What do you do when you feel like an unqualified mom?
Or an unqualified wife, or leader?
What do you do when you feel broken? Wounded?
What do you do when you recognize just how sinful you are?
It was a Wednesday, which is the day that I’m flying solo as a parent for the majority of the day. I realize it’s only one day a week, but still – that day can be tough sometimes.
So when bedtime rolled around, and anxiety reared it’s ugly head once again, I was struggling.
With anxiety, simple things – like brushing teeth, getting PJs on, and going to the bathroom – often turn into huge issues that take much longer than they I think they should. I had approxiamately 1 ounce of patience left, and I was doing all I could to keep it together.
I prayed and asked God to somehow keep me calm, and I did my best to keep my cool. For whatever reason, either He didn’t or I didn’t or both.
I lost it. I couldn’t hold it together any longer.
I yelled – No, I screamed. I walked away to try and calm down. She followed me instead of doing what was asked. My emotions were overboard and so were hers. We were a mess.
But mostly, I was a mess.
The anger I felt inside scared me. I stood there crying, looking out of the windows from our loft, feeling broken.
I didn’t want to lose it. I didn’t want to hurt my child with my words. I didn’t want to cause her to be more anxious, more fearful, or more upset. But I did all of that.
I felt horrible, and completely insufficient to be her mother.
Soon after, she was apologizing and I was apologizing and there were tears and hugs.
I want to forget that moment when I completely lost it, but on the other hand, I don’t want to forget.
It’s a reminder that I am utterly, 100% a sinner in need of grace. It reminds me that I’m broken, wounded, and an unqualified mom, wife, and leader.
Yet, despite my brokenness and weakness, I AM a wife, mom, and leader.
How can this be? Isn’t there some level of qualification we need to perform these all-important tasks of life? To lead our children? To walk through life with our husbands? To minister to other women or families or whomever God calls us to?
Well, the answer is yes, and no.
BEING AN UNQUALIFIED MOM
I recently read this book: “Unqualified: How God Uses Broken People to do Big Things” by Steven Furtick* (affiliate link).
It’s an incredible book, and I highly recommend you pick it up if you are interested in being used by God – whether you are a stay-at-home mom or the leader of a huge ministry.
The book boils down 3 main concepts and how they relate to being used by God: identity, weakness, and change.
- About identity, Furtick says, “God knows your true identity – the real you – and he loves you just as you are.”
- Then he explains that there must be “acceptance of yourself, including your weaknesses.”
- Finally, we need to be willing to change: “God’s work in your life isn’t meant to squelch or eradicate the real you but rather to bring out the best possible version of you.”
I was most struck by the weaknesses part of this book. Mostly because I’ve often been someone who feels the need to please, to succeed, and to do all the right things to gain favor.
But the fact is, there is nothing I can do to make God love me more or less.
So the moment I lost with my daughter didn’t cause God to think any less of me. He already knew, and He already loved me.
Furtick says this in the book:
“I’m convinced that God lets some of our weaknesses hang around because they offer a window into our need for him.”
That’s exactly what my moment of weakness showed me: my need for Jesus. My need for a Saviour – because there’s no way, even when I’m trying really hard, to be perfect.
There is ALWAYS the potential for sin in my life, so there is always a need to be surrendered to my Savior.
[bctt tweet= “There is ALWAYS the potential for sin in my life, so there is always a need to be surrendered.”]
WHERE THE LIGHT SHINES THROUGH
Furtick opens the book with a powerful quote from Leonard Cohen:
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
So often we try to fix the cracks. Fill up the wounds. Repair the broken places. And certainly there is healing and change that takes place, and should take place, in the life of a Christian.
But what if, as Furtick suggests, these cracks – these wounds, these broken places – are actually where people can see Christ through us?
Switchfoot says it best in the title track off their new album, Where the Light Shines Through:
“Why you running from yourself now?
You can’t run away
Because your scars
Shine like dark stars
Yeah, your wounds are where the light shines through
So let’s go there
To that place where
We sing these broken prayers
Where the light shines through
The wound is where the light shines through”
What if people don’t need to see perfection to see Jesus?
What if, instead, they need to see our authenticity? Our imperfection?
Often in Christian circles, we feel that we can’t admit our weakness to each other or to the “outside world”.
Heather MacFadyen of God Centered Mom said on her podcast recently:
“I think there’s this false impression of Christianity… That you will be kicked out of the group if they find out that there’s any weakness or past hurt or wrong.”
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. People can actually see Jesus better through our openness, our vulnerability, and our imperfections.
So for me, this book – and this song – are a reminder that I can stop trying to be perfect, to get rid of my weaknesses, or even to somehow become qualified.
“It isn’t about being strong despite weaknesses. It isn’t about being strong after weaknesses are gone. It’s about being strong in and through and because of weaknesses.” (emphasis added)
He refers to what happens to be my life verse from the Bible:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
My weaknesses are okay, because Jesus is the one who qualifies me.
Furtick wraps up the book with this: “The solution to being unqualified is to know Jesus.”
[bctt tweet= “‘The solution to being unqualified is to know Jesus.’ – @stevenfurtick #unqualified”]
Maybe you’ve had moments like me – when you feel complete and total shame or even disgust at your own weaknesses, wounds, or past failures.
Maybe you’ve even thought that those things would keep you from being qualified as a wife, mom, or ministry leader. If so, know that you are not alone.
Dr. Peggy Banks (Global Ministry Director of Project Hannah), said on the God Centered Mom podcast:
“Never in a million years would I have thought that God would call this person – this woman – so broken and bruised, to a leadership position like this…. God does not waste anything in our lives, even our pain and suffering, our difficulties. He can turn that around and transform that, so that your story will bring His glory.”
Let’s agree, you and I, to stop feeling horrible about our weaknesses.
Let’s agree to allow God to change us and heal us.
And let’s accept that we are, in fact, unqualified for what God calls us to do, and that our wounds are where the light shines through for others to see His glory.
Do you ever feel like an unqualified mom, wife, or leader? Share in the comments below!
*Disclaimer: Blogging for Books has provided me with a complimentary copy of “(Un)qualified: How God Uses Broken People to do Big Things” in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255
**Affiliate links mean that if you choose to make a purchase as a result of clicking on a link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to support the costs of producing the blog & podcast.