Reflections

A Letter To Myself

Hey, you.

We’re in a bit of a tough spot these days, huh? Yeah, I know. But I don’t want to just talk about the stuff we’re going through. No, I want to apologize to you.

Because I’ve said some things.

Some things that have hurt you. Some things that make hard things even harder on you. And while I don’t mean to do it, the words just seem to keep coming.

And I’m really sorry.

I’m realizing (again) how I’m meaner to you than I am to anyone else in the world. How I throw words at you that I’d never dream of throwing at another person. How I call you names and attack you in your weakest places and nitpick your every move until you feel like you can’t do anything right.

I’m just really sorry.

Today, I want to make you a promise that I think I can keep. I want to banish one particular word – and all of its uses – from my vocabulary. Basically, it’s not doing either of us any good, so I’m going to stop using it. I’d say I won’t use it for anyone else, either, but that goes without saying. I’ve never said it to or about anyone else.

The word?

Fail.

It’s banished. And so are all the members of its family.

Mom Fail. (And its totally unhelpful hashtag version.)

Failure.

Epic Fail.

Yeah, all of those. They’re gone.

Because I use that word with you – and only you – and I don’t know why. I wouldn’t say it to anyone else, but with you? It’s a regular part of my daily conversations.

I wish I had realized this earlier so I could have saved us both a lot of pain.

I’m just so much more cruel to you than I would ever be to anyone else. I know – we’ve been through this before, and I’ve tried to stop this horrible habit many times. I’ve promised you many times that I’m going to speak kinder words to you. That I won’t hold you to impossible standards and will reassure you that you are pre-approved and will extend the same grace to you that I so willingly give to everyone else.

But for every time I have made that promise to you, I have found another way to break it. I found found new words of poison and death to sling at you. I have found new weaknesses to attack. I have torn you down in more personal ways than anyone else ever could.

I know my words hurt you. It’s been decades of relearning the same lesson.

Paul tells us in Scripture to think only on things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy,” and the problem is that my thoughts about you are often not any of those things. I’m really hard on you in my mind, and it comes out in my words to you.

You’re not a failure. You’re flawed, yes. But you’re not a failure.

And your mistakes? Your flaws? They’re far from epic, because every mom out there has made the same mistakes or some variation of them.

You’re a good mom. Are you perfect? Well, no. But you’re a good mom.

And you’re a good wife. Perfect? Nope. But good.

And you’re a good friend. Perfect? Not even close. But good enough.

So I’m going to do my part to help you to be even better. We’ve been down this road before, but this time I hope it will be different. This time, I’m replacing the banished word with something else. My condemnation has held you back for too long, and I want to help you to become all that God has made you to be. He made you to be a vessel of grace. We breathe in grace from God, and exhale it in our words to each other.

And that will be my new buzz word in my conversations with you: grace.

Grace for the moment.

Grace for the situation.

Grace for every mistake and for every flaw and every misstep. Because those steps are going to happen, and when they do, I want to reach into Truth to find something to pull you back up…instead of kicking you while you’re down.

I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to hurt you. I want to move forward, starting today. I want to love you as I love other people.

Let’s give ourselves some grace for whatever today may hold.

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