embracing imperfection, part 4 (erasing or embracing?)

We arrived home recently from a week-long visit with family in the Carolinas. While away, my girls came down with (yet another) illness – meaning that they have now been sick for the better part of 8 weeks. !! This mama is going crazy. Sick kids=cranky kids. Sick kids=I don’t go to church (married to a pastor, we can’t trade off Sundays for obvious reasons). Sick kids=disrupted routine and changed plans. I had planned to take the girls with me to go visit a dear friend from childhood who will be moving overseas in a few months. But since she’s also pregnant with her fourth child, we had to reschedule because she does not need these germs at such a vulnerable time.

Lots of imperfection for me to embrace in a season of sick kids, isn’t there? And so, naturally, I am leaning into what God has ordained for us in this season, counting my gifts, and growing in thankfulness for the days when no one is ill. I wish! Instead, part of embracing imperfection is realizing anew the ways I try to ERASE imperfection rather than EMBRACE it. I obviously can’t do much to make my kids well, but you better believe I can clean my house till it shines. I realized my misdirected energies as I thrilled at using a long-handled 360 duster yesterday for getting the cobwebs out of high ceilings. And as I manically cleared the clutter off its favorite gathering place on our kitchen counter. And when I bought yet another by-the-back-door key hook/cabinet organizer from Target. [sidebar: isn’t it ironic that while I can’t go to church with sick kids, I can still go to Target? As long as my kiddos are confined to their red cart, I don’t worry about spreading their infectious coughing.] Then let’s talk about the way I’m trying to erase imperfection through eating yummy things, like chocolate and ice cream and salty snacks.

Today, what would it look like to embrace imperfection? Maybe for me it means less cleaning/organizing/escaping into news and chocolate and smartphone apps and more on-the-floor play time with my daughters. It means confessing my complaint to God in my heart and asking him for more grace. And then moving out in faith that grace is there and saying no to the manic cleaning and yes to loving my children through offering my undivided presence. And yes to restorative activities for my soul during naptime instead of busy task-completion. And yes to a God who loves me in the midst of my imperfection and does not try to erase it, but in his embracing of my imperfect, communicates to me volumes of his perfect love.



embracing imperfection, part 2

In beginning to write about imperfection – about *embracing* it no doubt – I realize that I am going to need LOTS of practice in this arena. And so this is going to be the beginning of a semi-regular series where I open up with you about my imperfect life, in hopes that you will be inspired to courageously do the same in your life, where you live, with your people.


Last week brought ample opportunities to embrace imperfect. Could we start with the diagnosis of pneumonia of one of my daughters the same day I was hosting a baby shower for a dear friend that evening? To embrace imperfect last Tuesday meant saying “yes” to the offers of help. And so Jennifer brought over the fishing line I needed to hang the paper lanterns; Laura contributed a gorgeous hand-designed floral arrangement; Emily brought pimiento cheese sandwiches, and Liz came over early with Kelly to set up what we needed; and (thankfully) the Disney Movie Club orders arrived in the middle of the day. [Note: they are not paying me to promote them, but could I just tell you that this might be the best $12.95 you’ll ever spend while you have preschool kids who will be sick and the only way they’ll rest will be in front of the television?] And my husband took another one for the team by entertaining said sick children upstairs while the shower took place downstairs. Thank you, Seth. Once again.

Then in response to my desperate FB plea for prayer a few days later, Jenny showed up on my doorstep with a latte on Thursday morning and Bridget sent over a bag of goodies and Lynn dropped off homemade bread. My in-laws mailed “good-well” packages for the girls and sent a floral arrangement to me. And I don’t say this to say – look how deserving I am – but to say, wow! What a lovely “village” we are in! And it *does* take a village. But you don’t know that you need your village until you know how needy and imperfect you are and you’re willing to publicly embrace it. 

And now here I sit about a week later, and we had another doctor’s visit this morning for the other twin sister. She doesn’t have pneumonia, but couldn’t breathe well enough for the doctor to even be able to listen for the tell-tale “crackles” and so had to do a 10-minute in-office nebulizer treatment. We walked out with A. cleared of pneumonia and L. with preventative antibiotics as well as a renewed prescription for an inhaler. Oh my. Mommy fail perhaps? How did I not know my daughter wasn’t able to breathe well?!

My living room is littered with the typical kid clutter of scissors, small pieces of paper, stray Cheerios, a few raisins, half-full sippy cups, and four dying plants. [Plants come to our house to die, as a friend put it so well!] The kitchen around the corner is piled high with dirty dishes, and I’m just not sure I can/will deal with them tonight. The type-A part of me is rebelling, but I’m shutting it down.

My husband the pastor is at another evening meeting, and I faced bedtime alone [not as bad as it could have been] – and now instead of reading one of the books calling to me on my nightstand, I think I’m just going to unplug and watch “Parenthood” while sipping some wine. Before you judge me, come walk a week in my shoes. And I’ll try to do the same for you.

Where’s your imperfect today? This week? How can you boldly step out to embrace it – to admit its existence – to tell someone, anyone, that you can’t do it all and you’re tired of trying? Let’s help one another out … it’s a lovely village we live in … and there are friends just dying to know how to help.