Grace in Failure

By Jamie Kahm

I’ve written some reflections during this time to help me try to deal with all the things going on, but I’ve been hesitant on what I was called to share with others. My mind keeps coming back to sharing what I personally need to constantly hear- because maybe someone else needs to hear it too.

For starters, it’s been over a month and I’m still struggling over here. Maybe you are too. Maybe you need to hear someone say that they are still a mess too, that they are trying so hard to keep it together, but it’s been rough. Even on days where things go well, their mind is still struggling to cope. They know these times are unprecedented and one could not have prepared their mind to deal with all that is coming at us right now…but still, they’ve been really hard on themselves and not been the best wife and mother. They’ve tried many versions of self-care, and although those things help, they continue to struggle.

Many of us are still struggling with coping with our new situation during this coronavirus outbreak, but maybe you talk to people who really aren’t struggling and are truly treasuring this time. 

I was reading to my girls the other day a children’s book by Matthew Kelly, Why Am I Here? In the book, a grandpa asks his grandson “What are birds good at being?” The boy responds, “Birds are good at being birds…right?” Later in the book, the grandpa goes on to explain “Imagine how unhappy a bird would be if it spent its whole life trying to be a fish. It wouldn’t matter how hard that bird tried, it would never be good at being a fish. A bird will always fail when it tries to be a fish.”

A simple but profound reminder that I am meant to be the best Jamie I can be. As hard as I try, I can’t be the best Ashley, Mary, or Laura- I can only be the best ME. This is always a good reminder, but especially now.

I think I had this false sense that because we are all dealing with covid-19, there must be something wrong with me if I’m not handling it as well as others. It’s easier in some sense when everyone is dealing with their own individual crosses, you can’t really compare your cross or situation with theirs adequately. But now- we are all dealing with staying at home, and the threat of covid-19 at the same time. But of course, we are all different and we are going to handle this in different ways. My homebody introverted friend is going to cope with this completely differently than non-homebody extroverted me and so on. I will ALWAYS fail if I try to be that friend or anyone other than myself!

By now, I’ve spoken to so many moms who are struggling too and I don’t feel as alone in this struggle, but I think I’m slowly becoming more understanding that no two people are going to deal with this the same…and it’s ok to not be okay…still! The best I can do is try to be the best version of myself in each moment.  And to give myself some grace with this best version of myself. There were things I was doing better at 2 months ago, but I can’t even compare February Jamie with April Jamie- they were living in two different worlds!

Hang in there mama! Know that you are good enough. Know that you are exactly the way God designed you to be. Although you may not see now how this struggling version of yourself is becoming holier- you are- and we are each doing it in our unique way.

“Holiness comes in many different incarnations. Just look at the varied lives of the saints. There were fisherman, princesses, musicians, mothers, priests, and soldiers. There’s no one-size-fits-all to holiness or mothering…What each of them has in common is that they’re trying to make the most of their own natural gifts and talents and lead godly lives.”

— Kate Wicker, Getting Past Present

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