Friday, August 26, 2011

The Good Day, The Bad Mom and The Ugly Cake


I have never seen the Clint Eastwood movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", but for as long as I can remember that phrase has stuck in my head. It sums up a lot of different days, weeks or months (thankfully, never years!).

I begin with my third triathlon, which I can't seem to bring myself to blog about (time and wrapping my brain around the HUGE transition that happened in me). That is the GOOD Day:

The Good Day:
I will briefly summarize: What a delight to wake up at 4am on a Sunday morning! It was gorgeous and the smell reminded me of every awesome early morning adventure of my life. Once I arrived at the race, great friend from Tennessee by my side, I knew, even despite the butterflies partying it up in my core, it was going to be a different day. It was. I blew my own expectations out of the water (pun intended) with speed and endurance in the water and the bike. The run forced me to really guard my mind and focus on important stuff to keep me going even when I was huffing and puffing (and practically snorting) like a horse pulling a heavy plow. I crossed the finish line feeling victorious. It was a GOOD day.

As usual, my good day felt a little marred when the pictures taken by the race photographer revealed that the size I am in my head is NOT at all what I actually look like! Dang!

On another note, that GOOD day also turned a little sour when we realized my camera got lost that day. The one I live with on my desk, used almost every day to capture our lives. I am crushed. We have looked everywhere. I am still praying it will turn up somehow.

The Bad Mom:
Yes, I said it. The BAD Mom words have been plaguing me for weeks. What some say to me is that if you are a bad mom, you never even ask the question, "Am I a bad mom?" you just don't care. The thing is, if I even indulge in one thought, aligning myself with the enemy who's intent is to steal, kill and destroy all of God's amazing work in me and through me, the thoughts don't stop, they undermine my ability to think clearly and my frustration drives my reactions to my fellas choices and then I become what I dread, a BAD Mom. I hate it when that happens.

I confess to having spent the majority of this week living in that place. On the edge of tears, pleading with them before we enter some location that they not embarrass me and struggling with my temper. And, because they are unsettled by my inner turmoil, they act up, mostly because they are reacting to the disturbance in my "force" (yeah, I was pretty sure I couldn't do one blog without a Star Wars term!).

Today, I am still battling that thinking. A beloved sister of my heart wrote this amazing blog on Grace. I have been marinating in her mom's definition of undeserved kindness. The Lord has been speaking to me about it. Convicting me of my failure to give my children undeserved kindness.

He says, "You get Grace too."

I know the Bible says that. But do I recognize that I get grace too, as a mom? Where in my head am I, by faith, grabbing on to His deposit of undeserved kindness in my heart and apply it not just to others but to.... MYSELF?

Most dudes I know don't spend hours beating themselves up over their mistakes. They just move on. Not the moms I know. We mercilessly analyze what we've done wrong. What we should have done better, what would whoever think of us if they saw us do thus-and-such. Would we end up going to jail like that mom who taped herself giving her kid hot sauce and a cold shower? Would we do the same if pushed to the limits of our sanity, cry out for help and then end up in jail?

What if those you love "hint" you are a bad mom? What if they don't actually say it. But, deep down, you know they think it. What if your husband doesn't weigh in on things that really matter? What if you have to figure it out yourself? What if your husband does weigh in on things that matter and you end up feeling like a bigger failure (even if that is not his intent?) What if ...

I could go on for days. Discouragement is one of the worst things that undermines moms. It doesn't matter if anyone is saying it, we say it to ourselves. We hear it in our hearts when our kids misbehave (no matter how old they are), say something we wish they wouldn't or worse, repeat after us!


I have the answer! I promise. His name is Jesus, He died for our sins, our mistakes, our flaws, our colossal disastrous choices.

My long time in Heaven mentor, Corrie ten Boom says, "There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still."

Whether you are in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany or you are surrounded by little people clamoring for your exhausted attention, the truth of that statement remains.

He has chosen, redeemed, forgiven and lavished His grace on me. When I take off the BAD MOM glasses that filter my thinking and my vision and BELIEVE in what He has done in me,


To be the mom my kids need. Not perfect. Chosen by God for them specifically knowing who they are, who they will become and who they need to shape His purpose in them.

Next week, I will not be confessing I stayed in this place. Next week I will be victorious and confessing the crazy and silly adventures we went on  - flaws and all.

Now, for the UGLY Cake:

I was committed to make a from scratch birthday cake for the first time in ages. I searched the web, asked my favorite chef (who didn't have a recommendation except for Epicurious - but when I looked on that site I panicked and quick did another search) and found what seemed like a good recipe. Not so much. Obviously. I should have listened to my friend.

I ended up sending my Love to the store at 9:45pm to get a Betty Crocker mix and canned frosting. I was too exhausted to try to whip powdered sugar all over my kitchen to make my own taking the chance it would come out awful too. I was trying to make brown frosting like the bottom of the forest. The color, well, it was really bad. If I'd had a camera I would have taken a picture. Sigh.

Anywhoo... I prayed. I begged God to help me get this to turn out like something my freshly-six year old would love. I had my Love build the LEGO set we bought for his birthday so I wouldn't feel guilty about not molding intricate Star Wars characters out of fondant. Yeah, not so much... but something has to go on top of the cake, right?
That is the final product. Yes, he loved it. I did not love washing frosting out of LEGO pieces yesterday, but it still took less time than creating fondant storm trooper and ewoks.

There ya have it. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of my week. The conclusion is truly this: GOD is Good, I am not BAD, and UGLY cakes happen!


Unknown said...

You are amazing. THis post takes me on a crazy journey of joy and triumph, shame and grace, and...cake-saving shenanigans! Wow. You are my hero tonight, Jennifer. And you get grace too. I'm taking that one with me.

Kira said...

Can I just say 'ditto' to everything Laura said? Because she pretty much nailed it.

I was flabbergasted by that cake. I kept staring at it trying to figure out what HAPPENED to it, then I saw it all frosted and realized it was a bundt cake. Way to redeem it, it turned out so cute! Super funny story.

Your words on being a bad mom should be a post all by itself. God totally spoke through you straight to my heart. Really really good. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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I have been married to my best friend for over 29 years and our children are 16, 15 and 12 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost dear friends to tragic death. I have a personal relationship with Jesus which is essential to surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by my heart and words. Thank you for being here..