I failed at being a mom. Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys. I have loved my boys. I think I did many mom things right – I played with them, I made them peanut butter and jelly and cut it into little pieces when they were little. I sat by the tub while they splashed thru their baths. I tucked them in bed and hugged them when they woke up. I told them I loved them. Because I do love my boys. With all my heart.
I cannot dwell on my failures as a mom with an eating disorder very long because the guilt sucks me dry. Living under that burden is gut wrenching to me. I need to live under the umbrella of a God who forgives and redeems.
I doubt that my boys realize what I did. I don’t think they are scarred for life because of the choices I made under ED’s influence. I pray that their youngest years weren’t marred because of me. I pray hard.
Instead of living under guilt, I went to treatment and worked my butt off because of them. I had no greater incentive than Benj and my boys. Because I loved them, because I knew they deserved better than a wife and mom who bowed to the whims of an eating disorder, because they needed a mom who was fully present to their needs, because of these reasons, I worked hard to kick ED’s butt out the door so I could make it back home to my family.
We all fail. I want to blame my eating disorder for many of my bad choices, and maybe some would say I can, but I also have to accept that I made those choices for myself. I didn’t fight for 17 years against the manipulation of my eating disorder. And no one who understands could fault me for that failure. ED is a powerful opponent. This we know.
But here is the key point: I finally did make the decision to fight.
Failure only wins when we wallow in the fact of our failing. The minute we decide to learn from our failure and move forward into better decisions because of the past mistake, we negate the power of that failure. We redeem our failure by gaining wisdom and the ability to make better choices in the future.
I beat ED because I got mad. For many reasons I got mad. But above all was the years my eating disorder stole from my boys in a mom who was present and accounted for. I want to love them in the here and now without a veil covering my heart. I may still make bad choices as a mom – because it will happen – but those bad choices will no longer be because an eating disorder skewed my love. ED no longer gets me first. My boys do. Benj does.
No, may I correct – God gets me first. And because he gets me first, he empowers me to love like I couldn’t under ED’s control.
I made mistakes. God forgives. God empowers. God gives second chances. And third chances, fourth, fifth – he’s forgiveness knows no bounds.
Guilt is no way to live. Failure is a life lesson. Don’t lug it around like a chain around your legs. Forgiveness unlocks the chains that hold us back. Accept the gift and use it to propel a life of love.
I love my boys. I love being their mom. I love that they love me through my mistakes. I will not waste the forgiveness I’ve been given by God and by them. This life is too precious to waste on unredeemed mistakes. Learn, love, and move forward.