Friday, January 15, 2010

When You're Not the Perfect Woman

I joined a fan page for a popular Christian women's magazine and was looking around. My heart went out to a lady named Angela who was talking about removing herself from the group and the magazine and all because she felt like she just wasn't living up to the "perfect woman" ideal set forth in this magazine. She was finding herself more hindered than helped by the things she was reading. An example was that the creator of the magazine had said something about that you (the perfect mom, I guess) would NEVER feed your kids boxed breakfast cereal! And Angela said, basically, "But I DO feed my kids that! And now I have to feel bad about it!"

I felt so bad for this lady. I know how that feels myself. So I'm writing this.

As I write it, my bedroom is in absolute chaos. My kids are watching TV. They had Cocoa Puffs for breakfast and drank Kool-Aid with their sandwiches for lunch.

Guess what? That's OK.

I order my homeschool curriculum already planned out and selected by age from Sonlight. I don't do my own lesson plans - I used to, but as I added more kids - and upper grades - I realized it was too much for me. I know plenty of women who DO make their own lesson plans. More power to them! But I don't.

I love to cook, but I'm always up for take-out. We always eat together as a family, but once or twice a week it might very well be in front of the TV instead of at the dining room table.

I also love to make things from scratch, but sometimes that pre-packaged cake mix is just easier.

I hate cleaning. HATE IT. I only do it because I have to. I do it because, first of all, if I didn't it would be a health hazard. Second, because I'd hate DHS to take my kids away because my house was messy. Third, because, yes, it helps peace and harmony in the home when you can find a clear path across the room and a place to sit that isn't piled with laundry or toys.

My kids are not perfect. They drive me crazy sometimes. Sometimes I am lazy in my parenting and don't maintain consistency in discipline.

Sometimes I even stay in my pajamas til noon!

Sometimes I don't do laundry for days, and I hate sweeping and mopping.

I've gone back and forth in extremes concerning housekeeping, from I-don't-care-if-it-ever-gets-clean to super-psychotic-OCD-everything-must-be-spotless.

But the truth is, that I am who I am. Now, yes, I can ask God to help me improve myself in some areas. But I (and we, all women) should only feel the need to do that if GOD places the desire in my heart.

I like my house to be nice and inviting when people come over. This means the living room and other "main rooms" of the house are usually clean (ok...clean-ish). My bedroom, on the other hand, is hardly every clean because everything that can't find a place in the rest of the house ends up there.

There are those who would tell me that I should be ashamed of that, that my bedroom should be a clean, calm, relaxing place, a sanctuary for me and my husband. Guess what. It still is. When we crawl into bed together at night, the only thing we notice is each other. Whatever may be piled up in the floor is insignificant. We love being together, no matter how much laundry needs to be put away.

I garden. But I do it because I like to, not because I'm supposed to. I have always had a love of growing things, and find great satisfaction in watching my flowers sprout and grow. However...I'll never claim to have a weed-free garden, and sometimes I do forget to water the flowers for a week (or two) at a time.

I like to wear skirts. I've done the Feelin' Feminine challenge because it's been so long since I wore a skirt and it's nice to remember what it feels like. I am not, however, going to wear one every single day. If I'm going out to dig in the dirt or weed flowerbeds, I'll likely have on pants. If I'm down on my knees scrubbing floors, I'll likely have on old shorts that I don't care if they get ruined.

Sometimes I'll think things that other people won't agree with. If they can show me in the Bible where it specifically says that I should think another way, then I'll consider that. If they can only show me where it says things significant to the topic, but not absolute, I'll consider that, too. But I know that in many things in our world today, absolutes are hard to define, even with the Scriptures as our authority. This is where a personal relationship with Christ comes in. If I'm really doing something I shouldn't, or living in a way that goes against His will, God will convict me of that. Not other people. If I'm living in a way that works for me but not for others, but it is the way God led me to live, led my family to do things, then it isn't for others to say if it's OK for me or not.

I am a Christian woman, wife, and mother. I strive to do seek out and do God's will in all things. In many things, God's will is an absolute for all Christians. In other instances, God's will differs from person to person and family to familiy. Saying all families should have 12 kids and the moms should wear ankle-length skirts and bake homemade bread every day makes about as much sense as saying every family should move to Africa to be missionaries. There's nothing wrong with moving to Africa to be a missionary, and certainly some are called to that. But that doesn't mean the people who aren't called to it are any less in God's will.

There is no such thing as a perfect woman, because humans are not perfect. If we were, we wouldn't need Christ. I love my facebook friends because we share such strong bonds and convictions. But some have callings on their lives that I don't have, and I have callings on mine that they don't. That's OK. God needs us all, and loves us all. He'll lead and direct us into His will for us. Sometimes He'll use other people or magazines or websites for that. That's why I keep all my blogs, to share my life with women of like faith and maybe inspire someone who God is leading in a certain direction. But I'm not perfect, and I know it, and I won't pretend to be. I am not perfect, because I am not God. Neither are you, neither is she, or he, or they.

That's OK. God loves us anyway. It's called grace, and He extends it to us all, whether we make our own Amish bread from scratch or buy it (even the regular old WHITE BREAD! gasp!) from the store....

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