"If she is crabby, make sure she has had something to eat or send her to bed." This is the advice my mother gave my husband shortly before our wedding day. I cannot deny it. At the hour when many children are being kissed into a world of sweet dreams, my friends laugh, "It is past Tristi's bedtime."
They are jokes and I smile. Yet the truth is a reminder of my imperfection. Coming off of a weekend where life was lived and solitude was absent, I am left disturbed. Emotions that lead to actions I am seemingly unable to control remind me of my failures. It's downright maddening.
We paid a babysitter in hopes of an evening of cherishable memories. My husband kindly takes the blame I place on him. Deep inside, however, I know there is a plank protruding from my eye as I pick at the specks in his. The ticket stubs from last night's musical stare at me from the counter as a reminder of the messiness of life; of marriage; of me. It always comes back to me. Today is no different.
I wake up earlier than I really want. The irritating reminder that I am no longer a morning person. Once those early hours were my solitude. No more. Today, with yesterday and tomorrow, I must waken my children from their slumber. It will not be welcomed. If only they understood how very much I wanted to let them awake restfully on their own!
The morning routine begins with breakfast orders and complaints of sore throats and coughs that need assessing. All the while, the clock reminds me that were are on a schedule. I will wait to fuel my body until the oldest girls are on their route to an education I on-again; off-again question if we are doing correctly. My youngest cries that she forgot to put her sausage up, out of reach of the dog. She knows the certain outcome and I cannot assure her of a possibility otherwise. When I finally prepare to eat, part of my healthy choice falls to the floor. This morning has brought nothing different.
I fight off the annoyances of sharing my life with another. It should be a blessing. Instead, the gratitude I expressed yesterday for my husband's assistance in putting away the dishes is now a distraction of all that is good. Once again, he didn't do it "right". Will I ever be able to overlook what I perceive to be his disregard my desires and see the obvious diamond in the rough?
My days are imperfect. Sharing my life with another human being reminds me of that daily. Adding three more has only magnified my need for change. I am selfish. I am flawed. I am imperfect.
I need grace. This world does not offer it to me. As I do my best to keep up with the rat race, reminders hit me from every direction that I simply do not measure up. I must quit the comparison game. Winning is an impossibility when I "compare my insides with the outsides of others".
Today I will be intentional. I will seek solitude. The quiet I so desperately need will be protected. My focus will turn to the one place grace is always offered. "Be still and KNOW that I am God." It is here: in His presence, pouring over His words of Grace... this is where I will find peace with my imperfection. Not because my selfishness and flaws are to be overlooked. Instead, because He covered them many years ago on Calvary.
Solitude. Grace. Peace. Gratitude. They are mine if I intentionally seek them. I will be hard pressed to find them in this world. For the moment, I must pull away until I remember to lay my imperfections at His feet and quit attempting to do it all on my own. God is good. I must keep my eyes on Him.
"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
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