Most days I forget to live in the present. I am distracted by thrown cheerios or smashed banana. I focus on my self-renewing to-do list of laundry, dishes, picking up after the kids, cooking, and showering. Oh how I wish that 3 second shower imagined in the world of the Jetsons was real!
(That would really give me a lot of extra time- especially that machine that dries you off, dresses, you, and does your hair perfectly. Someone invent that for me ok?) My time is divided between morning and afternoon naps, ending in nighttime, filled with “time with kids activities” and “time free from kids activities.” Time with kids that are 1 and 3 years old includes the library, zoo, “playroom time,” and walks. Times when the kids nap include catching up on chores or often nap time for me too! My days are filled with small busy tasks and I often catch myself floating along the surface, forgetting to check myself or examine my emotional reactions to conflicts, and forgetting that God is Emmanuel. With me. With my kids. On a playdate with us.
When I find a stopping point in the middle of all the stuff to do I often turn one of two ways. When I look inward I make a short tally of all the good things I did and ways I was proud of handling my kids, as well as a longer tally of all the ways that I could have mothered the kids better or even been a kinder (lets be honest- less micromanaging) wife. I notice the prick of insecurity when I see the beautifully put together (slim, toned, designer clothes, expensive car, perfect makeup and styled thick long hair) mom of a fellow preschooler. This morning when my 1 year old took his nap I think about his chubby tummy and I notice the extra carbs I ate during breakfast and the extra lump around my tummy and wonder if anyone at the library this morning noticed that my jeans are beginning to get holes where my thighs rub together. I wonder if the shirt I wear shows my lumpy tummy more than a different shirt might, and I think I should have woken up early and at least washed my face. Then I think about my lack of discipline and how I should wake up early and put myself together and have a time of quiet reflection and prayer before the day starts, and then I remember that I declined having someone help me get my kids into the car because the inside floor space was covered at least 2 feet deep with socks and jackets and blankets and crackers and receipts and diapers (clean ones, at least!) and baby carriers and the list goes on and on… then I notice that my highlighted hair is growing out so the roots are dark and that dry shampoo can only help my greasy roots for so long and I finally decide to sit my toddler down in front of a show and finally take a shower.
Then I stop my thoughts. These thoughts that say the ugly truth about who I am when everything stops distracting me from the truth about who I am. From comparing myself to some unreal, imagined ideal that I think I should reach. An idol. Something I worship in place of God.
But the ugly truth is not The Truth.
The Truth is what God thinks about me, who He sees when He looks at me. (and you.)
And, my friend, He sees someone beautiful. With no flaws. At all.
Incredulous, I am almost offended because it seems like God chooses ignorance when He looks at me. Innocence.
He sees no sloppy stay at home mom, no imperfect parent, no impatient wife.
He sees no ugly dirty cloak. Only beautiful and clean.
As I learn more about who Jesus is, what He did on the cross, taking the blame for my faults and failures, I become free. I realize freedom when I realize, distracted during the day, I have dressed myself in the ugly truth.
Fighting against mom-guilt for letting my kid watch TV, I step into the shower. Feeling the luxury of warm water pour over me, I mentally peel off the dingy layers of lies I have been rehearsing and lay them at the feet of the cross.
I make the choice to believe the truth Jesus paid for, the beauty God never stopped seeing in the first place.
The Truth that surpasses how I feel about myself. The Truth that does not shame. The Truth that does not compare. The Truth that celebrates unique strengths and supports unique weaknesses. The Truth that is the love that covers sin.
Friend, you were made to shine. Not hold yourself back because of shortcomings or faults. We are created in the image of God, to reflect His beauty.
Because of Jesus, we DO.
End. Of. Story.
The Truth, for real.
We don’t have to shamefully make disclaimers about how we really aren’t perfect or really don’t deserve it. It isn’t a pretend truth that we have to convince God of, even if we have to remind ourselves about it. We don’t even need to convince others of it, because our worth doesn’t come from ourselves, or from others.
It’s similar to the way that my heart delights in my 3 year old’s dear little profile whether her hair is neatly braided or a fuzzy pouf.
It’s similar to the fondness I feel when my 1 year old toddles towards me, chubby diapered bottom swaying, whether he falls down or makes it to my arms.
Do I want to continue developing discipline in my life? Yes.
Do I want to mature in the relationships in my life? Yes.
Does my performance in these areas define my value as a person? No.
We are fully seen as we are and fully loved as we are. That is the beautiful truth.
At this point I would like to switch gears for a second- I am new at blogging. I am figuring this out. I want to be transparent about my life and my thoughts. Along this line, I have to bring up one thing I notice in so many pieces of writing, blogs, books, or otherwise- there is this often a perfect or complete resolution of a topic or an issue at the end of the post or the story. This is just fine but so often I feel like it doesn’t apply to how my life works. Please do not expect to find this perfect resolution in my writing, because this rarely is the case for any story of my life- usually my issues are like scattered weeds in a garden. The same issue may crop up in multiple areas and even after I pull out the weed (deal with the issue) a new very similar weed seems to pop up again and again even after years of weeding the garden over and over! Frustrating! And not the makings for a beautifully packaged completely resolved piece of writing that so many excellent authors offer.
The point is, the garden of my life constantly needs tending, and my writing will probably reflect that. My hope is that as I recognize and deal with major issues they will begin to resolve and not come back. But- if (and when!) they do return, I will trust that I am not the only person to have a messy unresolved journey. To whoever this resonates with, hopefully you can find some beauty too, and even belonging, as we journey together.
Also, not all my posts will wax this long or be as self-reflective. I plan to throw in a few recipes (sea-salt herb butter, anyone?!) and (what I deem as) fun stories too, so hang in there. I feel like a 12 year old writing- that “awkward as the word awkward is spelled” stage where you are figuring out who and where you are in life but also realize you can be and go whatever and wherever you choose.
Ok. I’m done. For now.