanderings, to my attempts to live to His glory . . . to find Him in the midst of this crazy-wonderful, mixed-up, messed-up thing we call life.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”