For the last few days I have been trying to come to grips with some of the frustrating aspects of our present culture. Perfectionism plays on the heart strings of both sides of the pendulum, leaning towards one extreme or the other, but we are called to walking a narrow path right in the middle.
I think it is easy in this information age to forget that we are so much less in control of our circumstances than we tend to believe, especially when blog after blog spouts the absolute BEST path for keeping you and your family safe from everything from famine to diabetes. Add to this the expectation that our homes and our children are “supposed” to be perfect reflections of our hearts, too, and we have a recipe for disaster.
Today when I sat down to write a post, this poem came out instead. I hope it serves as a blessing and reminder for what we are REALLY called to do and be as mothers.
Do you know the perfect mom?
She’s an ideal in my head.
The one who’s always kind
And gives kids kisses in their bed.
She lives a life of constant bliss
Never angry, sad, or scared.
The struggles of the daily life
Blow right through her perfect hair.
Me? I’m not this perfect one.
My life is far from that.
My temper is my nemesis;
It seems to always win at bat.
My clothes are marked with fingerprints,
My hair hangs lifeless and limp.
Some days I’m lucky to get a shower
Or dab some lipgloss on my lips.
Me? I’m a constant repentant,
Regularly asking forgiveness for sin;
Going the way that my flesh said to go
And now starting over again.
It seems I’m only the underdog
In a world of perfect homes.
Where other moms can manage it all,
Even while talking on the phone.
But, wait, my Lord? Did you answer me?
Do you have a solution? A fix?
I’d desperately love to hear your heart
And do better in my brokenness.
What do you mean, “There is no perfect mom”?
I don’t understand you at all.
Clearly, this is not a common belief,
It’s all over my Pinterest wall!
All You want is my very best,
Even if I fall short?
Well, Lord, I’m already giving that…
Giving that and so much more.
Not only do I give my very best,
I expect it in my home as well.
Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?
Make the house a lovely place to dwell?
What do you mean, “Accept things as they are
And stop trying to make them flawless…
Life is full of broken plans,
But that’s where I speak the loudest”?
Father, explain just one more time.
I’m not sure I understand.
I’m not here to make a pretty home
With kids well-behaved, hand-in-hand?
“My daughter, though these are great desires,
They are empty and lacking depth.
The greater ideal is to live in love,
Which means embracing each step of the path.
It’s the daily lesson to ‘live in love’
That really sets the roots deep.
Some days this means a gentle hand,
And others a boundary to keep.
No where in my Holy Book
Do I tell you to keep a perfect home.
My desires for you go well beyond that,
Right to the hearts of stone.
The mess of home doesn’t bother me,
It’s generally a sign of life.
I more desire your heart of love,
For you to choose joy and not strife.
The world defines the perfect mom
As one who transcends all sin.
But, I simply seek an open heart
That keeps coming back to Me.
I know you want to do what’s best,
To follow Me wherever I lead.
This is why I take you to the valley,
So you may see the you I see.
I see the scales of sin and death,
The broken pieces of your soul.
The damages done by a life long lived
In a world where darkness rules.
But, child, My eyes do not stop there,
I see through the cracks and breaks.
I can see who I made you to be,
My pure child without mistakes.
So, daughter, follow me in the valley,
Don’t try to fight all the mess.
I want to teach you to breathe in peace
Even when life is chaotic at best.
Know that my plans are not for you
To create some little perfect life,
But to live with joy because of my presence
In the face of dark trials and strife.
I do not expect the ‘perfect mom’
That you see inside your head.
What I seek is a heart after me,
‘Perfectly imperfect’ instead.
So, you can let yourself off the hook,
For that matter your whole household, too.
Is not My heart for you.
This is why I sent My Son,
To release you from that lie.
Now you can be free to obey my commands
And live your life by my side.
Don’t allow the Enemy
To plant those seeds of doubt.
Just focus on what my Word says,
And kick all those other thoughts out.
There is no perfect household,
No one way to raise a child.
Just keep listening to my voice,
And I will lead you all the while.”
My Lord, I am too speechless,
I don’t know what to say.
These words You speak change everything,
They release me to enjoy the day.
Help me to remember this truth of Yours
And shoo expectations away.
Help me to focus on living in love,
Seeking to please You alone every day.
And, when I fall short, to do as I’ve done,
To repent and start anew,
Not because of guilt or hopelessness,
But because there is healing in You.
Thank you for loving me as I am,
Teach me to do the same;
Accepting life as it always was,
‘Perfectly imperfect’ again.