By Libbo Crosswhite
Never Good Enough
Totally transparency: I sometimes find it hard to write this column.
Not because I don’t have plenty of stories and lessons I have learned as a mother, but because I find myself thinking, “Is this not the same message every month? I am a mess and Jesus is not. Surely, that has to get old.”
And maybe it does, but it’s a message that’s so necessary in a world that can leave many moms, like myself, feeling inadequate. I sometimes wish that I had more insight or that I could wrap motherhood in this pretty little bow of wisdom. As much as I long for normalcy or even sanity in my motherhood journey, I just don’t think that’s what God has in store for my crew and me. I’m continually encouraged by God’s Word in my journey to find the balance.
Paul writes to the Romans at a crucial time in their history. There was a cultural war waging on the people of Christ and brokenness was evident everywhere in the city. (Sound familiar?) What I love about Paul’s letter to the Romans is that he is clear and honest. He communicates the gospel of Jesus Christ confidently—and not just because of His wisdom, but because of the life he had lived. He had seen the very person of Christ, but also experienced the war within his own self to fight temptation. He writes of sin, his struggle, and the central message of the gospel—that Jesus came to restore and rebuild the people of the world and to unite them with their Heavenly Father in a way that only He can.
Paul writes in Romans 7:21-23 (NLT), “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.”
Sounds discouraging at first glance. Where is the hope in knowing that we are at war? How are we supposed to fight temptation when sin is literally within all of us?
I recently read in the side notes of my Bible that the “New Testament never characterizes Christians as those who do not struggle with sin; rather they are those that stay in the fight.” And that’s just what motherhood is for many of us. It’s a fight for our survival, and sure, our kid’s survival, too. It’s often a fight for our sanity, our marriages, our identity, our pride. Motherhood is a mirror image of the battle we encounter as Christians. And if these four years have taught me anything, it’s that I want to have Jesus by my side in the fight of my life.
In what was one of those weeks that we all have, Clay and I discovered that it had been a few days (okay, okay—several) since our kids had bathed. We legitimately had to have a 20-minute text conversation to remember the last time that we had given either one of them a bath. This discovery led to a 6 a.m. wakeup call the next morning to bathe both of them. It’s important to note that I pride myself in my children’s ability to, and affinity for, sleeping until the very last second. So, imagine their surprise when they were not only woken up early, but woken up to bathe.
It was as horrible as it sounds—screams and tears from every single member of our family. At one point, Mary Thomas screamed, “I just need a towel for all my tears!” in the most dramatic fashion. Russell, unable to communicate quite as effectively and/or dramatically, impressed us all with his ability to hold a solid, consistent scream for the entire bath time. But, like all of our parental mishaps, we survived and walked away with a little bit of wisdom.
In a week where my head was a million different places, I looked up and time had passed far faster than I’m willing to admit. I could literally smell the effects of my delinquency. And I think that’s what happens with our spiritual lives, too. Our motherhood battle is not a periodic battle—it’s an every day, sometimes every minute, fight. And so, it is with our Christian faith. Both are real and messy and both can be fought from a place of victory in Christ.
Ironically, that same morning of torture—I mean, morning baths—I had a student ask me to participate in her talk for FCA. She asked several people to share with the student body how they felt the world saw them and then share our belief of how God sees us. Because I have never been good at directions, I wrote what I felt the world saw in me on my hand instead of paper, in Sharpie nonetheless. So, I had the words “NEVER GOOD ENOUGH” on my hand. A student noticed it early in the day and suggested I cross off the “NEVER” in red because Jesus has done that for me. When a friend snapped a picture of Mary Thomas and me at the pep rally later that day, my hand immediately stuck out to me and has now become my reminder in motherhood and my battle cry in my walk with Christ.
Though my sinful heart tries to tell me what I want or what I cannot do, Jesus has already told me who I am. I am His. And I am thankful that is not only enough, but it’s all I will ever need.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Brandon and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 3 years old and a son, Russell, who is 11/2 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.