Practically {Im}Perfect in Every Way

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Oh Mary, how we adore you!  If you don’t know who I’m talking about, I’m so very sorry.  Mary Poppins was a staple in my house growing up.  Actually, anything Disney related was highly obsessed over and desired.  And so if you have never had the pleasure of watching the beautiful Julie Andrews sing and dance and be perfectly proper, I’d suggest renting it right now and saving yourself years of regret!

But honestly, I loved her.  The way she talked, the way she handled situations, the way she could snap her fingers and clean up a room, and her amazing bag of everything you could ever need… ever!  I’ll take those last two traits big time right now Mary!  Where can I get me one of those!  Yet, as I’ve clumsily stepped into adulting, I’ve come to realize something about myself.  Many times throughout the day, I can truly say I don’t like her.  I mean, I really get annoyed and want to pull out my hair.  Because life isn’t as simple as a snap or a bag that provides everything you need.  It’s hard and tiring and flat out insane at times.  She first used her clever measuring tape to measure the heights of the two children she was nannying.  After humoring them, she then measured herself and at the perfect height she read the tape, “Practically Perfect in Every Way.”  Ugh.  Really?  Let’s take a look at mine shall we?  5’7″ – “Barely Hanging in There Every Day.”  And that’s why I have issues with marvelous Mary.

But please dear friends, let’s be real here.  We don’t need a kid’s movie to come up with a make-believe perfect woman who’s got it all under control.  Just look at your neighbor or your family or your bestie… Heck!  Just look on social media.  I’m talking to you Facebook!  In our minds we have put some of these women up on a pedestal, thinking they have all their precious little ducks in a row.  “If I could just be more like _____, then my house wouldn’t look like a bomb went off, and my kids would be dressed to the nines, my meals wouldn’t taste like burnt rubber, I would like the way I look in the mirror…”  The list goes on and on.  Our perceptions of others can often be our worst enemy.  Assuming someone has the perfect life will almost always leave you sorely disappointed because it’s just not true.  Expectations kill relationships, both big and small.  And the same goes for your relationship with yourself!  Yeah, did you know you have a relationship with yourself?  Cuz you do, sister.

What you believe about yourself will inevitably come out in the way you live.  There’s no avoiding it.  You will see the world (and others) through those same self-made glasses, no matter how large the smear or tiny the crack.  What word would you use to describe yourself, fellow frazzler?  Alone?  Unworthy?  Failure?  Weird?  Unlovable?  Whatever it is, if you keep on believing this falsehood, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy… and Lord knows I personally don’t want all my negative thoughts about myself to become a reality!  Please God, no.

So what do we do here?  And what truth do we really need to believe in order to be set free from expectations we’ve placed on ourself and others?

Okay, you ready…

Stop.  Just stop.

Stop comparing yourself to others.  Stop placing standards on yourself that no human being can reach.  Stop looking in the mirror and seeing the WRONG and start focusing on the RIGHT.  Beautiful One, do you know who you are?!  You were created for greatness by the greatest of Kings!  He sees no flaw in you because in you He sees His Son.  He sees Himself and all the glory of heaven!  And every person is a unique gift, perfect in their own way.  I need to be me and you need to be you because otherwise if the world was full of me’s than I would drive me, myself and I crazy!  Got that?  I need you and you need me because as Jerry Maguire classily said, “You complete me.”  Man, I’m really on it with movies today!  But seriously, maybe we could see the value in each other and actually learn from one another, instead of judge.  Individuality is a blessing indeed.

So my life doesn’t have to be perfect.  I don’t have it all together.  And neither does she by the way.  We all have our Mary’s, but does it really matter?  Nobody is perfect in and of themselves.  But because we are His, He has made us perfect in Jesus.  He is not disappointed with you, so why should you be?  We are in the process of walking into the perfection that’s already ours.  That’s real glory.

I’m not ashamed to be around you any more Miss Poppins.  You can keep your measuring tape and proper ways.

But I wouldn’t mind learning the snapping trick.  Just saying.

 

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Still in Process…

Disclaimer:  This post made me cry.  I’m an emotional, hormonal mess of a preggo, but that’s not the true reason.  This hits close to the heart.  And when something hits this close, the tears will always follow.  

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  What an incredible man, worthy of remembrance and celebration.  It’s sad how some of the brightest lights are taken too early in life.  Two years ago this January we lost a baby we were praying for.  It was early in our pregnancy, but the pain was still so deep.  I believe it doesn’t matter when you lose a baby, it is still a heart-wrenching loss that needs to be grieved.  I often wonder what he or she would have been like, what their likes or dislikes would have been, what they would have looked like… but I think most of all I think I dream about their dreams… What would he or she have pursued with passion?  Who did they want to be?  What amazing things would we have seen them accomplish as they followed their heart and followed the passions Jesus placed specifically in them?  And cue the tears…

Those last questions haunt me most because I know I will always wonder.  Until heaven.  One day we will meet, and my heart will be complete.  We will finally know our whole family and it will be beyond beautiful.  Of course, these are complicated feelings right here.  If we didn’t miscarry our baby two years ago, we would not have our Nathan who is an absolute joy to every person he meets.  I couldn’t imagine my life without him, but I want both babies.  I never wanted a one or the other.  I know it’s not physically possible, but thankfully with God the possibilities are endless and often above my comprehension.  And one day we will have it all, we will have all our babies together in one holy place.  Because this earthly life is just a shadow of reality.  Eternity is the real deal, my friends.  The REAL DEAL.

And I’m sure those remembering the life and loss of such a great man today still think, “what if he wasn’t killed?”  “What kind of world would this be if he wasn’t taken from us?”  Anyone who has lost a loved one will agree that these words echo in their spirit. And not knowing is the hardest part, besides missing them dearly.  But God is in the business of redemption.  He replaces the dark ashes with a precious crown, beautiful and true.  And even if your redemption cannot be seen as of yet, don’t lose hope, sweet friend.  It just means your story isn’t over.  Like all of us, it’s in process.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible has always been Hebrews 11:1; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Anytime I feel my heart sink as I face hurts and hardships in this life, these words float to my mind.  Because God doesn’t let us go through these dark seasons alone.  His love for us is too strong.  And it takes faith to believe it’s true and to bravely move forward with Him.  Healing only comes when we trust Jesus with our whole hearts, every broken piece… every broken place.  Today we remember a man whose soul mission was to restore relationships and create a culture of reconciliation.  Sounds quite like my Jesus.  And believing in His intention for all He has created, makes it easier to give Him my everything, even if I don’t know what’s coming around the bend.  MLK, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

Agreed.

Well said, Doctor.  And well lived.

Torn Moments

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So I sit down… finally.  After getting #1 off to school and rocking #2 to sleep for his hopeful couple hour nap (ah wishful thinking!), I actually have a brief period of “me time.”  I feel like #3, who is currently taking up his/her residence in my expanding tummy, is ordering room service again.  I’m starving!  I go to the fridge, make a quick sandwich and my failed attempt at nachos (melted cheese on chips… gourmet I know!) and I sit.

Oh blissful silence, how I adore you.  And then the texts start coming.  I need to place this online order, a coworker needs to talk to me for work, the dogs are staring me down because they still haven’t eaten, I need to make those doctor appointments, have I peed yet today… when is the last time I brushed my hair?  Last week?  Ah!  Stop the noise already.  I just sat down, can’t you all see?  Momma needs to eat or I will die.

But when you are the source of people surviving in a household, they don’t understand.  They don’t think Mommy ever needs a break, even during the midnight hours.  She is a cosmic superhero with the incredible ability to go on zero hours of actual sleep for days, weeks, months, years on end.  She can do it all and she should.  Right?  And I look at them and hope they see my worn-down eyes and the words behind them… “I’m only human.”  My strength and energy are not enough to cover EVERY need that will surface during the 24 hours that pass each day, 7 days a week.  And so I am torn.  Torn between what I want to do in order to take care of myself (and my sanity) and what everyone else in my home/ the world wants me to do for them.  I know I am not alone in feeling the rift.  Oh dear friend, it’s so hard isn’t it.  As I sat down to write this post, I was happy that #2 miraculously was still sleeping after making a few phone calls and checking 2 things off my 100 point to-do list.  I could do something for my soul!  I could write.  And then my ridiculous dog who really may be shot by my neighbors for all of her insane barking, howled one of the loudest howls I have heard in my life… she was barking at nothing.  Out the freaking window.  And #2 has risen!  He’s awake and ready to be fed.  And I am maaaaaaad.  Why does this happen all the time?  Why does everybody else get the time they need, but my time slips away?

I have to be clear, I love my children and I love my life here at home, but it the midst of keeping the children alive, fed and semi-clothed and keeping up with the schedule and needs, I often feel like I am losing myself in the storm.  We all have things we need to do, things that take priority.  I should not be writing all day and let me kids fend for themselves.  Not cool Mother, not cool.  BUT I do need time for me.  I do need a break or I will break.  And when the Momma goes down, the whole house goes down.

So what is all this rambling coming to?  I’m pretty confident I’m coming to a conclusion here… I think.  I know that I need help.  When my husband is gone working so I can actually stay home with the small army we are creating ourselves, I can actually rely on something else… Someone else.  I need wisdom.  I need guidance when all the demands come barreling in, because I often feel like my head is going to explode.  But He tells me the truth and guides me to its peace.  The truth:  I can’t do it all alone.  The truth:  My power is limited and my energy is minimal.  The truth:  I have a God who wants to meet me in my chaos.  The truth:  I am loved, even in my most frazzled, mind-exploding state.  The Truth:  With God nothing is impossible and He will always make a way.  And then the peace comes.

So I ask Him.  What should I be doing right now?  And God, in the midst of all these “should’s”, could You somehow make a refreshing time for ME?”  And He will meet you where you are at and cause a stillness to come over your heart.  I know it may sound like some weird spiritual formula, but seriously, when I stop to breathe and center my mind on Him and just ask Him what’s up, He always follows through.  And the tug-of-war in my heart subsides because I know He wants to fulfill my heart with His love.  He wants me to know how valuable and priceless I am.  And that’s NOT because I am the supreme servant in my home 90% of the time.  It’s because He sees so much worth in me and He makes me worthy.  Worthy of His love and worthy to be loved.  And yes, that includes being worthy of a break!

If God is a God of details, that means He knows what you are going through and He cares about what you are feeling.  He cares about you!  And it’s ok to feel split into two or three or five hundred pieces.  Because He will show you what true priorities need take precedence and what imitators should take the back seat.  His wisdom never ends and His grace knows no bounds.  So let’s sit down for a moment and breathe.  Because together we can do this.

One understandably torn moment at a time.

 

Open Books Get Messy

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It’s no secret that library books get trashed.  They’ve been loved and read and torn.  Unlike the untouched Encyclopedias that just sit on a bookshelf, these treasured books are adored by many and passed on from one inspired mind to the next.

I want to say, first and foremost, that I’m not a neat little information-driven book with all the answers.  I rarely touched the Encyclopedias at my parents’ house.  I am, however, an open book, wanting to share life with you.  And when I share my life and heart with you, my friend, I’m picturing us sitting in our favorite coffee shop with our favorite lattes.  And yes, my story may be torn and the pages my be stained, but I’d rather you see my story and experience it with me, instead of hiding behind a spotless cover.  Life is meant to be lived openly… exposing both the beauties and the flaws.  Because let’s face it… Life isn’t perfect!  And crappy stuff is going to happen.  And we as human beings are messy and guess what… It. Is. Okay.  Let’s stop pretending we have it all together, people.  It’s exhausting and actually kind of boring.  Who you rather talk all night with: someone who creepily resembles Martha Stewart, or someone who shares the most hilarious stories of embarassment and intrigue?  Someone who gets you and won’t judge you because they’ve been there themselves?  No one wants to be best friends with a critical fake.  Honestly.

After 33 years on this Earth, I think I can confidently say that the people I love most in the world are the ones I can trust with my real self.  They’ve seen me.  They know the good, the bad and the ugly and for some bizarre reason they continue to call me friend. 🙂  And I have been blessed by them and through them and with them.  Together we have journeyed this crazy thing called life and I want to make this space… this glimpse into my life a place where you can feel safe and know that you are not alone.  When you read these words, I want you to feel free to laugh or cry or both at the same time.  I’m going to be honest and real with you, so please be so with me!

Let’s stop fearing authenticity.  Let’s stop pretending to be someone we’re not.  Let’s stop trying to copy our neighbor or be just like them.  Clones are bland.  You were created uniquely and wonderfully.  There is no one else on this planet who can do what you can do.  There’s no one else out there who can be who you are meant to be.  So, dear friend, stop trying to fit into the norm.  You were made to stand out!  You were made to be you… a glorious blessing for everyone to enjoy.  And when we all come together, we create this beautiful story full of amazing characters, gifted and loved in their own light!  We need each other and compliment each other.  The story may be messy at times, yes.  It may have bright spots and dark hours, but through it all we are free.  Free to be you and free to be me.

So welcome to my home and my life, fellow journeyer.  I’m certainly glad you’re here.