When You’re Not Enough

I have never been enough.

I try. I really do.

From the beginning, I studied and worked with all my might. Most of the time I am adequate, but there are things beyond my abilities that bring me to despair.

No matter how much I try or what I do, this one is more than I can handle. The hours I spend learning and searching increase my knowledge to the swelling point, earning me the label of amateur expert. Yet there he is, impervious. My carefully chosen words are so many flimsy soap bubbles, the noise a mere whisper before expiring with a quiet ‘pop’ more sensed than heard.

He wants to hear me, but the walls between us are thick and wide. He turns his head. The vibrations reach him. I will him to touch it, grasp it. Sometimes he does reach. It is a flimsy thing, not easily held. The fragmented traces it leaves, when it does find him, are like bits of melody, a song in separate pieces.

We begin again, with a slight adjustment and renewed persistence.

In all the long, long nights of bitter tears and angry, screaming prayers, failure has taught me this hard lesson well.

I can never be enough. Because perfect doesn’t exist in this world.

I am always enough. Because I will never give up on him.

There is a reason that mothers and fathers who face extraordinary challenges are referred to as parents in the trenches. The challenges in and of themselves are not the enemy. Those things that destroy your soul wear many masks. A few of their names are comparison, fear, and doubt. And they have a whole heap of nasty cousins.

Progress can be a messy business. Things don’t happen in a straight line. Who am I kidding? This is trailblazing work, walking a person through their own uncharted territory with scant signposts along the way. Even when you are certain sure you are going the right direction, there is a constant nagging doubt. Maybe this is not the right way after all.

When circumstances are particularly challenging, different, or unique, companions along the way are few and far between. It is a terrifying moment when you realize that even the advising experts often have no clue what they’re talking about.

I don’t know if I’m always doing the right thing. What I do know is that I have hope that I am not doing the wrong thing. Hope. A thing both fragile and strong, a whisper and a shout.

A wise man told me, “You can only do what you can do.”

This is a phrase I have repeated to myself more time than I can count. In my heart of hearts, I know I have given as much as I can. Not perfect parenting, by any means, but the best I could do at the moment.

You can only do what you can do.

After that, you have to have faith that things will work out. The distance between hope and faith isn’t so far. Perhaps it’s the final step in all the striving, the ending place of when you have poured it all out and nothing is left but faith.

Doubts are always there, but in the shadow of faith, doubts shrink down to manageable size.

Sometimes the best we can do is to focus on the next step. The next small goal. Celebrate those moments. For some of us, when our children learn to tie their shoes it is a much larger accomplishment then it is for your typical child. Every child is unique. Some are more unique than others. Averages and typical growth charts are nothing but scribbles on paper, not applicable.

Comparison destroys progress. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself to not play the comparison game, I fall into the trap. Often. We have to have a measuring stick to go by, otherwise we don’t know where we’re going. The problem is, the measurements keep changing.

The things you thought you knew no longer apply. These are the times when you have to dig deep, and get close to what is deep, deep, true. It is amazing how much preconceptions are worthless when it comes down to it. Throw almost everything out the window. Walking through life with someone who sees and experiences every moment a little bit left of center, a slightly different shade of blue, it helps a person find the pared down, close to the bone truth of the way things really are.

When things are terrifying, and they are, you can’t be afraid. You are the anchor, the place they call home. Fear is a luxury you cannot afford.

If you pay homage to fear, it will never be satisfied. It will eat you alive, you and your babies with you.

Trust your own good sense, do the best you can, and refuse to lose hope.

You can only do what you can do.

You are enough.


I was so hesitant to post today. I hope it conveyed what is on my heart and that this post is an encouragement.

If it encouraged you today, please leave a comment, like, or share.

All my best,

Donna Jo


Author: Donna Jo Stone

I write YA and women's fiction. I currently have two blogs, one for books and writing, and another for homeschooling topics. I love to read, and review books from a variety of genres. Christ Follower. Spoonie. Autism Mom. Watercolor Enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “When You’re Not Enough”

  1. I really appreciate your coming out and saying all this. It’s a great encouragement. And it’s so well written, I truly admire it! You summed it up when you said, “I can never be enough. Because perfect doesn’t exist in this world.
    I am always enough. Because I will never give up on him.”


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