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The Day I Lost My Smile

May 22, 2014

I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?”

Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.

I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn’t repeat yesterday’s mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn’t get out.

But the dog did get out.

As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.

I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out.

I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.

We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.

I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: “I stink at this.”

Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: “I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I’d love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well.”

I couldn’t believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.

I turned around to my kids in the back and said, “Hey guys, I’m really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you’re at school today I’m going to do everything I can to find it.”

After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text.

I shared with her. She shared with me.

Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in.

Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it’s okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands.

Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful.

Together, we found strength.

Together, we regained our sense of dignity.

And it wasn’t too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.

It reminds me Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.

We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, “together.” It’s such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this post today.

You are not alone.

Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders, like the truth of Proverbs 31:25 and that sweet time spent with my friend.

I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.

So, I slip this little encouragement into your life and whisper, you’re not alone. You’re doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.

Just don’t lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well?

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45 Comments
  1. Stephanie

    Thank you for this post today, so needed it; it was my text I needed, with rushing and my kids and life as a single mom trying the best I can with them. Some days I can’t fight back the tears and feel like such a failure so thank you for reminding me, I’m not alone and I need to remember…. to find my smile 🙂

    Reply
    • Nico Smith

      No matter jstho tired I feel each mornig, I always make an effort to egin my da by lstening to inspirtional msic on WCIC. Natually, Godwants thavtimalone ithme to get my mnd fcused whatever He ma have in store for me throughoutthe day ahead of me. Challengesmay be ahead of me; however, God wants me rely on Hi help me get through whaeve troules I may face at alltime. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14
      What a wonderful verse! It’s good to press on towards whatever goal God may have set for us. If it means doing something to make ourselves happy again, that’s something we ned to do to accomplish whatever that particular dream of ours may end up being.
      “I looked at my schedule and an overwhelming sense of dread started creeping into my heart. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I always running late, running behind, and running after my people who all seem to compound this issue?”

      Because time refused to stand still while I pondered, it was necessary to jump right into task mode. There were lunches to pack, permission forms to sign, and tangles that needed gathering up into ponytails. I put one foot in front of the other and kicked into automatic, mentally crossing off one thing after another on my morning routine checklist.

      I gathered up backpacks and lunchboxes and started announcing from the front door that we had to leave right this minute. And then I said it again. And then I yelled it in a tone that finally got my kids to appear. I quickly checked to make sure we didn’t repeat yesterday’s mistake of letting one leave with no shoes on. Then I marched out of the house while tossing out a stern reminder to please shut the door quickly so the dog didn’t get out.

      But the dog did get out.

      As I slipped the car in drive, the dog darted right out in front of me causing me to simultaneously slam on the brakes and spill both cups of orange juice I had gingerly perched between my purse and the little stacks of toast.

      I jumped out to usher the dog back into the house and let hot tears just have their way. The green numbers of the dashboard clock seemed to simultaneously mock and remind me I had no time to sit and cry it all out.

      I handed my kids their soggy toast and in a rare moment of silence, they took it without protest.

      We pulled into the carpool line at school and I stared at the long line of cars ahead of me. I imagined all the wonderful smiling mothers who were doing this better than me. They probably had organized systems for packing lunches the night before and making sure their kids kept up with their shoes. They probably did family devotions each morning, ate breakfast at the table, and sang songs all the way to school.

      I compared all that to the realities of my morning and came to one heart-sinking conclusion: “I stink at this.”

      Almost at that exact moment my phone buzzed with a text message from a friend: “I had a really hard morning with my kids today. I’d love to have coffee some time and learn how you do it all so well.”

      I couldn’t believe it. I half sighed and half chuckled at the irony.

      I turned around to my kids in the back and said, “Hey guys, I’m really sorry Mommy was such a grump this morning. I think I misplaced my smile. So I just want you to know while you’re at school today I’m going to do everything I can to find it.”

      After I dropped them off, I called that friend and told her what a gift it was to get her text.

      I shared with her. She shared with me.

      Together, we brainstormed better ways to prepare for these morning pitfalls we both kept finding ourselves in.

      Together, we gave ourselves the permission to admit how hard motherhood can sometimes be and that it’s okay to feel caught off guard by the endless demands.

      Together, we listed reasons to be so very thankful.

      Together, we found strength.

      Together, we regained our sense of dignity.

      And it wasn’t too long until we both found ourselves laughing together.

      It reminds me Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” But sometimes it takes a friend to bring us back to the place where we can live this verse.

      We need each other. The key word that day I processed life with my friend and gained a better perspective was, “together.” It’s such a powerful word and the exact reason I wrote this post today.

      You are not alone.

      Oh, how easy it is to lose our smiles and forget to laugh at the craziness of our lives. I need reminders, like the truth of Proverbs 31:25 and that sweet time spent with my friend.

      I imagine, though the circumstances might be different for you, you know that place where I was. And maybe you need a reminder to laugh too. We all have times where we feel like failures. We feel like others are doing life so much better. We feel so very alone in our struggles and issues and chaotic emotions. And we look up one day and feel like it was a lifetime ago since we laughed.

      So, I slip this little encouragement into your life and whisper, you’re not alone. You’re doing this so much better than you think you are. God has entrusted you with your life, your loved ones, your unique challenges because you are perfectly equipped for it all.

      Just don’t lose your smile. And if you run into me today looking a little worn out, might you remind me of this as well?~”Lysa TerKeurst
      What a wonerful way of lookin at ho our lives cn be full of challenges! I know that God doesn’t want us to rush aroundin ou day, forgettingal out Him in the things that we’ve got tget dne at the beginning of each day.

      Reply
    • Sheila

      Thanks Lisa, just read this and Wow! Kids are grown but sometimes I still get lost in myself..really working on getting it together..healthier eating, bible study, work, husband and house could go on but making myself tired:) today was a great day and thank you this really helped today:) keep up the good work:)

      Reply
  2. Lucille

    Thank you…that’s all I can say as the tears roll down my cheeks.

    Reply
  3. Amy C

    I have read this post before-but I read it again when it popped up on my email
    this afternoon. Thank you for reminding me! I am a Grandma now, and don’t
    have those exact issues anymore-but I am in the middle of dealing with
    breast cancer-and I think I lost my smile today-so thank you!

    I know God has a plan, and I want to trust him.

    When you step out in faith-and say to God-here I am-what do you want me to do?
    Be ready, he may ask you to go through something like I am.

    Love in Christ

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Praying for you today, Amy.

      Reply
  4. Martha

    Wow, with tears steaming down my face as I read your beautiful words, they fill my heart with hope and gratitude!! Thanks for reminding me and all of us – we are NEVER alone. And a smile can make all the difference! 🙂 God Bless!

    Reply
  5. Sarah

    I’m not even a mom yet, but SOO many of my days feel like this! And I just know it’s gonna get “worse” once my little one arrives in October… I always find myself comparing myself to other women and wondering how on earth they do it… so it was nice to read this and remember that it’s not without struggle and tears that they do… just like me. Thank you so much… this was very much needed today!!! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Torri

    God bless you Lysa for this today. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Samantha

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us today. I have 3 boys and this morning seemed like one of “those” mornings. I try so hard to keep it together but I feel like such a failure most of the time. I just finished a Bible study on unglued and it has helped so much but of course I slip up from time to time. I will not give up though because God is so good and his love is everlasting!!
    Thank you again for your honesty.

    Reply
  8. Deb

    Your post is most definitely God speaking to me today through you. I needed this. Thank you, Lysa for channeling God to me today.

    Reply
  9. Jackie Thompson

    Lisa, all I can say is thank you for your honesty. Unfortunately, many times lately I feel like the worst mom in the world, and wonder how God could have entrusted me to raise these 3 beautiful children. I have 3 teenagers, 2 with chronic health conditions (and everything else that comes with that) and one with major depressive disorder/anxiety disorder. He, my oldest, attempted suicide last week (praise God, wasn’t successful), and I have been praying every prayer I know that I will receive guidance from God and those who are expereince and know better than me. Reading your very real posts, reminds me that none of us are perfect and struggle to some extent every day.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Hi Jackie,
      I just happened to read your post as I entered mine. I want you to know that I just prayed for you, and your children. I have a daughter who battled severe depression and attempted suicide. My heart can feel your pain. Don’t give up looking for help. One doctor led to another and to another and to a friend, etc. My girl is made it through college and is married, and has a great job. It could all change in an instant, but we learned so much through her healing. It has also bonded me with so many other moms who deal with this nightmare. Hold on, take God’s hand.
      The one thing that I want to tell you, is that my daughter had food sensitivities that were not diagnosed. Find a good naturopath who can help you with diet, and nutritional deficiencies. my daughter’s intestines were so inflamed from allergens, that she was severely malnourished – her brain was starving. She cannot consume gluten, eggs, dairy, or soy. It took months for her to begin to heal, and to replenish her body with the nutrients she couldn’t absorb. I’m going to continue to pray for you and your children. And whatever you learn from this, God will use you (and your children) to heal others! Hold on to Jesus. I send you love!

      Reply
  10. Jen

    Thank you Lysa, for reminding me that it’s normal to “stink” at some things! It makes us human, and in need of other imperfect humans to bond with.

    Reply
  11. Adoption Mama

    Thank you! I was just crying on my knees in my room asking God to help me to have joy in this journey of parenting 3 teens. Adoption has made our life so much trickier than normal. I am thankful for your reminder.

    Reply
  12. Michelle Walter

    Lysa…..it has been awhile since I have read a post from you and can I say that you NEVER DISAPPOINT! I love your gift of telling a story as it ALWAYS makes me laugh or cry and sometimes both! I have been to many of your conference’s here in California and then was able to go to WOF last year and see and hear you speak again. You are a breath of fresh air and I just want you to know how much I APPRECIATE YOU.

    So thank you from the bottom of my grateful little Jesus girl heart!

    xoxo

    Reply
  13. Phyllis

    Thank you SO much for this message today, Lysa. It was a great reminder that we all have our daily struggles. I shared this with my “together” girlfriends, as well. Thank you, sister!!!

    Reply
  14. Christy Fitzwater

    God sent your words to me today. My daughter gets married on Sunday, and my day was just nuts. I worked hard to find my smile again, and I thank you for the encouragement to do so!

    Reply
  15. Lindsy McLaughlin

    I totally feel ya. Yesterday morning I had to drop my daughter off at preschool early so I could get to my MRI appointment. We were getting ready to leave when she threw up all the kitchen floor. She had gagged on something and ended up puking. I knew I couldn’t miss the appointment so I cleaned up the mess and hugged her and off we went. She loves school and has never cried but she did that morning when I left her. It sucked my heart broke and I felt like the worse mom. But when I picked her up that afternoon she was her normal happy crazy hyper self. We moms take a lot of hits to the heart, good thing God is there to pick us up and open our eyes to the reality that we do a great job and no matter what our kids love us.

    Reply
  16. Mimi

    Thank you for helping me find my smile. You always have the right things to say when I need it the most.

    Reply
  17. Susan Hillier

    I needed this wisdom when my boys were young! Your words brought me to tears even now I so identify with what you shared! I did forward this to them and let them know how much I have loved being their mom even tho I lost my smile many times !! Thank you

    Reply
  18. Jessica

    This was so perfect for me today. Last weekend I went to our churches women’s retreat and while it was awesome to bond as women it was even more awesome to bond last night as moms, when we went to dinner and as a group went to see the movie Mom’s Night Out. This post fit with these events in my life so perfectly. I have been blessed so far with our first child, my son Zechariah, and sometimes I feel like I must be doing this wrong with trying to manage being a stay at home house wife and full time student. But it’s nice to know I’m not alone because sometimes it gets lonely, my husband is active duty military in the he Air Force and I often find myself being mom and dad with the long hours his job demands. But I think we as moms can offer each other a great deal, with a kind word here or there and understanding. This is what your words have given me. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Yvonne

    Dear Lisa, I’ve never commented on any of your posts before though I read them ‘religiously’. Reading this post while standing in line at the bank immediately brought a smile to my face. This has been such a hectic work week in which I felt I simply could not catch up, and unlike what you were experiencing, I have no kids in tow. Just work that doesn’t seem to let up. But knowing I’m not feeling like this alone, and reading the post reminded me that I don’t have to let it steal my smile. I thank God for using this post to end my day, well, with a smile.

    Reply
  20. Kathie

    Oh, Lysa, thank you. Thank you. I am passed the years of getting kids to school but grandmothers loose their smiles too! Thank you for helping me find my today. Yep! There it is!!

    Reply
  21. Jody

    This is just what I needed to read after an afternoon of rushing to leave work on time, pick up the car that was in the shop, and make it to my 12 yr old daughter’s LAST tennis match of the season… I missed all the other matches due to work responsibilities, so this was the last opportunity, but the car wasn’t done when I got there, so I had to wait…and wait… When it was finally done, I rushed across town to the park and walked up to the tennis courts just as she was shaking hands with her opponent. I had missed it. Talk about EPIC FAILURE moment! I wanted to cry right there. I couldn’t even find the words as they all just sounded like excuses. So, thank you, Lysa, for your words of encouragement. I think I’ll find a friend to call this weekend. I know God’s grace is sufficient!

    Reply
  22. goji berry lifeway

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

    Reply
  23. Barbara

    Thanks for this post I was just going through the limitless life emails as only just read them as my life is so busy, I don’t get to go on the computer and keep up with everything. I’m writing this to with tears in my eyes as am living as a single mum with four children and never imagined I’d be in this place and I struggle daily getting my kids out the door, juggling everything else as well. I know I am never alone but it still hurts.

    Reply
  24. Wong

    Hi,
    Last year was my first Allume and it is exciting to see what God can do in just a year. Praying for direction for you!

    Reply
  25. Andrea

    Lysa, as usual, your words hit home. I know better than to compare to others but those days still come. I’m slowly learning to stop in these moments and just abide in Him. Thank you for the reminder that we are all in this mom journey together.

    Reply
  26. Angel

    Thanks for the encouragement. It kind of lighten my mood.

    Reply
  27. Mary Koym

    I know you may never actually see this, but lately things have been hard… I am a mess, I am days late reading this but God’s timing is as always perfect. Sometimes just giving up seems like an answer although I won’t. Just needed to hear even though I feel like I am failing and or going crazy, I am not alone. Thank you for reminding me!

    Reply
  28. Lisa

    Thanks Lysa for sharing this! I didn’t get a chance to read this earlier but took the time to read it just now. Although my son is grown and out of the house, I still have a 10 year old daughter at home. Even with just one child at home, there are many mornings we’ve experienced similar scenarios in a wild attempt to get out the door! Thanks for being transparent enough to share your heart. Thanks for being real. Looking forward to seeing you in person at She Speaks in July.

    Reply
  29. Nat

    Thanks for the reminder…it’s been a rough few months and boy have I been feeling overwhelmed and “under”capable. Thanks for reminding me that I am not alone. Although I am a single mom, I thank God, I don’t parent alone. He has never foresaken us.

    Reply
  30. Sandy Ferrell

    Lysa, Thanks for being real! We live in such a fake world of this grand idea of perfection. And it’s so not truth. I heard you at New Spring Church Anderson, SC for the very first time on Mothers day. Your message was so for me. Bad moments don’t make bad moms. I cried most of the way thru the message, as God gently reminded me of truth that day! Thank you for sharing your gift of speaking.

    Reply
  31. Temika Middlebrooks

    There’s so much I can comment on, but I’ll just sum it up with “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU”. I sooooooo needed to read post!!!!

    Reply
  32. Nina

    Lysa you are such an inspiration! The moment I found your facebook fanpage. I could not stop myself reading all your post and now your stories. I’m so fired up with the same passion like yours. Inspiring women esp. married women! You are a blessing! I found my smile again because of this post. Thank u!

    Reply
  33. Nancy

    Just read this, and I can so relate! My kids are a little older…my twin girls will graduate from High School on Saturday, and my almost 15 year old son just finished his Freshman year. The crazy chaotic mornings are a thing of the past, but the days still can be crammed full of obligations and demands. My son had emotional issues when he was younger, and our household was almost always ‘off-kilter’. For a few years I had no time or energy for getting together with friends, except on very rare occasions. I was out of my element and barely surviving. I felt I was incapable, a horrible mom, and the only mom who couldn’t maintain a ‘normal’ household. As my son evened out through testing, counseling and meds, life slowly became more balanced. We had periods of calm. Though the years, I finally discovered (maybe later than most, but not too late) that all families and all households have some big struggles and ‘off kilter’ days. I was not alone. I was not crazy. I was not weak. I was capable, and though all of this I learned how very strong I actually was. (Only though God) My earlier glimpes of that came when I finally learned to start my day with God. I discovered how my quiet time with God before they awakened made such a big difference in my entire day. Though the years I realized that all mom’s/households had those crazy ‘off-kilter’ days. Maybe we had more, but we made it through. It wasn’t until I opened myself back up to girlfriends, and sharing about our family struggles, that I realized many other moms felt the same way. Thought the years, my phone started ringing with friends asking if they could pass my name on to a mom who was going through a difficult time with a child. I would never wish what my son has gone through on any child, but though this I realized the depths of my love, compassion for other struggling families, not to judge other parents dealing with out of control kids, and how God truly provides! As I read your article, the tears were pouring down my face. All mommas need God and all mommas need Girlfriends!! God bless!

    Reply
  34. Jen

    This was great! I’ve been going through something and I forgot how to have fun with my kids. So that’s my homework to just have fun with them. Except that is something else I’m not sure I’m doing right. I’m working on it though.

    Reply
  35. Karen

    Hi Lysa,
    This is such a blessing right now – reminding me to put fresh relationship first even before the good habit of quiet time. A seeking heart is the motivation and sometimes mundane parts of life cause of to lose sight of our journey. His mercy is new every morning!
    Thanks,
    Karen

    Reply
  36. Larry

    Lysa, since typical, your terms struck household. I am aware a lot better than to help compare to help other folks although those times even now come. I’m little by little finding out remain in these kind of times and just abide inside Your pet. Thanks for that reminder which many of us are in this particular mommy vacation collectively.

    Reply
  37. Doreen

    Nourishment for my soul…..more then ever do I need it now ! Two years ago I moved from my old state where I was living down the street from my friendster (BEST friend/sister.) Had a wonderful job….I called my fun income and moved to a city that I knew no one but my husband and youngest son. I have been sick in heart and now in body…. I haven’t found my fun income…my home…or even a close friend to call my own YET…BUT we did find a good bible based church. And as I was crying out to God the other day that I just needed to hear his whisper….just his mouth so close to my ear that I can feel his breath…I was asked to teach a study at our church…I was given a few precious pieces of knowledge to share in course form….one being yours…”Made to Crave.” So nourishment here I come! And it would also be a blessing for the chance at more nourishment…. thank you for all you are doing…

    Reply
  38. Ronda Bean

    Thanks for sharing. I lost my smile a long time ago, and I m in the process of finding it. Although it had nothing to do with my children your post did speak to me in a way you will never know. I love and admire each one of you. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers…

    Reply
  39. jennifer

    I just read your post and I have lost my smile. I feel like my whole world is falling apart. From me being a bad wife to a bad mom. I need to get my laughter and my smile back.

    Reply
  40. Heather

    This one was sitting in my inbox for awhile, finally just read it, SO glad I did! htank you for writing this one! 🙂

    Reply
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