Perfection & Joy

As I sit here, waking up at 5:30...it's so gloriously quiet. Peaceful. The day is on the horizon and it's supposed to snow today. I typically wake early to do my devotions and read my Bible before the chaos of the day has begun, but this morning I felt the Lord tugging & impressing upon my heart to write. 

{my early morning treat...an extra hot cappuccino...with extra foam & fresh berries}

Every parent understands when the house is a little too quiet, you know you're kids are up to something. Doing something they probably shouldn't be doing. It's similar to us, isn't it? We're quiet before God...not in a prayer of quiet adoration kind of way...but a place of silence, possibly even a place of secrecy. We're not too dissimilar to our children, are we?

I don't think that's where I am with the Lord right now, but it's so easy to be. To sleep in rather than wake before dawn to spend time with Him. To be too busy for Him. That's so easy. Am I interested in a close relationship with Him, or am I committed? I want to be committed. I want to grow into the woman I was intended to be.

I want things clean. Streamlined. Simple. And I desire to take joy in all things.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." That's what we learn in James 1. Take joy. In all trials though? Take joy. Take joy.

The expectation of perfection. Maybe even with a Capitol P. Perfection in all I do. A perfectly clean and organized home, and yet perfection in doing art & other projects with the kids. Those are messy. My laundry needs to be done. The sheets need changing. It never ends. The kids bathroom has dried toothpaste all over the sink and counter. Sigh. I can't keep up. Sports, bike riding, legos. Dolls and books strewn throughout the house. Picking up, always picking up. {but take joy}

Ezekiel says, "All I do is clean. You're so mean to me." Child, you have no idea. But I understand because that's exactly what I feel. "Lord, all I do is clean." Why is life so messy? {take joy}

Ben and I always tell Anton & Ezekiel "It's ok to be sad, mad, or angry. But you may not be rude." And how many times a day am I rude? In my quest of perfection, Ben gets the brunt of any bad mood I'm in {because the perfection that I seek is of course, unrealistic}. At times, likely resulting in an tone of voice I'm not proud of. How do I take joy in all things? How do I remember to?

Laith is now awake at my knees, cuddling me. Asking me to sing the Cowboy Song, which I do not know. His breakfast this morning consists of one bowl of pretzels, another bowl of peanut butter. Not his typical 1st meal of the day, but he asked so sweetly that I couldn't resist. Treats. Memories. I'll always remember him getting up before the rest of the kids every day, giving me hugs and kisses and holding his hands out wide saying "I love you lots 'mawm' I love you as much as a monster truck. Cuddle me, mom." And then beginning a long creative, imaginative story that contains bad guys and how he "gets them."

So how do I keep up? How do I do it all? I don't, I suppose. I can't. You can't. But I can try and remember what's important and Laith now cuddling me on my lap telling me to "type more letters" and how calling out the ones he sees appear upon the screen is an example of what IS important.

Taking time for them. Keeping up with them. The house will get done. Someday. I saw a sign in someone's house once that said something like "Sorry about the mess...my kids are making memories." Maybe I need that. Not that I'll ever let go of the desire for a perfectly clean and picked up home. I'll never stop picking up all the toys, doing the never-ending steam of dishes. But this morning, the Lord has given my heart a reminder that I can only be perfect in Him, by reflecting His character. To graciously give and receive love.

John writes in 1 John 3:18-20, "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."

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{Lord, thank you for your promises. And thank you for not giving up on me! Please continue to open my eyes as I see the quest of perfection to be an unrealistic one. Help me to remember what kind of perfection I seek. Empower me & mature me in character rather than an immaculate home or the flawless execution of a task. You care more about my heart & how I form and mold the hearts of my children. 
Please help today as I take on your challenge. Amen.}

{take joy}


Andrea said...

Such a great post Teresa! Just what I needed to hear.

debi said...

Beautifully written.