You Are Not a Failure

Okay, y’all, today I am registering my daughter for high school. {I know, you are probably sick of hearing about this — but, for real, high school?? How is that even possible.  We just brought her home from the hospital last week.} I’m experiencing all the emotions.  Last night she and I were in the car {the theme of our summer} and I was overwhelmed by how much I enjoy her and how much fun we have had this summer. Oh there have been some moments when we probably could have killed each other … but on the whole we have really just had a good time together. This in contrast to last summer when, no joke, it’s a miracle everyone was alive and no one was in jail. {Thirteen years old is rough, people. Rough.}

when the enemy whispers, "failure" into your spirit, know the truth: you are not a failure!

All of that to say this, sometimes I feel like a total failure as a mom. I look at her never-clean-unless-we-threaten-death room and receive one of the never-ending eye rolls and I wonder if we’ve done anything right.  It’s so easy for me to focus on all the bad stuff. Because seriously, this girl of mine is truly a product of her parents and she has made sarcasm and having a smart mouth into an art form. There are days when I wonder if I’m doing anything right. And there are days when I’m sure she wonders if she’ll ever be able to do anything right by my standards.

Parenting doesn’t get easier. I’ve shared before the wise words of my friend Natalie who says the stakes just keep getting higher as our children grow up. It’s true, which is in no way meant to imply the days of potty training and temper tantrums are not hard. Oh my are they ever hard! And exhausting. {And all the mommas of littles said, “Amen.”}

But as our babies get older and the struggles become harder to understand and manage, we mommas do this crazy thing … we stop sharing with each other. We stop telling our stories. Think about it — mommas of littles swap stories about the nightmares of potty training but when our kids hit middle and high school age, we’re afraid to tell the stories of back talking and the fears we have about everything. We look at the Instagram photos and the Facebook feeds of all the happy, perfect families and the enemy speaks just one word to our souls, “Failure.”

Can I just take a moment to say this to you:

You are not a failure!

You are human. You are imperfect and you are raising an imperfect child. And there will be hard times.  Really, really hard times. You may have to deal with pornography or eating disorders or suicide attempts. You may have a rebellious child who rejects everything you have taught. You may have a child who manipulates you and breaks your heart. Or you may be wondering if your child will ever speak to you with a tone of respect and kindness again.

But you are not a failure!

There will be moments when we totally mess it up as parents. Moments we wish we could do differently. But God has not called us to be perfect parents. We can’t.  We make the best decisions we can with the information and resources we have at the time.

I wish I could bring you all to my house and hug you and listen to your stories. I wish I could look at you and say, “Here’s what I know, parenting is all just a theory! None of us have any idea if what we’re doing is going to work. We just do the best we can and trust the Lord to fill in all our gaps.”

I’d laugh with you about the times you went all crazy momma with your kids {and I’d have a few of those stories to share as well}. I’d cry with you over the heartache you feel when your child makes a choice you know is going to hurt them {and I could tell a few of those tales myself also}. And after we’d prayed for wisdom and before you walked out the door of my house, I’d draw you close and whisper these words, “You are not a failure. You are a beautiful, loving, wonderfully imperfect mom who desperately needs the holy, gracious, wise and perfect Father. Lean into Him.”

Because the reality is, that’s what we are — imperfect moms clinging to the perfect Father.

And in that truth, there is this hope: we are not failures!!

Teri Lynne

How does the enemy whisper failure into your heart as a mom?

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Now that my kids are grown I think I can see more and more that yes I failed to do some things perfectly but with God’s grace this times do not define me as a mother. I am so thankful that God can still use our messes to teach and mold our kids.

    • So true, Amy! I think the one of the greatest blessings in my life are the senior adults who have come alongside me over the years to help me remember it’s a lifelong process of learning to parent this child of mine. And just when I think I have it figured out, we hit a new stage with new challenges. I am incredibly thankful for all the “older” moms who have poured into me in this area.

  2. Thank you for this reminder! I’m in the struggle of daily survival-wondering if I will make it thru these teen years with any resemblance of sanity (not sure yet). I needed to be reassured I’m not a failure-the enemy sure likes to SCREAM it over & over. Thank you!

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