When All You See is Failure

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Its the last day of 2016, and we made the trek home to America to spend time with both of our families . This morning I bounded out of bed (ok, creeped quietly as not to wake up either child) and up my parents stairwell to their living room. Its my favorite place in the house and my favorite season, sitting in Mom’s big easy chair by the Christmas tree in a half-dark room with the twinkle lights shimmering.  I just love it.

As I journaled and reflected on the year, I was washed over by feelings of failure.

In the hardest season of my life, fighting for my mind under high stress circumstances and with tiny ones I’m responsible for, I failed to love those at a distance.  I lived in a bubble (with limited connectivity, with power cuts, with friends constantly in our home morning till night, with late night dinners and early waking babies, with sneaky mold and sick babies, with nauseating mountain drives, with a new business, with unending responsibilities) and every day when the kids went to bed, I was just glad I had made it.  I either crashed into bed or stared numbly at Facebook, skimming over the status updates, the election drama far away in another world, the hype about jogger pants that didn’t seem to matter when my neighbors were screaming at each other outside. Anything to numb my brain and sooth my soul from the intensity of our life.

And in this time I didn’t measure up to my own expectations.  I wanted to remember birthdays and send packages.  I didn’t send one package in three years.  I forgot both my dad and my father-in-law birthdays!  I wanted to email Stephie, my ever-loyal, longest-standing-BFF, and i rarely did.

But the hardest is that I let myself down. I just didn’t measure up and I didn’t love my far-away loved ones like I wanted to.

This morning it struck me that there’s nothing and no one helped by my self-inflicted guilt. My guilt doesn’t benefit me or the ones I’ve let down. It doesn’t even spur me on to “do better next time”.

What does help is releasing myself from my failures, because that’s what Jesus does. And returning to those I love, free of guilt and self-disgust. When I am free of the misery, I can love better, I can actually enjoy my relationships!

I’m making a resolution this year to love my loved ones better. I’m going to use reminders on my phone and try to create routines for email and texting. But I’m also going to apologize freely and then release myself when I fail. It’s just not worth it.

Because the guilt actually separates us, friends. Resentment actually isolates. And I will choose to do neither.

“Leave behind your regrets and mistakes. Come today, there’s no reason to wait. Jesus is calling.”  -Shane & Shane

But there is a silver lining of this storm, and one area of growth to celebrate.

In 2016 I grew to be a better mom and wife (this was a little easier to focus on since my husband and kids were staring me in the face).  I slowly released my drive for productivity and recognition.   In God’s goodness he showed me how to sit down in the mess and laugh with my kids. He showed me how to love my husband better by doing less pushing and more accepting and more going with the flow.  As a result these two tinies are the bright stars of my day, and I can laugh and relax with my crazy fun husband. This year I learned how to live the moments so that I don’t forget them (or at least take more pictures!).

If you are plagued with guilt and regrets, my hope is that you can apologize and let yourself off the hook.  Leave the mistakes behind. Move on, even if others don’t, and love yourself and these loved ones better because of it!

Jesus is waiting. Peace and joy are yours for 2017! Here’s to a new year for all of us.


  • Lynn Gluth

    Dear Rebecca, I am sitting here in my recliner just crying my eyes out. I am 62 yrs old and still struggle, on a daily basis with guilt & shame. The good thing is that God has finally gotten through to me that my feelings are coming from a place inside of me but not from Him. I cannot imagine going through what you do with two small children in tow, but this I know..God is very proud of you! You and your dear husband said “yes” to Him! The sacrifices you make on a daily basis mean so much to Him! I want to do better in my prayer life, I want to hold you and so many others I know up in prayer more often than I do! Thank you for this and for ALL that you are doing for our dear Lord Jesus!


  • Pops

    Do not give my birthday a thought…..I don’t. It’s a number and nothing more. Give those three dear ones of yours an extra hug for me on that day and I’m happy as a cloud. Just tell them ” This is Pop’s hug….” and I am fine!!!!!


  • Michelle

    Becca, I love who you are! You are full of truth, honesty, transparency much more, you are courageous and brave to put yourself wholeheartedly (tamim) to say what others think, fear, hide. Love you my friend


  • Marney Kidder

    Thank you Rebecca, very well said. Praying for you and your family Marney


  • Becky

    “In God’s goodness he showed me how to sit down in the mess and laugh with my kids.” This is my favorite line with a just-turned 6 and 4 year old, although I related to every sentence. I had to quit some areas of work when I had my second child and am just now finding the energy to begin to volunteer as much as I want to again. I thought the energy would never come back, but it has!!! 🙂


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