Dear Daughters, It’s OK to Fail

IMG_6882Dear Daughters,
IMG_5477There’s a red carpet of leaves under the big maple tree in the front yard, hard evidence that the season is changing.
Here’s what I want you to know as you transition into autumn.
It’s OK to fail.
It really is.
I understand that you’re going to make mistakes, even stupid ones.
You have my permission to be immature. You’re young.
I expect that some of your choices will be impulsive. Unwise even.

IMG_7708It sounds like a strange back to school message from a parent but you already put so much pressure on yourselves to excel, you just don’t need any more from me.
Truth is, I am your cheerleader.
Even if you utterly blow it.
Somehow, you have not always felt that from me though.
Instead, you have felt afraid of my displeasure.
Afraid to disappoint.
Afraid to fail.

IMG_0153I get it. There’s a disconnect because I just don’t live it very well sometimes even though it is the posture of my heart. Take last night for example, we sat down to watch a family movie at your enthusiastic recommendation. 20 minutes in, I didn’t consider it very family friendly and I gave you a mini-lecture in front of someone who matters to you. And you felt mortified. Sure, I knocked on your bedroom door later that night and apologized for too many words spoken insensitively, and I appreciate your willingness to forgive me, but your heart can’t help but feel self-protective after an interaction like that and Satan capitalizes on those kinds of experiences to fortify shame. I’m sorry.

IMG_2805Moms struggle to know when and how much to speak into your learning curves, at least this one does. It’s not love to not speak truth and it’s not love to only be a truth teller. Living together graciously when we see things differently it’s both an art and a science. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking on a tightrope, and so do you. Maybe we could hold a parachute for each other to soften the falls we each take managing our risks.

05 ChristmasI remember the days when I held your chubby little hands in mine, desperate to shelter and protect you from all varieties of harm and threat and loss.  I understand better now that good and evil, joy and sorrow, success and failure, delight and pain all serve their redemptive purpose on this side of eternity and God uses the conundrum of it to grow you up in your faith, just like He’s done with me.

IMG_4837 2Here’s the thing…
We’re family. When one hurts. Everybody hurts.
Our choices impact each other.
So, I can’t guarantee that I won’t need time to process the pain of some of your choices and their consequences.
Or that I’ll never call you out on stuff when I think I should.
I might even cry. No, let’s be honest. I WILL cry…..

But I am for you.
And better yet, so is God.
He redeems failure.
And His mercies to His children, they are always fresh and new each morning.
So as you finish up junior high with all of its drama,
And as you wander through the transition between high school and college,
As you complete your degree and push on toward adulting,
And as you move across the world to explore your passions,
I can’t bandage up your owies anymore, but your mistakes won’t change my love for you.
Neither will your failures.
I’m on the sidelines cheering you on, applauding your courage to risk
And try,
And sometimes to fail.

_MG_5672It’s an honor to call you mine,
Mama

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