Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Birthday Blues…Just Being Real


(Pic: Me on my 4th birthday I believe)

Another Christmas has come and gone, which includes as always the passing of my birthday. That’s right, I was born on December 23rd, a mere two days before Christmas. While there are always many jokes and fun remarks about being a Christmas baby and no one remembering my birthday in the midst of Christmas celebrations, I’ve never really minded much being born around the most popular holiday. After all, this is the time of year that we Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Why would I mind sharing birthday honors with my Jesus? 🙂

So without any emotional issues about being born at Christmastime, I will admit that this year was a bit difficult for me. You see, I turned 34 this year. It’s not exactly a milestone birthday for most people. When I turned 30, I confess to being in tears half the day. The few years between then and now haven’t affected me much, but 34 has been a hard one. It has been hard because it has caused me to reflect on my life and where I am today. With New Year’s right around the corner, many people will share these moments of reflection and self-confrontation about areas in which we feel we have met our own goals and where we have missed the mark. My birthday has added intensity and a sense of urgency to the mix.

Why 34? What’s the significance of this seemingly innocent and random number? Well, it’s one year shy of 35. I can sense the puzzled look on your face as you read this and think, “so what?” It may sound silly, but I had it in my mind from the time I was young that I would have four or five children by the time I was 35. I don’t know if it was the hype I’d heard about 35 being the turning point when a woman is considered on the older side of child-bearing age or what, but that number stuck in my mind. I wanted to have my children by 35. As I sit here, listening to my precious girl playing in her room alone, I can’t help but feel the loss and defeat that infertility brings afresh. I’m so grateful and so blessed for the gift from God that my daughter is, but I still long for more children, and this birthday has been a stinging reminder that this is a door that has been closed for me.

Now I know that many women have children well into their late 30’s and early 40’s, so don’t be offended or feel the need to encourage me in this way. I understand that there is still technically “time” for children, and that the Lord may still bless us with adopted children. It’s just that I can’t help but be disappointed with those things that I have not accomplished in my 34 years. I’m not disappointed with what God has done, but only unhappy with some of the circumstances I find myself in because of my own bad choices and inadequacies.

As I read scripture I find encouragements. As I remind myself of God’s love for me, I find comfort in His affections and His grace. As I place my hope in Him, I’m able to face my struggles head on and to admit that I’m not perfect and I’m not always happy. I have joy because of the Lord, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with sadness, disappointment and pain at times.

So tonight I admit that my birthday and the upcoming New Year reminds me that I’m no where near where I want to be. I admit that I have failed myself in many ways and that I do experience pain in the inability to have children. I confess that I do struggle with jealousy as I watch dear friends have one baby after another, though I greatly rejoice with them at the same time. I’m okay admitting these things because I’ve no desire to be fake or to paint a false picture of myself. Life is not all Sunday morning smiles. I’m okay with being real with you and I’m okay with you being real with me. I think that’s how we pray for each other and minister to one another.

Looking forward to 2015, I have so many things I want to change and do differently. I have so many dreams and goals I’d love accomplish. Still, I trust in the Lord that His ways are perfect, and I rest in His grace when I am weak and fail. I appreciate your prayers, dear saints, and I pray for you too, that the Lord will give you clarity, direction, wisdom and courage as you also look to the New Year that’ll be here soon. God bless!

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When You Feel Like a Failure

photo credit: freeparking yay via photopin cc

In all of my blogging there has always been one thing I’ve wanted to make perfectly clear….I fail. I’m a sinner. I’m not perfect. Sometimes I do well and sometimes I blow it like everyone else. I don’t write about these topics on marriage because I have always had a perfect marriage or because we never have difficult times. I don’t write these encouragements because I think every other woman needs my advice, but rather because I need God’s advice. That’s what I’m sharing, and it’s as much for me as for anyone else.

That being said, the word “failure” is such a defeating word. I’ve felt like a failure many times in my life and in many different ways. I’ve failed to be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend I want to be. I’ve failed to study God’s Word or pray enough. I’ve failed to show grace in the face of persecution or to love my enemies. I’ve failed to make changes in my life that I know would benefit both me and those around me. Sometimes these thoughts of failure can become overwhelming and steal away our joy and our identity in Christ Jesus.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

As women I think we internalize our mistakes even more. We allow bad choices to become our identity. We don’t compartmentalize. We make a mistake and then paint ourselves all over with that color of defeat and self-depreciation. We compare ourselves to other women and wonder if we measure up. Little do we know that behind closed doors, that perfect woman we so admire and look up to probably has some of her own struggles and issues. Oh ladies, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we judge ourselves do harshly when we know we have found grace and compassion in our Lord?

The truth of the matter is, it is good to judge ourselves in issues of sin. We do want to examine our hearts and our choices so that we can repent on do better next time. The problem is, so often that examination isn’t about constructive self-criticism with a positive note for improvement going forward. So often it is more about self-condemnation and we lose our new identities in Christ Jesus. We forget who we are in Him. We focus on our failures and forget that we are new and clean and spotless in Him.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

Well I’m tired of feeling like a failure! I’m tired of failing to meet my own standards. I am ready to embrace the grace of God. I will continue to repent of sin and bad choices. I’ll continue to try to make positive changes. I can do these things and still remember that all have fallen short of the glory of God. In fact, the law shows us that not one of us could achieve perfection on our own. That’s why we needed Jesus in the first place! Should I grieve my sin? Absolutely! Should I strive to live a life that pleases the Lord? Of course! Should I condemn myself as a failure and a loser every time I fall? God forbid! I am a daughter of the King and He loves me. He knows I will fail. I have the covering of Jesus when I fall on my face and the power of the Holy Spirit to get back up and continue the race. In Jesus, I’ll cross that finish line. In Him, I’ve already won!

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ” Phil 3:13-14

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ” 1 Corinthians 15:57

I don’t recommend calling ourselves failures because I believe in Christ Jesus we have a new identity that isn’t about how well we’ve done. We are victors because He has victory. He has made us more than conquerors. All things are possible through Christ Jesus. We are the perfect, spotless bride because He has removed our stains by His spilled blood and broken body. So, while I may feel like a failure and I may become very unhappy with myself at times, I need to remember that my weakness is only an opportunity for God to show Himself mighty and strong. I need to trust in Him that His grace is sufficient and that in Him I am victorious – even when I fail.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10


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