I was four. Big, fuzzy blonde hair and some pretty huge glasses. Frustrated because I didn’t want to wear my new shoes. We were just going to take a walk up to my grandma’s house. Which was seriously like 20 steps away from where we lived. The sun was shining, it was beautiful. No rain. No dirt roads. Pavement, mind you. But tears came down my face as I refused to wear these new shoes for fear of getting the bottoms dirty.
Yes, it seems ridiculous, right? And it was.
The bottoms are supposed to get dirty. But I wanted to keep them looking perfectly clean and new. Which is totally not the purpose for shoes.
Those of you who know me probably aren’t surprised. I have been a person who likes things orderly, clean and shall we say…perfect? I just feel better that way. And I know it’s carried over in the area of how I mother and carry out my role in our home.
When I was pregnant with my first I dreamed of my mother retiring from work and her and I going to the pool with my toddler someday. Lounging by the pool, eating Popsicle’s and just enjoying life. I really thought everyday in the summer I would go to the pool as a stay at home mom. Ha! I didn’t understand laundry, making meals, nap time, fussy times or even how much life would change. How getting out the door in thirty minutes was something to be proud of.
And as time has gone by and I have have been blessed with more children, I have had to realize I cannot be perfect or have have things in my life be perfect. My energy, time and ability isn’t there. And I’m learning that life’s not meant to be perfect anyways.
Overdue library books, kids wearing mismatched socks because with all that I have I cannot figure out what’s happened to the other. I try to be good with our budget. I read all these blogs about saving money, using coupons, not eating out. Going to garage sales, cutting your hair at home, making your own baby wipes. And all of that is good. I sure admire any of you that do these things. I even do some of these things. But not all of these things. Because I can’t.
I’m almost a little embarrassed to admit that my great expectations of how I should mother or what I should be doing often can steal my joy. I have these cute little people who love and adore me. They don’t care what I look like, how perfectly the budget is balanced, whether the laundry is put away, whether there’s an inch of dust on the T.V. And believe me, there usually is.
They love me and are ready to explore life. To learn, to play, to laugh.
And sometimes I go to bed at night, my husband I can tell has already fallen asleep. And I just want to wake him up as I think over my day. I want him to hear my thoughts.
“Honey. They are growing up. They are growing up! I don’t want to miss it. I want to take it all in. I forgot to tell you child number one did this new thing today. Did you see how child number two is so tall all of a sudden?”
The tears come and I realize how fast the days are going. And I decide tomorrow I will do better. Tomorrow I will take it all in and not worry about trying to make my home perfect, my children perfect, my life perfect.
I realize I’m trying to feel secure in doing it all right. It feels good when the house is in order. It feels good when the kids are clean. It feels good when things seem right. But my hope can’t be in when things are in order. My hope needs to be in Him.
And then in the quiet of the night, I turn to Him. My Father. And I tell Him the wife and mother I want to be. I tell Him I’m sorry I haven’t got it all figured out. I ask Him for wisdom and for help.
And then peace comes over me. Because my view of perfect isn’t what He’s concerned about. He has asked me to love Him with all of my heart. He has asked me to love others like I love myself.
He hasn’t told me to keep up with all the dishes. He hasn’t told me to not veer off my cleaning schedule. He hasn’t told me to read five chapters a day from the Bible to my kids.
Because He’s not like that.
Perfection…in His Son, not me.
His love for my family…so much greater than mine.
I can trust Him. With all of it.
What if I do all this and they turn from Jesus? What if I spend my life showing them the way and they don’t want You? I want them to love You, Lord more than anything. Am I doing this right?
But again I feel His comfort. My job is to teach them about His love for them. His great, great love. I will plant the seeds, but God will make them grow.
His grace will cover over me. Where I can’t be what they need. He will be enough for them. His grace is enough for me and His grace is enough for you, dear mother.
In our day where we have so many resources at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming. What society tells us makes a successful, perfect family.
But we don’t need Google. We don’t need Pinterest. As we chart our course through life and give our best and all for Him, we have the manual that gives life, hope and freedom. It is the Word of God. my sisters. His Word. His Truth. None of the other stuff really matters.
If you see me around town and see some of my perfectionist tendencies, you can know I’m aware and am working on it. But I’m thankful for the grace that even covers the areas I haven’t figured out yet.
Today we were able to enjoy for the first time Spring like temperatures. So we got outside, of course. The baby was able to feel the earth under her feet for the first time, walking around all on her own. And there was a great desire to play in the wet dirt. To feel the earth between the little baby fingers. And I decided yes. We have time to touch the soil and get messy. We have time to explore and not keep our clothes perfectly clean. Because that’s not the purpose of life, anyways. What fun do you have if your shoes never get dirty. Go ahead, sweet baby. Take it in and enjoy. You get the bottoms dirty and even the tops. Have fun, sweet baby. It’s all going to be ok. Smile, take in the air. See the birds because this is life. This is the good stuff. All will be ok.