There is something so beautiful in knowing that you are not alone. Today I am sharing this space with my fellow blogger Jill McCormick who is “Offering Hope to the Mom Who Never Feels Good Enough.”
Without further ado…
When my girls were toddlers, we went to Target… that place you go to get a few items like toilet bowl cleaner, but come back with a sweater, a throw pillow, and Twizzlers.
We were barely inside the store when my youngest bolted toward the exit. She threw herself on the mat and started kicking and screaming. I picked her up with a red face and a racing heart and walked quickly to the car. She wailed and arched her back so I couldn’t strap her into the car seat. Somehow I managed to overcome her superhuman toddler strength to strap her in then I sat in the driver’s seat and cried. I was humiliated, overwhelmed, and had no idea what to do. I thought, “What am I doing being a mother? I am the worst mom ever. We can’t even go to Target.”
I’m sharing this story with you because it’s one that I never wanted anyone to know (ironic now, right?), but don’t we all have parts of us, stories and sins, that we don’t want known?
We all want to pick what parts of us are known — you know, the good, kind, and funny parts. We don’t want to be fully known, but that’s what God is after: being fully known is part of His restoration process.
So what does being “fully known” even mean?
As Curt Thompson writes in Anatomy of the Soul, “To be known is to be pursued, examined, and shaken. To be known is to be loved and to have hopes and even demands placed on [us].” Being fully known has played out this way in my life: (1) that my sin and hurts are brought out into the open, and (2) the recognition that Jesus loves me so much as to see my sin for what it is and then pay for it. And this moves me to worship.
All of this is both terrifying and liberating. It’s also where restoration happens.
Restoration happens when I feel fully known, even when I don’t want that kind of exposure.
In John 4, the woman at the well collected water at noon instead of early morning, presumably to avoid the looks, glares and whispers. She was known but not fully known. She was known by her actions and not her heart, which Jesus knew was teachable and starved for hope. When the woman talked to Jesus, she was willing to risk being known, which means “to risk, not only the furniture in your home being rearranged, but your floor plans being rewritten, your walls being demolished and reconstructed. To be known means that you allow your shame and guilt to be exposed – in order for them to be healed.” (Thompson)
Sisters, don’t we have a hard time accepting that we’re not perfect?
We like our furniture arranged just as it is, thank you very much. But despite our resistance, we also desperately want to be known. Having all of our guilt and shame exposed is where it should start. In my story, this looked like going to a counselor who listened to my story, and then wisely gave me resources and pointed me back to Jesus and His grace-gospel.
Jesus doesn’t ask me to share my story so I can hear a shaming lecture. When the woman at the well told her story, Jesus responded in John 4:17–18 with, “You are right… What you have just said is very true.” It is important to note that Jesus is the God of grace and truth, truth being our focus here. He didn’t sugarcoat her situation or explain it away, rather He acknowledged her reality. More than any of us, our holy God takes our sin seriously.
Jesus validated the situation of the women at the well, and He did the same thing for me.
I got really honest sitting in the lap of my heavenly Father. I got mad. I cried, like, a lot. I talked with Him, and in our wrestling match with this parenting hurt, He reminded me how much He loves me and that His grace is for me too. He asked me to see myself not as a woman who needed to get it together but someone who needed comfort. Jesus is here today to guide me, instruct me, and cheer me on.
He also reminded me that He knows I’m going to mess up, but that He’s in the redeeming business.
Sisters, I know you want some best practices to walk you through this process step-by-step, but here’s what I’ve got: Spend time with Him and talk to Him honestly. He can handle it. Then listen to Him. Know that He’ll meet you right where you are.
This process comes with time, effort and tears, so wear waterproof mascara… that you bought at Target.
Jill McCormick is the writer behind “An Achiever Goes Rogue,” a blog designed to help high-achieving women lean less on self and more on the God of amazing grace.
Jill grew up in the suburbs of Houston with awesome parents and brother. She graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Her first job out of college was working for the Houston Astros Baseball Club, a job she held for six baseball seasons. Her husband’s job moved them out of state where she worked for the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith then ABF Freight then Mercy (health care). After a move back to Texas, she stayed at home to care for their two little ones. After a few years at home, she went back to work in children’s ministry at their church. And now, Jill is writing on the internet!
Jill married her high school sweetheart 17 years ago, and she will tell you that she got the better end of that deal. They have two children who were born 17 months apart. She loves baking and running (so that works out!) and writing about how God’s grace can rescue us from a lifetime of working for our worth.