I also mentioned yesterday that some of the posts weren't going to be easy to write because they were "deep" or might leave me a bit vulnerable, yet God wasn't going to let me rest until I did it. This post falls somewhere in the middle. It isn't a very difficult one to write in regards to sharing my thoughts, bit it falls in the difficult category because I feel the weight of wanting it to TRULY be what God wants me to say on the subject matter. It just feels heavy because I feel so strongly that the message needs to be read by someone struggling. I've said often that my heart made a switch and *this* became a ministry opportunity for me. Sure, some posts are just for fun or for sake of memories and tradition, but others are so much more!
I've messed up. I'm ready to admit it. I've known it for a LONG time, but I've just in my own power not fixed it. I imagine I'm not the only one facing this issue.
The issue is this: trying to BE and DO all and missing the point. COMPLETELY missing the target.
I've been reading about it from others, especially moms. I've been warned about it in numerous blogs, emails, and devotionals. I've had the conversation with complete strangers that God allowed me to met in various "cyber-world" locations that are like-minded and now much more than strangers. I've talked often about what I call the Mary or Martha complex.
It is a HUGE struggle. My heart is hard-wired to give EVERYTHING. My personality is driven by service. From a young age I was perfection driven because THAT is what gave me the results I needed. Praise. Satisfaction. Attention. Trust me: I didn't want NEGATIVE attention in my home growing up. I didn't want to disappoint. I became the "good" girl from early on. I didn't want to disappoint my family and most especially God. Grace is a hard concept for me to accept. I believe it----but accepting it DEEP in my heart is hard.
Fast forward a few years. Add in a marriage. Add in a few kids. Add in the calling of being a stay at home mother. Add in the even greater task of the calling to home educate. You get the picture.
So, here I am this DRIVEN person that thrives on perfection and I am living in this world with great demands that are anything BUT perfect. I want to be super-mom. Fail. I want to have a spotless house that is organized in EVERY aspect. Fail. I want to live a healthy life that includes exercise, healthy from scratch meals, etc... Fail. I want each day of school to be the vision I have in my head of a perfect day. The kind of day that would earn me teacher of the year in a "normal" school setting. Picture perfect. Fail. I want to be the greatest wife on the planet. Fail. I want to be Martha Stewart (in regards to her crafting skills, not her "other" traits....). Fail. I want to be Betty Crocker. Fail. I want to feed my family everything organic, from scratch and gourmet. I want to meal plan and have a freezer full of food that can be pulled without more than a minute of notice. Mac & Cheese out of box? Yikes. Fail. I want to be a good steward of every penny that comes in to our home. Yet, I'm often guilty of letting the thrill of the hunt of the bargain become my idol. Ouch. Fail. I want my home to rival something out of magazine. Fail. I want my kids to be so well behaved and perfect little creatures that will change the world. Fail! (Have I mentioned that a certain child made it to story time two weeks ago with NO shoes on his feet?) I want to be this amazing woman of God that gets everything right. BIGGEST fail!
I know we all have a set of different skills and we are each blessed with different talents. It's easy to fall in the trap of jealousy. I've fought against that. I'm learning to embrace my own talents and looking less at those of others. Yet there are other times that I look around and all I see is FAIL tattooed across my forehead and heart. *She* makes life look so easy. *She* looks like a million bucks walking down the street with her children (while I look down at my frumpiness!). *She* bakes fresh bread every day. *She* makes homeschooling look so natural and easy. *She* never seems to struggle with saying the right thing. *She* is so graceful and NEVER trips over her own feet. *She* just has it ALL together.
I, Tracye, am not *SHE*. As much as I try, I fail. I just can't get it right.
But here is the truth. I'm not meant to be. Plain and simple.
Here is where the truth has really touched me. Four specific things in the last days have SEALED that in my heart. Though my heart has already been opening to that truth and reality because God has been doing a work in my heart, some specific things have touched me recently.
One: there was a moment while Teresa was here that I was just a bit overwhelmed with her incredible talents. I temporarily wondered why I couldn't do the things she does. Yet, a few minutes later she was in awe of something I had done that she didn't know how to do. It's a balance. It was a reminder of how in the body of Christ we are all given different gifts, but all together we make a whole. We weren't meant to all have EVERY talent and gift. Someone else's strengthens don't minimize mine. They are just different. My strengths don't overshadow those of someone else.
Two: I am driven to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I want that to be my legacy. However, I fail to remember that she didn't do ALL those things in one day. It was how she lived her life as a whole, not her list of accomplishments in one day. This came to life to me one day this week in a powerful way. I wear a bracelet that serves as a reminder of the woman I want to be. I'm HUGE on visual reminders (especially of scripture and of things that I value as important). I was drawn over and over to the bracelet and God spoke to my heart. It was like He kept bringing it into my vision and at first I couldn't understand why. Then like a light switch being flipped, it hit me. The bracelet only contains ONE verse reference. Verse 30. "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised." THAT is the most important verse in my opinion. What matters the most is the condition of my heart and whom I serve. God isn't checking off a list each day to see where I failed and where I succeeded. He is interested in my HEART.
Three: perhaps the greatest wake up call came last week when I read a statement on a facebook page of a homeschool speaker I greatly value. Between what she posted and the comments from other moms, I got the message. I got it well!
"A friend of mine, a homeschool mom, just passed away of cancer. In the week before she died, I asked her if she had any regrets in her life. She told me she wished she had baked less bread - she said if she had it to do over again she would buy bread and spend more time with her children. She had invested time and energy in pursuing the "path" because she thought it was part of the spiritual homeschool package."
Those words rolled all over me. Even if you aren't a homeschool mom, I know you can identify.
Four: Yesterday at church, the *deal* was sealed on my heart. The message truly reached a deep part of me. We were singing "Unfailing Love" and as I found myself lost in the worship, I heard that still small voice whispering to me. The first few times we sang these specific words, my heart was wrapped up in how I feel knowing that God loves me that way. "You have my heart and I am yours forever. You are my strength, God of grace and power. And everything you hold in your hand, you still make time for me, I can't understand." I was bathed in the comfort those words brought my needy heart. God of the entire universe still has time for tiny, insignificant me. However, after a time or two of singing the words had gone by that small voice singing in my heart was that of a child. "Still you make time for me, I can't understand." It hit me. It hit me heard. My actions don't matter if I'm not putting my child first. It doesn't matter how much effort I put into making our house a home if I'm not willing to stop everything I'm doing to TRULY focus on them. Dishes will wait. Dust will return 3 seconds after I chase it away. Those mis-matched socks will multiply again in the morning. A sandwich or a bowl of cereal is REALLY a good enough dinner. The legacy I want to leave my children is that they KNOW I was willing to take TIME for them. I want them to FEEL that love and commitment. They can see that though I have a million things to balance that I still will make time for them. Don't I feel incredible when my husband drops what he is doing or a friend takes time out of her busy schedule to do something for me? I want them to experience that same feeling. I want them to grow up with that feeling of knowing that even though their mom was super busy and did all she good do to keep everything balanced that I put it all aside to make TIME for them. They need that feeling of "I don't know how she did it, but she did!".
That is the failure. That is where I'm willing to admit that I'm not getting it right. I'm too wrapped up in what I think our home, our day, and our lives should look like. I easily get wrapped up in what I think is expected or demanded of me and forget that the condition of my heart is what truly matters. The hearts of my children truly matter. There is not a set formula of what our day needs to look like to be considered successful, but what matters is that at the end of the day that my children go to bed with the confidence that they are loved completely and thoroughly. I shamefully admit: that doesn't always happen. I think they go to bed thinking at times that I was more concerned with whether the house was clean or if I kept up "my" images. Fail. Yet, mercies are so fortunately new every single morning and each day gives me a new chance to make sure they know that they matter more than all the other "things". I also can embrace the grace that I'm not going to get it all right and that God is there helping fill in those gaps and providing me with all the tools I need....my heart just has to be open.