My facebook feed is full of pictures of smartly attired and excited looking children heading out the door on their first day of school. We aren't planning on starting for another week, and I'm whispering a prayer of gratitude for flexibility and extra time. Time for Mama to hopefully begin feeling better. Time to rest up a bit more. To get things together. Looking around this place this morning, feeling as I do, I wonder if it will happen that way.
The truth is, early pregnancy sees me hanging by a thread. Essentials are upgraded to luxuries. Kids survey empty drawers and ask me what I expect them to dress in. Husband comes home to a wife completely horizontal on the couch, too sick to move, too tired to care. Even as I am writing this, I'm realizing I've written this before...or maybe just lived it. Yes, I have. Several times over. Yet each time is hard. Hard because I want a clean house and folded laundry and to not feel so very very sick. Hard because I want to be able to do more than just make sure everyone is fed and reasonably safe. Just because you do something 6 times doesn't necessarily make it any easier.
It all serves as a reminder to me of where my strength lies - and where to put my hope and my prayers. Also, that perfectionism has no place in a humble life. A life that accepts what is, calls it grace and gives thanks for it. I remember that God meets normal people right where they are...often in the midst of a big mess. I'm practicing (im)perfection, swallowing a giant dose of humility and striving to see the blessings. When I think to look, I see them everywhere:
~For a tiny, fig sized soul, kicking and dancing deep inside.
~For a 3 year old orchestra, spatulas and overturned pots and pans serving as his instruments
~For dinner handled, once again, by a friend who believes that supporting pregnant mamas is part of the calling of a Christian life.
~For a hard working husband, uncomplaining, navigating laundry baskets in his quest for clean clothes before kissing us all lightly and heading off to work.
~For children who are light to me even during my dark days.
~ For family and friends who I know keep me in their prayers.
~ For older kids who are willing to help and encourage me to look beyond the mess and see the beauty of character being built, hearts being expanded, life being welcomed.
~ For grace from people I've neglected, in my moments of selfishness and exhaustion. For love that keeps no record of wrongs and offers forgiveness willingly, without reservation.
Yes, counting down the graces of every day life sends a shard of sunlight straight to my heart and show me that joy is possible, even when perfection is not.
If you came to my house today, you'd see a baby dressed in nothing but a diaper. Mama still in pajama pants. Breakfast dishes everywhere. But maybe you'd also see my oldest son, vacuuming the living room unasked. Or the middle kids, out dancing in the rain, soaked to the skin. Maybe you'd see that little candle flickering just there on the mantle, the one that makes me think of the little life inside me, and reminds me that, no matter the appearance, beautiful things are happening everywhere.
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