How They Do It- Natalie’s Story

I came across this meme (below) one day when I was participating in a phenomenon that a girlfriend of mine recently called “active procrastination”.  You know what I’m talking about. I should have been e-mailing my kid’s teacher about that missing assignment (part of my MOM job), writing about my latest epiphany (part of my BLOGGER job), cleaning up the forever pile of my clothes on our bedroom floor (part of my WIFE job), or searching for a video for next Sunday’s service (part of my WORSHIP DIRECTOR job). Instead I was on Facebook (part of NONE of my jobs, whatsoever) and I saw this and it made me laugh and laugh.

Like the ever-wise Homer Simpson once said, “It’s funny ‘cause it’s true.”

Being a wife, mom, blogger, and worship director takes bravery. In all four of those areas, I’m not going to get it right all the time. I’m going to screw up….sometimes royally. My husband will feel neglected, my kids will cry real tears because I snapped at them, a friend will feel furious disagreement about a blog post I wrote, and I will forget a deadline at church which will make my admin. assistant have to scramble. On a Friday. At quitting time.

Along with all of that screwing up, I tend to chew up and swallow a guilt sandwich. And, all of that guilt adds up into a party sub, it sits like a rock in my stomach, weighing me down, making me not want to make a mistake again. But, to not make mistakes, I have to not act. To not act, I should give it all up. Or at least some of it. Maybe just the blogger and worship director part of it so I can focus more on the wife and mom part. Or, change my personality, maybe? Gag myself? Hole up inside my house and not share my thoughts and struggles with anyone?

I’ve actually tried some of those things before. And you know what? They didn’t work so well. Trying to change the me I was made to be is not the answer to not making mistakes or hurting people.  Truly, life is a series of mistakes. I am going to screw up. I am going to hurt people.

I’m not trying to be a downer here. Quite the opposite. Knowing the reality of my human-ness, I have chosen to become grateful for the times I screw up because they show me that I am doing more than actively-procrastinating my way through life.

Not only that, but when I make a mistake, I choose to not swallow the guilt that comes nor do I let it eat away at me. I also use that as a chance to sit down with my husband, children, friend, or co-worker and look them straight in the eyes and apologize for what I did to hurt them. I tell them that my first job in life is to love God and love others, and any actions that did not show that are not ones I’d like to repeat again.

Then I ask the scariest questions of all: “Will you forgive me?”

Most of the time there is a quick “Yes, of course” and lots of hugging to follow.

But sometimes, there’s not. Sometimes it’s not that simple. Sometimes my relationships with friends have been cut off due to my careless actions. Sometimes my children say: “Why were you talking in your mean voice, mom?”. Sometimes a person at work decides to write me off because of one misheard comment and doesn’t want to sit down and talk about it. Sometimes it takes a while for the pain I caused my husband to subside, even though he does forgive me.

What to do when it doesn’t all turn out unicorns and rainbows?

For me, I drink in the grace of God. I meditate on the fact that He made me in His image and that, even though He knew I was going to be a royal screw-up, He sent his Son, Jesus, to earth to die for the crap I did and continue to do. And, because of this, I’m already forgiven of those “greater mistakes” yet to come.

I choose to find comfort and joy in the fact that the God who made me gave up everything for me and now lives inside of me, guiding me with His Spirit.

It’s hard to believe, I know. There are days where I cry out to Him that I don’t deserve it. I ask Him how He could still love me after the numerous times I’ve run away from His open arms. And you know what? He is super faithful to answer me every time with verses like this one:

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” – Zephaniah 3:17

My friend, you know how I do it? By trusting that the Lord YOUR God is among us and the he has saved us from sin, death and Satan….and even from ourselves. He delights in you AS YOU ARE. Won’t you let Him love and calm you?

Do you hear that? He’s singing over you….and me….and our mistakes….past, present and future.

Natalie lives in MN with her husband, 2 boys (ages 8 and 10) and 1 little girly (age 5). 
She is a musician and a blogger ( and constantly fights the urge to fly south for the winter.