Today I came across a card I’ve had for years. I love cards, and I collect them. Mostly to give away, but this one I’ve kept because it has a glamorous picture of Grace Kelly on the front, and it was like over six bucks. For years, I’ve always looked at it and thought of how she was such a beautiful woman, and how wise and gracious she always seemed. Every time I’ve looked at the card, I’ve looked at her as though she were older and wiser than myself.
Today I looked at it and realized she wasn’t older anymore.
When I looked at the card, closely, I realized that I am now older than the Grace Kelly on my card. When did that happen?
I’m not in my twenties anymore.
I always thought once I was older, I would actually FEEL older, more confident of the decisions I made, more sure of myself, that I would know how to live my life and not mess up. I would feel the way Grace Kelly looks on the front of this card. Fully put together and wise, never letting an ungracious word come from my mouth. Now, I know that no one is perfect, but this is just what I’ve thought. I really believed that I’d reach an age where I finally didn’t feel like a little kid just trying to learn what I’m doing.
But I haven’t.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and wonder where the parents are in our house. And then I realize that Davin and I are the parents.
I have another card, it’s from Hawaii. I bought it because it reminded me of one of my best friends, mostly because there is a beautiful brown Hawaiian girl and a cute little blond girl on the cover, and whenever Jen and I take photos, I feel like we look like that, beautiful brown and
pale precious blond together.
When I looked into the eyes of the little girls, so sweet and young, hopeful, I realized something else.
We are still young.
We are so much like those little girls on the front of the Hawaiian card. We don’t have all the answers, she and I make mistakes. We try to cook dinners like my kids do in their pretend kitchen, we invent games to make life fun and try and go camping and have baby showers, and we have best friends that we look forward to seeing. We are really just like children trying at life. Especially in the areas of marriage and motherhood.
(Andrew Belle, Sister)
I think often times, Jesus looks less on us like adults who should have their lives together, and more like kids who are just playing at life, trying to learn and grow and explore. I don’t think he throws up his hands in exasperation every time we do something wrong, like when I say the wrong words in a moment of frustration, or choose impatience when I should be stopping to rest in Him. I think he sees that we are still learning and is gracious. I think he loves that we are trying.
I think he loves that we are trying.
And when we don’t get it perfect, I think he still loves us with the same love that he always has and always will.
We don’t love our kids more when they win an award, we love them because we spend our days with them, because they are our children. We are happy to see them succeed, mostly because it’s fun to see your own kid feel successful, but I love my kids because they are there with me in all the little moments of life, the dinners, the swim lessons, the getting ready for bed baths and brushing teeth. We do life together, and just being around them makes them so very, very lovable. I love them just the same at the end of the night whether they have made a million good choices or twenty bad ones. I may be more tired or frustrated, feeling like I may have missed something or be failing them, but I never feel like I don’t love them with all of my heart. And, since Jesus already knows how to do his job perfectly, he doesn’t get frustrated, wondering how he could possibly do it better. Nope. He just continues to love and chase after us with his fierce, unrelenting love. I don’t think he’s he’s worried that he’ll loose us.
I think I beat myself up too much. I give myself a hard time every time I don’t do something perfect. And I imagine Jesus is thinking the same. When really, instead of looking at myself and my mess-ups, I’d do better just to look at Christ, and see his deep love for me reflected in his eyes, in his real life actions towards me. In the sunset he made to say, “I love you and I want you to have beautiful moments” in the surprise part of the day when my son comes running into the kitchen while I’m cleaning up breakfast and says, “Mama, I love you” and then gives me a kiss for no reason. When I find myself with my head against my husband’s chest and his arms wrapped around me tight, thinking, this is how much God loves me, he loves me like this. Or even in the quiet moments when I can hear him say to me, “Peace, be at peace. You don’t need to rush in this life.”
When my toddler brings me a toy kitchen pan with a pretend apple in it and says with all the enthusiasm IN THE WOLRD, “MOMMY!!!! I MAKE YOU A WOOSIE!!!! (smoothie), I don’t think to myself, “shoot, this girl doesn’t know an apple from a frozen beverage!” No, she’s just trying, she’s playing and pretending. It’s not the end of the world.
I think Jesus knows the whole picture. I think he trusted us enough to give us free will, to get it wrong sometimes, but I think he knows that we are going to choose him.
One time I had a dream. It was years and years ago. I was at a point in my twenties where I felt like my life was a waste because I had everything physically that I wanted, but not relationally. I wanted a husband and a family. I had the house, the job, the car, the friends, but not what my heart truly, truly wanted and there was nothing I could see that I could do to make it happen. I was so frustrated at God for not giving me what I thought was so important in that moment.
In my dream, I found myself in a completely white place. It was nothing of this world that I have ever seen, the basic rules of science and gravity on earth did not exist in this place. Every being was under God and his authority. I couldn’t see him, but he was in front of me. I was suspended in the air, and nothing looked familiar. I knew that I knew, there was no way I could lie, or get around what was the ultimate authority in front of me. I wasn’t getting out of anything here. Everyone and everything was in agreement that God was the authority, and I felt very, very small. He then called me into question, “What do you have to say for yourself?”
I thought of my whole life on earth. Everything I’d ever done, good, attempts at good, any of it.
It all amounted to nothing in the place where I was. NUUAAHHH-THING.
It was if I was the defending lawyer in the case of the century, the whole world involved, and I brought kindergarden coloring scribbles. I was like, “Here, this is my evidence.” That would be absurd. It wouldn’t even begin to be close to anything even remotely helpful in my position as a defending lawyer. I’d be laughed at.
That was what ALL of my life amounted to in front of God, kindergarden scribbles.
Then, I could feel someone standing behind me. I recognized him. It was Jesus. I said, “He knows me! He knows me!” That’s all I could say of any value in that place. He was the ONLY reason that I was allowed to continue standing where I was. Because I knew Jesus. I knew him well enough to recognize him standing behind me.
I say all this to remind myself about what truly matters in this whole life of menu planning, diets, exercise, sleep schedules, ironing clothes, sweeping the floor and trying to do everything right according to this world and Pinterest and Facebook and Martha Stewart and Pottery Barn catalogues. And no, my house is not decorated for fall, and that’s okay.
I still don’t even have a coffee table for our upstairs media room, for over two and a half years, we have held our cups and popcorn while watching movies. We have unending projects and sometimes I just don’t want to cook dinner or sweep the floor, and I’m pretty sure I found a spider under the kitchen cabinets who’s been living there for the last four months. My life is so messy, and it doesn’t really, really matter on the big scale of things.
But what really matters?
That I know the One who really matters.
Romans 12:2 The Message (MSG)
Place Your Life Before God
12 1-2 “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
As always, thanks for reading.