Every morning I wake up around 6:00 am. I make my way to the kitchen for that much-needed coffee and head back to my room to settle into my comfy chair. I used to head to the den for my workout but that’s a story for another time.
After a few sips of this liquid gold that somehow works its way into my achy joints and tired eyes, I grab my favorite devotionals and read the theme for the day. I’m instantly transformed into a positive outlook and better attitude. I spend some time writing in my journal and close out with some quiet prayer time.
All is good in the world. I feel positive, strong, and able to leap tall teenagers in a single bound. Then I walk out of my room and well, let’s say some days it just ain’t pretty.
Real life has a habit of stealing your joy, your peace, and your resolve. Challenges of work, household duties and raising children are enough to send even the Dalai Lama over the edge. So what’s a single mom to do? How do I hold on to those feelings of inner peace and strength throughout the day? Let me tell you, it’s a challenge.
I’ve said it in this space before – sometimes when faced with chaos – I just pray “God Help Me!” about a billion times and within seconds, peace comes over me and I’m back to the person I was sitting in my room in those wee hours.
Other times – not so much. I lose my temper, overreact, and say stupid things, even hurtful things to my kids for which I’m instantly regretful. The inevitable, “I’m sorry” comes next and I attempt to smooth over the rocky situation I just created.
You may be thinking I’m a hypocrite daring to speak of all things God and spiritual but yet I still yell at my kids or curse at the guy who cut me off on the Merritt Parkway. I’m here to tell you that I’m not a hypocrite, I’m human. And…guess what? So are you.
As moms, we try so hard to do everything right. We are skilled at all of the details of our children’s lives, orchestrating them to have perfect outcomes. When they don’t, we feel guilty or even worse, tell ourselves we are terrible mothers.
While I don’t do the guilt thing, I do feel badly when my outward behavior doesn’t match my inner beliefs. I want to be a good representative of all things Christian, but sometimes I fail…miserably.
Here’s what I’ve learned. I have learned that I’m going to fail. Every. Single. Day. I’m not perfect. My kids need to see me fail to show them that life is full of failures and mistakes and dumb things. What they don’t need to see me do is fail over and over doing the same thing or worse, ignoring the failure altogether and doing nothing about it.
My faith doesn’t teach that you have to be perfect. You sure want to give it the good ol’ college try but there are going to be days when you will lay in your bed at night and just beg forgiveness because you were a hot mess that day.
That’s ok. Jesus liked hot messes. Take a look at his apostles – a whole slew of hot messes. And yikes – Mary Magdalene? But they all kept trying, knowing that the mistakes of yesterday were long forgotten and forgiven. Today is a new day.
God knows my heart. He knows I’m doing the best I can. He knows I want to be a good PR rep for him, but he also knows that I’m going to mess up. Instead of beating myself up for these hiccups, He wants me to rely on him for help. Before the harsh words come out of my mouth, stop. Before gossiping about other people, stop. Before thinking negatively about a situation, stop.
When you stop for a moment and breathe or pray or walk away, you are able to regroup and regain perspective. You are able to fulfill your intention for the day to be a good mom or good colleague or whatever. It only takes a second or two to prevent a bad situation. But it takes much longer to repair that situation if hurtful words or actions are done.
I had many opportunities to practice this lesson this past week. Challenges at work and home threatened my very core. Had I not taken a moment to practice this simple task, let’s just say that the world would’ve seen a side of me unknown to man.
These are the simple things I do to help me live the life of a single mom on a spiritual journey raising two teenagers. Nothing grandiose, nothing that takes hours to do. Minutes of reading something positive. Minutes of prayer time. One second of breathing. All do-able.
So, while I’d love to spend my days in quiet contemplation in my room, I’m pretty certain that I’d likely be jostled out of my peaceful trance by my kids shouting out those three dreaded words, “What’s for dinner?”
And for this dinner-challenged mom, that’s when my three little words, “God Help Me” are most needed.
I think the Beach Boys’ song, “In My Room” sums it up nicely. Take a walk down memory lane and listen to this timeless song.