When perfection was my goal

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After one heck of a fun book tour we are back to real life (not that real life ever stops, of course). But before I tell you all of the things I loved and learned on book tour (which was actually less of a tour and more like a visit to see family and friends who love to throw parties), I have to share a story with you. On our first night back in CT, the boys did what they always do – they had dinner, they showered, they wrestled and then they picked out the books they wanted to read before bed.

When I entered their room to join them for book reading, I found my youngest son, Owen, on the floor with his Bible and a pen in hand.  As I walked toward him, his beautiful blue eyes met mine and he said, “Mommy, look, I’m signing all my books!”

Image 1Owen went on to explain that he was signing his name in his Bible, just as mommy signed her name in her books on tour.  For real. I almost ate him.

It appears they have book signing on the brain and for good reason. My hubby and boys joined me at most of the signings and it was such a gift to have them by my side listening intently to me talk about how much joy I was stealing from our family in my quest to be a perfect mom raising perfect kids and how the writing of this book chronicles the story of our family’s journey into experiencing and accepting God’s grace.

This means learning to accept that God doesn’t love me more on my good mama days – when I speak with kindness and never lose my temper and look deep into my kid’s eyes every time they need me.  And this means learning to accept that God doesn’t love me less on my bad mama days – when I lose my cool before the kids even get out the door in the morning, and I spend more time staring at my iphone than I spend staring into their eyes, and my words don’t always speak truth in love.

And they listened to me share about how accepting that grace for myself allowed me to become a vessel of that grace for them.

And what’s so great about that is …

When I’m honest about my imperfection it gives my kids permission to also be honest about their imperfection.  My kids are set free from feeling like they have to perform for me, to pretend like they have it all together, to get it right all of the time – in order to have my love or acceptance or approval.

Even better than them knowing they don’t have to perform for me is that they are learning they don’t have to pretend or perform for God. They are learning that God doesn't love them less when they don't listen to a word I say and they call each other "poopie face butt crack" and God doesn't love them more when they obey my every word and build each other up in love.

Rather than hiding behind a mask – an alternate version of ourselves that seems a little more likable or a little more acceptable, we are learning to love and accept one another in light of the love and acceptance that God first gives us in Jesus Christ.

That's the message my boys listened to me share about the book, and that's the message I pray I can share with them on a daily basis - the message of God's unfailing and wholehearted love.

Of course, they were tackling each other and pegging each other with ice throughout most of the parties – but somewhere in there, they heard me confess some of the ways I've failed (and still fail) and how much I need and love my Savior who always meets me in my failure but ……. never, ever leaves me there. They heard me share how God’s grace has truly set me free to enjoy parenting in a way I never did when perfection was my goal.

It was so awesome to meet new friends and reconnect with the old over the last several weeks at the signings. With all of the activities and responsibilities swirling around in mom’s lives at this time of year, I’m humbled when anyone takes the time to join me for a book signing and even better, shares her story with me. I talked to so many amazing women,  so many brave women -  you know who you are and I’m thankful for you - laying bare your own struggles with perfection, your mama guilt, and your fear of ruining your children whom you love with every piece of your being…... and opening your hearts to the grace God wants to pour in.  That’s what I call bravery - admitting your brokenness and allowing the love of Christ to shine through your cracks. 

I’m all in.  Are you?  I say, “Shine on, Jesus. Shine on. In us and through us, shine your grace.”

And if you have time before you go, you can read my latest interview with Neighborlies. One of the many questions I answer is, “Have your children ever looked at you like ‘who is this crazy woman’ and why?”

Check out the fun press the book has gotten over the last couple of weeks and stay posted for more events - I’ll hope you join me, as the awesome women (and men!) below did, to unwrap the gift of God’s perfect love for imperfect moms like you and me.

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