Sunday, December 30, 2012

No More Perfect Moms Challenge

I have a confession to make. 
My name is Tracye and I suffer from "Perfection Infection."
I know that I can't be perfect.  I know that my kids don't need a perfect mom (after all, they can't be perfect they don't want or need perfect!).   My husband definitely doesn't need a perfect wife and he most certainly isn't going to get one. He married me.  My home isn't perfect.  My body is far from perfect. 
Yet, perfection is what I strive for.  I'm infected.  I don't truly want perfection, but perfection is STILL what I strive for.  Who really needs that pressure?  But oh boy----do we moms EVER put that pressure on ourselves and others.
Learning to let go of that is a journey worth taking. 
Have you ever fought and battled with your kids/spouse getting out the door for church?  Sometimes a scenario like this *might* happen in our house on a Sunday morning:
You're already running behind because someone hit snooze too many times.  Someone took too long in the shower and didn't leave sufficient time for the spouse to have a turn.  Child one can't find his shoes.  Child two can't find his Bible.  Child three:  are you planning on wearing that?  The fighting between the kids over something insignificant rises a few thousand MORE decibel levels.  Looking in the mirror, all you can see is that your muffin top is no longer a muffin, it's like a multi-layer cake now!  The "gut-sucker" no longer holds you in. The "girls" are definitely not shaped the way they once were.  The gray hair is no longer hidden.  The husband tells you to quit being so hard on yourself that he truly loves you as you are.  Yet, you just nod and smile while inside you are screaming "yea right, I have eyes and can see!" Then you are finally ready to leave and you walk out of the bedroom/bathroom and see the mess that has been left in the living room and you come unglued.  After all, what if someone comes to the door? Oh yes, that spirit of preparing for worship has gone out the door because Mom is livid....and if Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy!  Once everyone is loaded in the van, someone realizes that oops they forget it was their day to take the dog out.  By the time you arrive at church, you are far beyond stressed, steam is literally rolling from your ears, you've got the "mom" look down to a science, and then.....
The door on the van opens and suddenly there is this magic smile on your face! 
Yep, the infection bit.  By all means, you can't go into church being REAL. You want to feel as put together as all the other moms appear to be! 
But inside.....
It's an ugly war.
Just this morning, I was getting ready for church and I have a GIANT (talking Godzilla size) zit looking back at me in the mirror.  This morning didn't self destruct like the above scenario (which by the way was LAST week!), but the perfection infection was still taking over.  I covered the monstrosity on my face and was quite pleased with how well I hid it.  I even pointed out to my husband that I was thrilled with the fact that it wasn't glaring at me.  Yet, that zit hurt all through church.  It was painfully obvious to me that I might have covered it with makeup....but it was still there. 
I might can cover a stain or hole in my shirt with a strategically placed scarf and pin.  However, the stain/hole is still there.
We ALL wear masks.  Masks that hide the ugly things inside of us, but the things about masks are that they only temporarily hide or disguise.  Things we don't want others to see.  We compare our insides to others outsides.  We think we don't measure up.  We live in fear that others are judging us and we wrongly judge others.  OUCH! 
Author Jill Savage has written an AMAZING book called "No More Perfect Moms" and it is a LIFE-CHANGING book that gets to the heart of the "Perfection Infection".  Early last month I applied to be a part of 100 women across the nation to be part of her book launch team and last week found out I was selected as part of the team.  Because of that, I have been able to read an advanced copy of the book before it releases in February.  As a matter of fact, I've already read it cover to cover twice this week and am anxiously awaiting for my physical copy to arrive so I can start highlighting and writing notes like crazy (some of you that know me well: YES....I've already bought new highlighters, colored pens, and a new notebook!!!  LOL!) Speaking of perfection, I almost talked myself out of applying.  Clicking submit on that application was just about enough to give me a heart attack and I second guessed myself for days after the fact.  In the spirit of being honest, I admit that I was quite grumpy with my kids while I was typing out my responses.  I might have been wanting to speak softly like Michelle Duggar, but my family was getting ANYTHING but that! Talking about being totally imperfect! 
 Hey wait---maybe THAT is something I am perfect at.  Being imperfect.
In the coming weeks, I can't wait to share with you my journey through the book and attempting to get REAL and applying the antidotes to cure this soul draining infection of perfection! 
For now, let me HIGHLY encourage you to:
  • Sign up for Jill's 31 Day Email challenge that is about to start on January 1st. I signed up before I even had the chance to pre-read the book.  Let me just say:  I'm VERY excited!  I know it's going to bring about some incredible changes in my own heart and hope you'll consider joining in! (The book is NOT necessary for this challenge!) 
  • Check out No More Perfect Mom's Website for great resources (many coming soon!)
  • Purchase "No More Perfect Moms"  However, WAIT until the week of February 4-9th!  By doing so, we can hopefully concentrate enough sales to help this make it on the New York Best Seller's List so that it can get in the hands of more moms.  By purchasing during this time period, there will be some great bonus offers to say thank you!
  • Attend Hearts at Home National Conference March 15-16th in Bloomington, IL on the ISU campus.  There is nothing else that encourages my heart anymore than this weekend event!  You will cry, you will laugh, and you will cry from laughing so hard.  Best of all, you will find that you are NOT alone in your struggles and needs of motherhood.  Great for moms of all ages.  Hey wait, did I mention that I had a moment of breakdown to find that some of the workshops were geared for women over 35?  That used to be "old " to me.  Now, I fall into that category.  Can someone explain how that happened?  :) 
The perfect infection almost took another bite out of me tonight.  I feel so much pressure to "write" a perfect post to encourage you to GET this book in your hands.  It isn't because I need to impress.  It isn't because the launch team has come with pressure. As a matter of fact, I feel BEYOND blessed to be part of this group.  My heart has already been significantly touched by reading so much from the other team members.

 It's because I KNOW it's valuable.  I know that it CAN change your role as a mother in a positive direction.  It's because I want you to see my heart through the next several weeks of talking about the journey. 

Because it matters.  Because it REALLY matters. 

Friday, December 28, 2012


I'm FINALLY back.  My break from blogging to reevaluate some priorities, seek some direction, make some changes, and create some "space" for awhile was a great break.  More about some of that to come in the weeks ahead!  Many changes, new directions, and a heart set back on fire! Some great things ahead this year! 

Jumping in with both feet...

For the last several years, we've chosen a focus word for the year.  We display it predominantly so that we see it often.  Specifically, we keep it written on our large dry-erase board that is in our entry way.  We see it when we are coming in and out of the garage.  A reminder during all of our "going outs" and "coming ins".

Some years it has been difficult to decide on  a meaningful word that truly fits what we are wanting for our family.  Last year it was the end of February before I finally made a decision. 

You can read all about that and a recap of the previous years in this post

Quick recap:

2010 Simplify
2011 Purpose
2012 Courageous and a special focus on "Stronger. Together" as a family and marriage theme.

This year I'm way ahead of the game.  The decision was easy. 

We were actually in the middle of worship last week and as we were singing, some of the words rolled all over my heart in a new way.  The Holy Spirit was definitely at work. 

Refiner's Fire (Brian Doerksen) and Jesus at the Center (Hillsong) both brought me into a place of worship that I had been craving for so very long. 

(Refiner's Fire Lyrics)
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold
Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within
(portions of Jesus at the Center)

Jesus be the center of my life
 Jesus be the center of my life
From beginning to the end
It will always be, it's always been You Jesus

Nothing else matters, nothing in this world will do
Jesus You're the center, everything revolves around You
Jesus You
These two songs have CONSTANTLY been on repeat loop in my heart since we began attending a new church several weeks ago (more about that in coming weeks).  When we sang these in worship last Sunday, I immediately felt a stirring that THIS is what I want my year to be.  The word of the year hadn't even crossed my radar yet.  As a matter of fact, the new year has completely jumped up on me.  It's as if so many dates this last year have surprised me even though I've planned for them.  I planned and planned for Christmas and stayed on track, but it honestly still surprised me when it actually arrives, despite the countdown in front of my face. 
Those two words have been in my spirit from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. 
2013:  Choose
So many things in life are about making a choice. Otherwise we let life just happen to us.
  • I CHOOSE to be holy.
  • I CHOOSE to live set apart.
  • I CHOOSE to do your will.
  • I CHOOSE to fix my thoughts on YOU.
  • I CHOOSE to be obedient (hopefully the FIRST time---not after multiple requests---yikes, not been so great about that lately!).
  • I CHOOSE to make choices that put Jesus at the Center.
  • I CHOOSE to let go of the perfection infection (MUCH more about that to come!).
  • I CHOOSE to make my marriage a priority above everything; second only to God.
  • I CHOOSE to be real.  Show vulnerability and weaknesses.
  • I CHOOSE to seek His will and WALK in it, even out of my comfort zone. I CHOOSE to be ready to do that will.
  • I CHOOSE to say no to things that don't line up with His Word, regardless, of how many others are saying yes. (This one has been a BIG one for us!)
  • I CHOOSE to accept Grace when I fail, which I WILL and OFTEN!  However, I will CHOOSE to not use grace as an excuse to do what I want.  I CHOOSE not to cheapen His sacrifice.
  • I CHOOSE to say no to things that pull us away from our financial goals.
  • I CHOOSE to say no to things that cause my priorities to be out of line or wear me too thin.
  • I CHOOSE to work on letting go of anger, bitterness, jealousy, and all of those other ugly emotions that create walls.
  • I CHOOSE to spend time with Him in order to be able to hear His voice more clearly.
  • I CHOOSE to spend time with those that bring me closer to Him. I CHOOSE to surround myself with other women that are "in the trenches" and that provide encouragement AND accountability.
  • I CHOOSE to build up others with words, not tear them down.
  • I CHOOSE to make our home an inviting place to be.
  • I CHOOSE to be the best teacher I can for our children.  Allow Him to fill in any gaps.  Seek assistance in areas that we are struggling. Trust my instincts.  Make goals and work towards them. 
  • I CHOOSE to live in a attitude of TRUE gratitude. 
  • I CHOOSE to live life more fully and abundantly.
  • I CHOOSE laughter. 
  •  I CHOOSE joy.
  • I CHOOSE to forgive: others and myself. 
  • I CHOOSE to focus on my own gifts and talents and avoid being jealous of others.
  • I CHOOSE to accept that His will may not match up with mine and that I will be faithful and trust when it doesn't. 
  • I CHOOSE to teach my children by action AND words (not just words) what it means to believe in and serve Christ.
  • I CHOOSE to control my emotions and not let them control me (LOVING "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst)
  • I CHOOSE to ....
That list can go on indefinitely. These are ones that just flew from the fingertips without much deep introspection.  It's not a check off list that I'm going to get right.  It's one that just keeps my heart focused on Him in all aspects, drawing me closer to Him in the way He has designed.
It's about choosing.  It doesn't just happen.  It won't just happen. 
I'm choosing to make this year different.  I'm choosing to see how much more I can give God of myself.  I'm choosing to see where a life more fully committed to Him will lead.  Less of me, more of Him.  Falling down and getting back up.  Reaching up when answers feel so far away.  Trusting in the most difficult circumstances.  Choosing Him.