I was chatting with some moms the other day listening to their stories about the challenges they were having with their husbands and kids, when all of a sudden the thought struck me – I HAVE THE PERFECT FAMILY! Now you may be thinking, “she is awfully bold in making such a statement,” but hear me out on this one – If you came to my home and passed by my daughters cluttered room, saw the dirty dishes in the sink and heard the 4 year old pitching a fit from the back room you might wonder about my idea of perfect. After all isn’t perfect without flaw, faultless? Not in my house it isn’t, perfect around here is the process and the people God is using to help us to look, act and think more like He does. Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The perfect will of God, well my family is the perfect will of God for me and my life.
For example – when one of my daughters was two there was something in my heart that began to react in anger to the circumstances and situations around me and I could see the reflection of this anger in her heart as well. I finally came to the conclusion that I could not penetrate her heart without first dealing with my own. God used this most amazing two-year-old to help me confront my anger, deal with it, leave it at the feet of Jesus and learn to walk in healing and forgiveness. It took time, prayer, petition and great humility for me to realize that the problem was in me – I was the one with an anger issue and she was my little mirror. Walking out the next 4 years was challenging and humbling but by the time she had turned 6 both our lives were free from the stronghold of anger and a grace and delight encompassed our relationship with each other. I tell people, “Of all the people I know she gives me more grace than others because we both had to learn to receive God’s grace to overcome the anger in our hearts.”
When my daughters approached adolescence the fear that their lives would look like mine during those formative years began to grip my heart. My parents divorced when I turned 12 and I remember the loneliness, the emptiness, the feeling of having no place where I belonged and the road those feelings led to when I left for college. I was fearful their lives would be a reflection of my wrong choices and I wanted so desperately to keep them from the heartache and grief I had experienced. As we began to walk the road to adulthood God gave me a new picture of His plan for their lives and the sense of well-being that each of them would gain their confidence from their identity in Him and that it would shape the person they were becoming. God took my broken years and past and through prayer and hard work he made something new and wonderful for my daughters – it became clear to me that not only was he giving them a future and a hope he was also giving me a new future and a hope in my own life as well.
Now the men in my life, they don’t think like me, act like me or smell like me and because of that they are constantly challenging me to get out of my box and live life to the fullest. My husband is the perfect man for me – God knew I would need a man to pray for me to be seasoned in the Lord, a man who would not try to fix me but would allow God to do the fixing and a man who never let a day be boring – no we are on the ride of our life a daily walk in trusting the One who brought us together.
One of my sons has taught me to laugh at myself, helping me to get over myself and to let joy enter my heart and life. He is a quality time child and to sit and play with him brings him great delight, I am an acts of service kind of girl and so learning to speak his love language has made me die to myself and many of my “idealistic” expectations about priorities and the stack of dirty dishes in the sink – you see perfect to me means the dishes would never be there, but love to him says “forget the dishes for a minute and let’s play a game”. I have to set aside my list of to dos and love him today while I still have today with him.
Another son helps me to stop and smell the roses; his laid back personality reminds me that all of life is not a race and that sometimes taking a few extra minutes to enjoy the journey is as important as getting to my destination. My third son challenges me in every way – he wants to be big and then suddenly he wants to be little (big if his older siblings are getting to do something without him, little if he has to unload the dishwasher by himself) But don’t I do the same thing with God, “God today I am big and I can conquer the world, oh but that hurt so now I am little and need You to come help me pick up the mess I just made.”
Like I said, I have the perfect family, a perfect mess and perfect for me. Perfectly able to be used by God to shape me into becoming the person he wants for me to be – perfectly able to help me die to myself and learn to love outside my abilities and let Him love through me, and you know what? I am the perfect wife for my husband and the perfect mom for each of my kids as well, the one He called to instill into them some of my strengths, to help them with recognizing our weaknesses and letting Him be strong in us and the perfect wife & mom to love, pray and walk with them on this journey called Life. I bet you have the perfect family and you are the perfect one for them as well.