How can a mom handle her own issues with grace and be an example to her children?

Rejection. Harsh word, isn’t it? Even harsher is when it happens to me — at least from my perspective. I’m always willing to be a shoulder to cry on for a friend, but I’m not such a fan of facing it myself. How about you? Been there?

Some of us face rejection from other people. We have faced rejection from our daughter (who has autism) on multiple levels, especially emotionally. I’ve been turned down for jobs and had my heart broken. And I was harshly rejected by a pair of cute jeans a few weeks ago, but I won’t dwell on that. …

This week, though, I find myself facing that negative nine-letter word on a deeper level — rejection of a dream. For years I’ve pursued fiction writing; it’s a hobby, yes, but one I love. And I wanted to share my stories with the world. However, with writing comes rejection. Repeated rejection. I often ask myself, is it worth it? When do I quit? And how do I serve dinner and make happy talk when I just got another “no” rejection email from an agent?

I pondered my swirling questions during dinner and talked to God. I keep getting told no. Is this a sign, or do you want me to learn perseverance? Am I a failure, or is this just not the right timing? Am I allowed to have my own dreams, or am I supposed to stay within these four walls and be Mommy forever? (Yes, that last one was a bit dramatic, but I’m being honest.)

To answer these questions, I must go to truth, which I find in Scripture. Does being a writer define me? No. Is an award on earth the greatest achievement I can earn? No. What is important? People: their hearts, their lives, their relationship with the Lord. I cannot take a written manuscript into the next life, but people are different. And my children are included in that “people” group.

So, I think of my life in terms of “just” being a mom. In my children and the friends around them, I can impact a multitude of people. Therapists, teachers, moms, grocery store clerks, dog walkers, dads … the list goes on. I have a chance to pour into the lives of others and to encourage them, sometimes on a daily basis. All of this just for being a mom and blooming where I am planted. I may never receive international recognition or riches for “just” being a mom, but I will gain more for it. I will achieve a different sort of recognition, which I hope is in people I have met coming up to me in heaven and telling me I had a positive impact on their lives.

Following that lofty paragraph is a bit hard, but I want to share the positive that has come out of my latest rejection. Later that night, I sat beside eldest’s bed and listened as she related a school incident — a bad grade and a friendship issue. I realized inside we all feel the same even though age and situations are different. I talked to her about what the agent had told me. I shared with her my feelings, fears, anger, and the way I was going to handle it. We discussed that even though she got a bad grade on a test, it does not define her as a person. It does not mean that she should quit or is a “failure.” Through my honesty and openness, I have allowed my daughter to watch and learn from me as I navigate the world, and I believe it is a positive experience for her. I have also opened doors to more honest emotion sharing in the future.

So, maybe a little rejection once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. …