I woke up the other morning just wanting to take a “sick day” from mom-ing. I was tired, I had terrible pregnancy aches, and I was battling the ever-familiar antenatal depression. I just felt defeated by the day before it even began.
By 11 AM, my son had already watched way too much Dinosaur Train, and I found myself figuratively banging my head against the wall in frustration every time he asked me for something. I felt like I was being ungrateful and lazy. I ate Twizzler bites by the handful and sipped Dr. Pepper just to keep my eyes open. The simplest task of unloading the dishwasher felt like a mammoth of an assignment, and I found myself mostly ignoring things I needed to do. In fact, I spent most of the day counting down the minutes until I could crawl back into bed.
I was being extra hard on myself because the day prior had been particularly good. Because I felt good physically and emotionally and mentally, I accomplished much and complained little. I felt energetic and positive and more like “myself” than I had in a long time. As I compared my day to the one before it, I felt strangely doomed. It was just a hard day. A long day. A lonely day.
So there I was around dinner time, driving home with a Little Caesar’s pizza in my lap and a destructive inner monologue reminding me of all of my failures.
Thankfully, Heaven intervened at that moment and to my mind came these words—Today’s “best” might not be yesterday’s best…..and that’s okay.
I’m grateful that even on those days when my offering is so small, the offering still counts. Christ completely understands our limits and the unique challenges that each individual day presents. He empathizes with those raw emotions that seize our mortal frames and prevent us from accomplishing all that we might hope to. He perfectly knows our capacity to do and to be in any given situation, amid any challenge, and in the midst of every circumstance.
He understands that today’s migraine might mean Netflix is your babysitter for a few hours or that the difficult news you received from a relative meant you weren’t very productive. He knows how your sick baby needed you all through the night, causing you to be late for church because you overslept. He knows when your social anxiety peaks you just can’t reach out to your neighbor like you should.
He knows. He just gets it.
On that five-minute drive home, I finally understood that. My entire perspective changed.
My loving Savior allowed me to see myself in a more forgiving light. He helped me see those small victories—how I responded to several tantrums with patience, how I braved the community sandbox even though I felt antisocial and miserable, how I took Milo on a walk to the park even though I spent the entire commute crying behind a pair of Ray Bans. He reminded me that I sent an encouraging text to a struggling friend even though I was struggling myself. He brought to mind that mountain of laundry I conquered even though I just wanted to plop down on the couch and do nothing. I really did do some good despite a lot of “even thoughs.”
It was as if Christ handed me a permission slip of grace and reminded me that He measures our efforts after He measures our hearts. He assesses our faith after He considers what obstacles the adversary placed in our path. He determines what our “best” really is after He contemplates our situation, the load we carry, our weaknesses. And He does this each and every day because our circumstances and obstacles vary each and every day.
Sometimes I think of progression strictly as an upward climb, but our growth isn’t always linear. There might be an obstacle one day that wasn’t there before. A few switchbacks or detours may make progress seem slow and imperceptible. Mortality is a difficult mountain to climb and surely there will be times when we stumble and fall, but we’re still headed for the top. And that’s all that really matters.
I’ll forever be “Confused at the grace that so fully He—[Christ]—proffers me.” I don’t always deserve His mercy, but grace wouldn’t be grace if I did.
So just remember: Today’s “best” might not be yesterday’s best…..and that is totally and completely okay.