My dear daughters,
I want you to know that you are enough.
So often in your lives, you will be told you need to be more and you need to do more. That you need to try harder, be kinder, neater, stronger, fitter, richer, better…
As your mum there will be many times when I will indeed ask you to try a little harder – to finish your homework, to tidy your room, to be kind to your sisters. I will attempt to shape your characters and your attitudes and I will endeavour to guide you into responsible and independent women.
No doubt there will be times when it becomes overwhelming and you’ll just feel tired.
Tired of striving, tired of trying so hard. Tired of feeling like it’s never enough.
It is a good thing to want to be a better person and strive for better things…but sometimes that struggle can leave us feeling deflated and depleted.
I know the struggle – the struggle to feel like I am enough.
I struggle with my anger and my emotional outbursts. I struggle with my dislike of cooking and my severely challenged housekeeping skills. I struggle with my desire to read and think and write and therefore put off what really should have been done yesterday. I struggle with my desire for perfection because sometimes that means I overlook the beauty that already is. I struggle to hug you when I’m exhausted by all the bickering. I struggle with the responsibility and the constancy of disciplined adulthood. I struggle when I wonder if I’m really doing what’s best for you. I struggle to keep up with play-dates and sport and all the other outside expectations. I struggle because I feel I should laugh more and tell you more of how I appreciate you.
I struggle because I think that in your eyes ‘mums are supposed to have it all together’ – and I know I don’t.
But that’s the funny thing.
What is it to have it all together? What deceptive vision of perfect motherhood (or womanhood) am I aspiring to? Why is it so easy to focus only on the parts of me that I feel don’t quite measure up?
As you lie in your beds at the end of a long day, you squeeze me tight and won’t let me go, and you tell me you love me. I know then that I’m doing something right. I also realise that’s what you want from me most. You want to know that I love and accept you just as you are.
And that’s it. Deep down, right at the heart of it – you are enough. You are precious to me and to God. You are no accident. It says in the Scriptures that you are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139).
Each one of us is different and that’s why we have each other – to work together and to make the most of our individual strengths. If we are trying to measure up to someone else’s ideal we will only ever be a second-rate version of ourselves.
But also, there is freedom in accepting that life is messy and we aren’t going to get everything right. At the end of a long day, your grandma (my mum) used to cry out to God, “Sometimes I feel like a lousy mum, but I know that you Lord love my little ones even more than I”. As we lean into God in our weakness, he promises that his power and love will become stronger in us.
My daughters, I want you to know that nothing you do (or don’t do) can change how much you are loved.
Please know that you are enough.