Monday, November 5, 2012

Hi. My Name is Rachelle, and I am Inadequate.

I had agreed to babysit for a friend again. So today I had two preschoolers and a ten-month-old, in addition to my own three. In the afternoon, chaos erupted between the two preschoolers, and I swept them into the backyard to diffuse the situation. As I knelt down, talking calmly to them at their level, I suddenly realized I had left the ten-month-old unattended. So, like the wise mother that I am, I abandoned the little tots in the backyard and ran screaming into the house for the baby. Panicked, I followed his trail out the front door, where I found him operating the leaf blower in the front yard next to the street. Relieved that he was alright, I scooped him up in my arms and held him close. It was then that I noticed the neighbors had gathered around and were casting looks of cold disapproval in my direction. I was an unfit mother. I could see it in their eyes.
And then I woke up. It was only a dream. But the reality of my inadequacy was hovering over me and my pillow like a grey cloud.
The day before had been Orphan Sunday, and despite my fear of public speaking, I could not ignore the intense urging I felt that our church needed to acknowledge this day. So with dry mouth and sweaty palms, I stood before the congregation and shared God's heart and mine for orphans and foster children. I also chose this time to share with our church the decision Bob and I have made to be foster parents with the hope of adopting. At this point, the congregation applauded, which startled me. I had practiced my speech in the shower and in my van, forgetting that I would actually be talking to people who might respond.
Something about the applause bothered me; it made me feel guilty in some twisted way. Perhaps if someone in the crowd had shouted the things I have said to myself, I would have felt better. "Hey! Aren't you the lady who lets your kids run around like maniacs in the parking lot after church?" or, "You can't even control the ones you have! What makes you think you can take on any more?" Great question, blunt, imaginary congregation person! And the answer is, I don't know! We must be crazy.
Try as I might, I could not go back to sleep after my disturbing dream. I lay awake in the five o'clock quiet and wondered how I was going to have enough time, love, patience, wisdom, and strength for a child I don't even know. I thought of the hours of training we have received, the mounds of paperwork we have completed, and the thorough going-over of our house by outsiders. We have been finger-printed, background checked, and questioned about our personal lives. But the truth is, we fall short.
In my heart, in the dark, I began the conversation. "Lord! I fall short as a wife and mother. I fall short as a teacher and housekeeper. I fall short as a friend and as a Christian. I fall short as a person. I am woefully inadequate."
Like a best friend who lovingly tells me the truth, and not just what I want to hear, I felt Him answer me: "I know, and that is exactly where I want you to be. I use people who know they are inadequate, because they are the ones who know how much they need Me. Don't let your inadequacy discourage you--let it drive you to complete dependency on Me. Cling to Me. Let My strength be made perfect in your weakness."
I thought of Peter, the Lord's disciple who is well-known for his epic failure--denying even knowing his beloved Christ. Poor Peter. His weakness is remembered every Easter and any time we need a good example of someone who fell short miserably. But the conversation Peter and Jesus have after the resurrection is revealing and redeeming. Jesus simply wants to know where Peter's heart is. "Do you love me?" At Peter's affirmative response, Jesus replies, "Feed my sheep."

Jesus doesn't want or need to spend time hashing and rehashing my past mistakes and the many ways I fall short daily. He knows getting to the heart of the matter--loving God and loving others--is the sun around which everything else either revolves or flies out of orbit into the void.

So what now? Shall I embrace my inadequacy? I think I won't. I think I will embrace the Saviour who loves me in spite of it, and who requires loving Him and His sheep as the basis for everything else I do. I will embrace the One whose glory shines through all my weak spots, cracks, and holes. I will not despair. I will depend on the One who gives me everything I need to do what He asks of me.

( And...I will remember to read this if any child in my care ever ends up by the street with the leaf blower.)


  1. So precious the Lord is to us. To wrap his arms around us & love us so fully in the midst of our inadequacies. One. of many great things our Father does for us is He allows us to get as close to Him as we want. He doesn't put up any road blocks or keep us from him. He is always there. He is always more.

  2. You are feeling like so many of us that have had our plates loaded and aren't quite sure if we can handle all we have said we can do and want to do. HE wants you to just rest in HIM and he will give you the wisdom, the patience and the energy to handle what comes next. Once when I was so overwhelmed with so many people to be responsible for I cried out to the Lord to help me and tell me what to do. HE simply said "just do the next task". So simple but I felt reassured. I wasn't alone in this sea of responsibility but he was there backing me up. It reminded me of a scripture "Rejoice not against me oh my enemy, when I fall I will arise. When I sit in the darkness the Lord will be a light unto me". There will be no leaf blower and you will handle whatever comes because HE has your back.


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