08 Apr 2014

For when you’re having an “I’m not enough” week

How do you measure meaning in the life of a mom?




Is it in diapers changed?

Loads of laundry folded?

Dishes washed and stacked and put away?

Is it in temper tantrums soothed, fevers treated, number of steps walked to rock babies back to sleep?

What about all those dentist appointments and chocolate chip cookies baked? Is it in cups of tea poured and teddy bear tea parties attended? In baby dolls lost and found and lost again?




Do we measure a year in developmental milestones or growth charts or good behavior sticker sheets? Do we count all the time outs and spills and failures and starting overs and regrets and missed opportunities and nightmares and wanting to run home to our mothers?

Or maybe it’s in how we’re learning to tell the truth about motherhood? Or get over our mom guilt?

Do we count it in new grey hairs and wrinkles and pounds? Do we judge it on the clothes we couldn’t wear this year because despite our best efforts they still don’t fit us?

Do we judge ourselves on whether our kids finally, finally potty trained or if they can spell their names?

Is it in secrets whispered between bunk beds and hearts tenderly opened and offered – all six years worth of learning how to be human. Is it in hearing your daughter lisp, “I wuv you, mama” or your son try to monkey hug you four times in a row?

Is it in early morning commutes to daycare drop offs or vacation days spent in the pediatrician’s office? Is it in mascara-streaked cheeks and moments spent quietly crying in the ladies’ room at work when we missed their field trip?

Is this year still penalizing us with working mother’s guilt or do we measure the grace we’re learning to give ourselves?




Maybe it’s all of this and all of this adds up to a handful of loaves and fish that we didn’t think would be enough.

Not enough of us to go around.

Not enough of us to handle the growth spurts and teenage years and best friend break ups.

Not enough of us to manage to single parent for the months he was deployed or on the road for work or simply walked out.

Not enough at midnight and not enough at 4pm when no one wants to do their homework and there’s still no plan for dinner.

Not enough when he’s screaming how much he wishes he had a different mother and she’s trying to sneak into that skirt you’ve told her is too short when you’re short on patience and grace and no parenting book could have ever prepared you for this.

Not enough meal planning and not enough gas for all those car pool runs and not enough hair to pull out on the all out, full on crazy days.

Not enough patience in the galaxy for the mornings all 14 pairs of socks he tries on he throws over his shoulder and declares too uncomfortable.

Not enough time to juggle the OT appointments and the tae kwon do lessons and the scrubbing off the bathroom stains.

Not enough romance or good days or courage.

But here’s the thing – you’re not the first “not enough” and you won’t be the last.



And what you thought you couldn’t give, Jesus gives thanks for and breaks and multiplies and there is just enough for today.

And tomorrow.

And at 2am.

There He is again, singing over you as you sing over sick babies and breaking your heart into bits and pieces of holy, sacred sacrifice.

More than you could have known.

Measuring your year in all the broken, ordinary glory. Heaped high.

A sacrifice of praise.

Your making and unmaking and remaking.

Immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. He measures out to us.

And He is always enough.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Thank you. Just, thank you. I needed these words this morning. Because I work outside the home, I cherish weekends with our daughters, but this past one was a rough, rough one. Yesterday morning, before getting out of bed, I thought to myself, “Today is going to be my do-over.” And then our 2.5 year old, Ellie, had a massive meltdown that left her screaming for the entire half an hour we were together before leaving for the day. As my husband pulled out of the driveway, tears were stinging my eyes. It wasn’t much past 6:30, and my do-over was already in shambles. On days like that, sacrifice doesn’t feel much at all like praise. It is so good to know that God knows our hearts and our circumstances and our love, even when it is clouded with impatience and pain and harsh words flung from tiny lips. Thank you for reminding me that He is enough, for the good days, for the bad days, and for the do-over days gone wrong.

  2. 2

    How I miss the younger years…yes they had their moments of insanity but I MISS that! Now my boys are venturing into the world of middle school and teenage angst…a whole new chapter…and a very scary one!! Bring back the boo boos and tantrums!!!

  3. 3

    Omg, I’m dealing with the other end of this!
    There is a Production Assistant position I want…which is well below my experience level, but I’m struggling to put together a resume that shows it. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 25 years. I was able to go back to school and finish my Animation degree as a result of my divorce.
    I know the Producer of the project, and felt God pushing me to step out. I told him, “I’m a mom, so I know how to problem solve, be in two places at once, and wrangle cats. All that AND I understand the animation pipeline.”
    He told me to call him this afternoon!!

    Being a mom WA my career choice, but I just turned 50 and I’ve never applied for a professional position before. And the world says “NOW what are you going to do?”
    And GOD SAYS, “It’s okay. I’ve got this. “

  4. 4

    Like Carrie Underwood belted out “Jesus take the wheel” and I say YES because when I try to be the backseat driver we go nowhere fast but if I sit back and do life as it comes and give my life to Jesus then I don’t need to worry about staying on the road of life… not only am I enough, but HE IS!

  5. 5

    This is for me today. In tears over here. I feel like broken bread and fish, and I am so glad to be reminded that is enough for today.

    x Joanna

  6. 6

    So glad to know my son isn’t the only one with a sock fetish. And last night after the third Popsicle and bowl of ice cream for my daughter that wasn’t “just right” and I said out loud, “I give up. I just don’t want to be the mom tonight. I don’t want to be the needed one, I want someone to cater to me…” I needed this reminder. That I will never be enough for them in my own power, but Jesus is always enough and He gives me just what I need to give them just what they need. One more time. One more day. At a time. Thank you, as always, for your words that remind me I’m not alone. Bless you fiend!

  7. 7

    How did you know this is exactly what I needed to read today? After an evening and middle-of-the-night marathon of making dinner for the next night, making brownies for my birthday girl to take to school, typing minutes for a ministry team meeting and shepherding a three year old back to bed multiple times, I felt like everything I did was just scrambling instead of succeeding. And today, my middle one turns 11 and I will hardly see her – early to school for band practice, quick dinner and Happy Birthday singing before Daddy takes her to her science fair while I stay home with our three year old. It’s such a struggle – having a job I enjoy and am good at, but feeling guilty at the same time that I’m not at home with our little one like I was with her big sisters. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the reminder and soothing words.

  8. 8

    If it was measured in laundry FOLDED, I’d lose (but I could be a contender if it was counted in WASHED). :-) I’m ever so glad God is in the business of strengthening weakness and multiplying offerings. Thanks for this encouragement to bring Him whatever I have wholeheartedly and to trust Him to stand in the gaps.

  9. 9

    Such a great write up on the “not enough”. It’s such a lie that we are supposed to be enough, all the time, so everything is perfect. On days when I bake bread and make a nice meal, I cringe because homeschooling was too short. I finally get the 3 loads of laundry put away at night, but guess what? The price was I didn’t read to my little ones again. I make time for my husband only because they have been zoned out to youtube watching God knows what for the last hour! The perfect achieving is impossible, or if achieved would be completely neurotic I am convinced…until I feel guilty again of course. This feeding of the 5,000 story I love. This Jesus saying thank you for what was right in His hand right now to serve the need right now. Gratitude, in the right now, not in the tasks done. Why can’t I remember these lessons at 8 30 at night?

  10. 10

    Oh, Lisa-Jo, you are beautiful and wonderful and this is just what I needed! The loaves and the fishes is so perfect a story for today, so perfect a lesson for me to re-learn.

    I’m taking my sweet time reading your book in between all the things, and I don’t even mind because it makes it all last longer! Thank you for sharing it with us!


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