Hanging by a Thread
Someone told me at work once, “You always look like you’ve got it together.”
“What you can’t see is the button to my jeans is literally holding on by a thread.”
Because TRUTH. My jeans were literally held in place on my hips by one tiny, fragile thread.
Actually, it was a whole, annoying week of “hanging on by a thread.”
That same morning I was up hours before daybreak with a post-nightmare kid hovering over my bed. I had mildew-y laundry left in the washer overnight. I’d forgotten about my eldest daughter’s school meeting one day that week … the same day I’d also forgotten to pack not just my middle daughter’s lunch, but her favorite teddy bear for the much-anticipated kindergarten Teddy Bear Tea Party.
When I got home, that button on my jeans fell off completely.
Just like we do sometimes.
This motherhood thing isn’t for the faint of heart. We’ll have good, even great days sometimes. But we’ll also have bleh, even terrible days. We will have days we are hanging on by a thread, and days that we fall off completely.
When that button fell off into my hand, I threw a mini-fit right there in my bathroom.
I don’t know why it was the button that pushed me over the edge, but I couldn’t control my frustration of the week anymore. Maybe the button falling off was simply the last small straw in the large pile of straw the week had thrown at me.
No, none of that “straw” would kill me. Heck, the annoying parts of my week couldn’t do anything to me I wouldn’t let it.
But it did feel suffocating in that moment.
My friend’s comment at work had made me feel good (of course), but my jean debacle reminded me that we don’t always have to have it together.
Friend, I give you full permission to NOT “have it all together” or a good day every day.
We all have days we are very much hanging on by a thread. Because LIFE.
However, I want to encourage you to not stay in that state of barely hanging on.
Not long after The Great Button Breakdown of mine, I came across the popular verse from James in his New Testament letter, found in James 1:2.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds …”
Joy? Ugh – hardly.
Smelly, mildewy clothes in my washer aren’t joyful. And neither are the mini-panic attacks upon realization of forgotten meetings or lunches. And definitely not when the button falls off your jeans.
The verse immediately following says,
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:3)
Other versions mention endurance or patience instead of perseverance, but they all ultimately mean the same thing — to endure something without giving way.
I realize these small annoyances — buttons falling off, stinky clothes, forgotten meetings, or dropping lunches and teddy bears off at school — are not the life and death, make or break situations of life. I am not diminishing true, hard, and heavy life circumstances so many of us are carrying right now.
However, these small irritations can force our faith under pressure.
I believe the way we live our lives in the everyday smallness often can say the most about our faith.
And this is where we build up endurance for life — in the everyday.
I love, love, love how The Message version reads James 1:2-4.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
Tests and challenges — this is where our faith-life shows its true colors.
No, we do not have it “all together” — not even close. But we can still consider it pure joy. Consider it a gift when our days are a little harder than we’d like for them to be.
I’m working on all considering these gritty annoyances a gift. I pray you do too.
Let’s keep allowing these annoying days to “do the work,” so we can continue to grow and develop faithfully in the everyday of motherhood.
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With a passion for the written word, Kristin Funston encourages women in a way that is relatable and practical, with a healthy dose of humor. She is the author of “More for Mom: Living Your Whole and Holy Life.” Kristin writes and speaks helping encourage women to embrace their current season and experience God in the everyday. She is a regular contributor to multiple websites, having been featured on sites such as The Better Mom, City Moms Blog, FaithIt, TODAY Parenting, and Scary Mommy. Funston resides outside of Memphis, TN with her husband and three daughters. She has a master’s degree in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University. You can find out more about her at KristinFunston.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.