To be honest, I don't know where to begin. And I believe the process of return will involve a lot of unpacking before I re-establish the old schedule. I have soo much to share and so much to sort. For now, I will start with what has been heaviest in my heart:
I'm an idealist. An optimistic realist... if the two can coexist. I know what is but in the worst of times, I choose to hope for what can be. Not a bad perspective, comparatively. However, when too much of a stark reality invades my world, the optimism fades, the facade falls, and at the bottom of a heap of rubble I struggle with how to sort out all the pieces.
I look around at the blogs, the Pinterest accounts, and the Instagram pages. I see happy faces, perfect families and well-running homeschools. Life was shaking to the core for me last year and I felt woefully under-dressed, ill-prepared and, at times, like a hypocrite. How could I write about how to do things well and right when my life wasn't just 'imperfect', but rather, falling into a complete wreck?
I studied my Bible with my whole heart. I prayed, fervently. But I couldn't hold onto Truth and all my prayers seemed absolutely ignored. In the midst of this struggle I flew back east to help my step-dad as he underwent the process of cancer diagnoses and treatment, mortality staring us both in the face. I returned home, heart breaking, to domestic struggles and compounded feelings of inadequacies.
By summer's end the spiritual battle was so real, I lost strength. I couldn't' breathe, I couldn't' form the words to the things I knew God wanted me to say because I felt like too much of a failure to say them. I begged God to let me give up. So, finally, I felt the release. I felt God whispering into my heart, "Laying down writing isn't My best for you, but it is what you need for you..." I knew I had an obligation to Him if I were to take sabbatical; to quiet my heart, to not truly give up, but instead... to dig.
So I dug. I sorted rubble. The first few months were hard and resentful. But as the autumn wore on, God's healing messages for me began to filter in. Today's message, imperfection, was one.
After the holidays God practically dropped a wonderful book in my lap:
|"In_Security" by Anna Light|
This was a real game-changer for me. God, through Anna, opened my eyes to see that my battle with the idea of "perfection" and feeling imperfect really boiled down to insecurity. I couldn't' move forward while the strings of insecurity held me back. So, with God's help and guidance, I began snipping those strings one-by-one.
As far as imperfection.... well, we all show the 'perfect' things in life because, for one, those are the most exciting and encouraging things. Seeing "perfect" in others can give us hope for ourselves. When I looked closer at some of these "perfect" people I realized they shared some of the imperfect too. I just didn't want to see it or believe it before. But truth is:
- every family fights
- no matter how faith-filled a family, kids sometimes wander
- husbands and wives don't always see eye-to-eye
- all homeschools have their bad days
- all of life has rough times
- everyone goes through periods of feeling as though prayers filter into a void
Paul went through a lot. He wrote to others who went through a lot! One of my favorite passages from his letters is:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Perfection is a process not attained until the hereafter. Everyone is going through the muck of imperfection. We don't often talk about it for many reasons. Often, I think, it is because we want to talk about the hope you have of more. Sometimes, most likely, it is also because we are ashamed or embarrassed at the mess of rubble around.
It is OK.
I had to learn it was OK for me. Today I write to tell you, if you are like me, feeling woefully under qualified for life, it is OK. Life isn't a destination, it is a journey and a process. Rubble falls but we keep pushing forward. Paul attests to this too:
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal
for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Do you see that? "Straining" It isn't easy. We push hard. We reach and try and challenge ourselves. We aren't there yet but we'll get there, eventually!
I'm excited to be back and to keep sharing the lessons I've been learning. I pray God will use the trials to grow us all more into His grace.
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