Earlier this month, I had the privilege of serving at our church's Single Parent Fair. In my opinion, it's the coolest outreach we do each year. Hundreds of single parents come through our doors, get a massage, get their kids' hair cut, free school supplies, have a pedicure, and a car wash, and breakfast, and ultimately leave knowing they are loved, celebrated, and important to God.
The last few years, my family has served in the carwash area. It's a great place for kids to get out there and learn to serve. They're getting soaked and the cars keep coming and coming. At the end of the day, your arms ache and you can say, "I can't believe we washed 105 cars!"
This year, I decided to go back to pedicures, which is an area I used to serve. I remember loving pedicures because of the one-to-one contact you get with the parents. It's the kind of contact you don't see on carwash duty. It doesn't feel like as big of an impact. This year, I gave 6 pedicures. That's not 105 cars. It's just 6. But here's the thing. I got a chance to do something others didn't. I got a chance to sit for a while and literally serve these parents exactly as Jesus did. I washed their feet. What a privilege! I also got a chance to look them in the eye and say, "You're doing a great job."
As we start this new school year, if I could whisper something in your ear today it would be that. You're doing a great job. This is the time of year when it's easy to play the comparison game. (See my blog on Pinterest for more on that.) Your Facebook friends will post adorable first day of school pictures with a professional chalkboard
ordered off Etsy, and your kid doesn't want to go to school. You'd love a picture, but it'll be too obvious she's been crying. Everyone's kid is signed up for soccer, and dance, and scouts, but you can't swing it financially or get them to those activities because of work. Soon, people will start bragging about their kids' academic achievements and maybe your kid just got an IEP and you don't know what will happen next. When you find yourself feeling like, "why can't my life look at that," allow me to whisper something in your year. "You're doing a great job."
Your life will never look like the highlight reels of the sum of all your friends, so stop using that as the standard. It's impossible. You have a unique opportunity to be who you are in your circumstance and you're doing a great job. Your kids don't care if you have that Etsy chalkboard. They know you love them. They know you'd do anything for them to succeed and do their best and feel loved. And even through the tough teen years, when pressed, your kids would admit one thing: you're doing a great job.
You're not alone.
God never meant for us to feel like we're going it alone. He goes before you and never leaves you. Pray for wisdom and He promises to give it to you.
Get into community. God designed us for community so why are we surprised when we feel lost in our solitude? Reach out. This is the time of year when groups are starting up. Get in one and start allowing a community of believers to help shape you and your family.
My prayer for this school year is we all find focus in the fog. We make time for the important things and quit the comparison game that's set up to make us feel inadequate.
Will you pray for that with me? Pray for all our sisters who are feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. Pray that they know they matter to God and they're doing a great job.