|this is an older pic but I really love it - it's so life right now|
Yesterday I started reading Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman and it has found me exactly where I am. I have been having those "did you read my journal?!" moments as I'm reading (the same thing happened when I read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and I love it) because she is coming from pretty much the same place as I am with with struggles so similar to my own.
Here is the biggest struggle of all for me - the "shoulds" of life. I think I "should" be a certain way - I "ought" to be just so. A good wife, an outstanding mother, a good Christian raised in a committed Christian home, a photography teacher... the "shoulds" of life pile up and I drown in them. I "should" have amazing photos of my kids on the walls. My family and home "ought" to look like a magazine, or at least like the cute blogs I read. I "should" never go to bed without a clean kitchen, I "ought" to be able to have my laundry always folded and put away - I was taught so well, this shouldn't be a struggle for me.
That is not my reality.
|my bedroom this morning|
I really want you to like & respect me. I want you to want to be my friend, I want you to call me for advice, look up to me as a leader, want to be more like me. So I am really calm and quiet when I'm in public, even if I sometimes yell at home. I only photograph my home when it's clean because that is the "me" that I want you to know. The me I "ought" to be. She is so awesome - so put together, so calm and collected, always. She is so selfless and self-controlled. She is so organized and neat. I desperately wish I was her. But if I can't pull it off maybe I can do the next best thing - make everyone think I'm her - even if really, I'm not.
I'm a mess.
I have a pimple on my back. I have three baskets of laundry that we have been adding to and subtracting from all week. I get overwhelmed by the monotony of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, diaper changes, matchbox cars, balls and books that need to be picked up for the millionth time. I resent the ten minutes of quiet that The Hubs gets on his drive home from work. I am sometimes more focused on getting my kids to bed so I can watch my favorite show on TV than I am concerned about cherishing these fleeting years of having my babies in my arms and under my roof. My kids don't always listen and are sometimes downright mean. Sometimes I am mean right back. I am indecisive. I am scatterbrained. I am petty and impatient. I am terrified of being disappointed and petrified of being a disappointment to others. I can be overly critical, especially of other Chrisitians, and especially of Chrisitan leaders. I eat ice cream before bed at night. I really struggle with the whole Quiet Time thing.
|my laundry baskets|
Sometimes I have unreasonable expectations, especially of my oldest child and most especially of my husband. Sometimes I expect my kids to be perfect, and let them know when they have been less-than. I care more about how our family is perceived than the reality behind the perception. I often become so consumed by how hard I am trying to make you like me that I forget to be concerned about you. And while I am trying so hard to appear perfect I come off as aloof and disingenuous.
When I only show my good side I perpetuate the lie of the "should" and the "ought". I am not very good at this, though I'm a tiny bit better than I used to be. I want the women in my life, my friends in real life and online to know that the struggles we face are common struggles. The things you battle with, I battle with too - and loose just as much (if not more) than I win.
|my dining area and front foyer|
Guilt is not a great motivator and the gut-wrenching pain I feel from not living up to my own impossible expectations hinders me from being the woman that I am. It especially hinders God's grace flowing through me.
|my living room |
Josiah playing Lego Batman, Eli is only in a diaper
Life is messy and really really hard. I'm not the perfect woman that I want to be, but when we meet in the less-than and struggle of reality there is room for intimacy and a lot of grace.