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I post about my failings and flaws often. I post about losing my temper with my children, about not folding the laundry, about my imperfect parenting and all the ways I fail that everyone can comfortably relate to. You see, it’s easy to fail when you are among friends, when you are pretty sure that you’re really just saying what everyone else is thinking and you can all pat each other on the back and high five and say Oh, me too, me too!

But, the truth is, lately, I feel myself slipping in uncomfortable, pit-in-your-stomach ways. In finding less time to be quiet, in finding less time to be humble, in finding more and more things to fill my mind and my heart that won’t ever really fill. I am quietly failing. Daily.

I prayed last night with my children before bed, and as the words came out, for the first time that I can ever remember, I heard them as only that – words. I was tired at the end of a long day and this prayer was just routine, nothing more. I paused, mid-sentence, breathed in and out, focused. But still, the words did not transcend. They clumsily fell out of my mouth, more rushed now, just wanting to get it over with. This uncomfortable moment of talking, without feeling.

In between their bedtime and my own, I passed by an invitation on the fridge. My children are often invited to birthday parties that they are unable to attend, due to my schedule. I noticed the date first, realized that this one, this one party, Lila can actually go to. But then, as I read the fantastical description of the party, like something out of a movie, I felt, in my overtired, empty state, well, snarky.

I was not impressed or concerned with the amount of money being spent, I was not really or truly concerned that Lila would find the party overwhelming.

I was overwhelmed by the realization that there are parents out there, right here, on the bus with my daughter, who have it SO together that they can organize something so grand for their children – and in my barely survived the day mode, and because, in this life of social media and needing to broadcast our every passing thought, I vented a terribly snarky commentary to my facebook page. It was less about them, more about me.

And it was a mistake.

My whole life, my whole job, is to capture such wonderful parties, and here I was, callously commenting on a six year old’s birthday party? When it’s really none of my business, none of anyone’s business.

Oh, the ways an empty heart can find to not be a blessing to people.

Someone, a client-turned-friend, called me out on it. Flat out, boom, gut check. But, even more importantly, a heart check.

I have spent this morning, in angst. Not over this thread on Facebook (though I humbly realize I should not have posted anything), but over the ways I have been failing that I don’t write about, because there is no eloquence in darkness, only darkness.

And so my prayer this morning, my real, heart-felt, tears-in-my-eyes, draw-me-back-so-I-won’t-slip-away, is this: God, I love that you are near, when I am far. I love that you can use my own failings to bring about your will. Thank you for humbling moments, for pit-in-my-stomach moments that bring me to my knees. Because these words, Lord, I feel them. And I know you hear them. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

How amazing is it that God can use my terrible attitude and the emptiness of my heart to stop me in my tracks and catch me. Because I have been slipping.

I don’t know that the person whose comments first stirred this will even ever realize just how much of a blessing she was to me this morning. But I pray, real, heartfelt words, that she does.


  1. Brenda

    Life is all about learning and growing, even as adults. Don’t beat yourself up, celebrate that you were wise and open enough to realize that you were a little “off track” and move forward…although, it sounds like you are!

  2. Kristin

    We can’t all do everything and I know once we have more children and life starts to get in the way even I won’t be able to keep everything together. Some of us are fortunate to have family close by who are able to help a GREAT deal. My mom takes Chase 2 whole days each week so I can get MY stuff done AND she takes party projects home to work on to keep herself busy in retirement. One day, when we have another child and my sister starts having kids I will lose that luxury and probably “fall apart”. ; ) Don’t be so hard on yourself!

  3. Kathy Bailey

    I didn’t think you were all that snarky, but consider the source.
    Melanie, I am so impressed with all the young parents in our church. You are all doing such a great job, in such a challenging time. These are not easy times to be anything, but especially a Christian parent. Keep doing the best you can, which is better than you think.

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