Perfection (or Not)

Perfection (or Not)

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Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s books, including the picture book, Grrr…Night! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. If you enjoy Susan’s humor, check out Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude, a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals. Susan lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people. You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com. Sign up for her newsletter which comes out four times a year.
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Proverbs 31 scares me. The Virtuous Woman’s kitchen floor was always perfectly clean, no sticky messes for visitors’ sandals to stick to. She never ran by the bakery fifteen minutes before school for “homemade” cookies because her child forgot to tell her she was homeroom mother that week. And I assure you the Virtuous Woman never said to her husband, “Whoops, I forgot to go to the market. Can you bring a lamb home to roast?” I’d be afraid to let that paragon of virtue into my home. If there’s a checklist for perfection, there are no checks in my boxes. Seriously.

Take cooking. As a newlywed, I’d drag myself out of bed and make a full breakfast for my man. Remember this was over thirty years ago, when wives still did things like that. After a week, he confessed he didn’t like breakfast but ate it so my feelings wouldn’t be hurt. Well, I didn’t need to be told twice. I threw in the spatula and went back to bed. I didn’t make breakfast again until my son came along.

My sewing skills didn’t earn any medals either. Again, hark back to the olden days when schools still taught Home Ec. Knowing how to sew was a top priority for women. However, even my supportive, loving mother couldn’t figure out how to wear the apron I created.

And then there’s cleaning. If God is in the “big upstairs” wearing a white glove, ready to sweep it across the top of my shelves, I might as well give up now.

Fortunately, the lady in Proverbs isn’t a real woman. She’s a combination of virtues for which to strive. And that’s good news for people like me, who find “adequate” a sometimes daunting task. Even though I know God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, there are still nights I snuggle under the covers waiting for sleeping bliss, but instead my mind says, “Let me remind you how you screwed up today.”

It doesn’t help that it seems like everyone but me has their act together.

Is there some domestic secret? Why does everyone else seem to breeze through being a wife and mother, while I barely manage to limp along?

I remember one Sunday morning, between class and worship service, I caught up with a friend and fellow mother of a two-year-old.

She taught as a college professor.

Her house always looked perfect.

All the treats at her son’s birthday party were hand-crafted.

Maybe, just maybe, she could give me some tips on being perfect. Or at least help me achieve average a little more often.

“Sometimes, it just gets overwhelming,” I ventured to say as my son wiggled in my arms.

She laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. This morning my husband had to grab a pair of socks out of the dirty clothes.”

I managed to shut my mouth so it didn’t look like I was angling for someone to drop a worm in it. “The dirty clothes?”

“Yes. That’s just the way it goes some mornings, isn’t it?”

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She helped me that day. Her secret wasn’t perfection. It was confidence in the fact that she didn’t have to be perfect.

So what if the cake isn’t homemade? It’s bought with love.

So what if I read a bedtime story instead of cleaning? I’ll just tell everyone the dust bunnies are pets.

So what if I’m sometimes slow at getting the laundry done? If it doesn’t smell, no one knows the difference.

No one is perfect. We tend to cut everyone else some slack while holding ourselves up to impossible standards we can never meet. So, my challenge for myself is to start treating myself like I’m my best friend. When I look in the mirror every morning, I give my best friend a compliment. When I screw up, I cut my best friend some slack.

God loves me imperfections and all.

As for the Virtuous Woman, although there are days I like to imagine her cowering beside the washer, eating chocolate and hiding from her kids, I still strive to emulate her. I’ve just learned to give myself a break when I fail.

I am a woman formed by God’s hands, shaped by His love, and saved by His sacrifice.

And that’s perfect enough for me!

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The God Greater than Our Hearts

The God Greater than Our Hearts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

When you’re in a dark place and it’s hard to find your way out, what do you do? You feel lost and alone, unnoticed and under the radar. You are shuffled and jostled about, people walking past you, even talking to you, but not really seeing you. Not really knowing you.

Are you there? Are you in that dark place?

Your best friend may not see your inner heart. Your preacher may not. Even your mom or your husband or your kids may not. You might be drowning and no one sends out the lifeboat.

But there is Someone who does.

He sees the struggles and the tears. He sees the heartache and the loneliness. You can’t fool him–he knows exactly how wonderful you are and how awful you can be too.

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But those voices whisper in your heart.

Why would He care about me?

He can’t really love me that much. After all, he knows exactly what I have done!

Why bother? I know I can’t do it.

Friend, let me whisper to your heart as well.

Psalm 9:10 says,

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Consider Romans 8:32, which says,

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

When you’re feeling low and in that dark place, read these verses from 1 John 3:

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

It’s true. We don’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness. That’s the true meaning of grace: we get what we don’t deserve. He give us forgiveness and not punishment. We get a second chance and not death. We get salvation and not condemnation.

But God is amazing like that. He is greater than us, loves us more than we could possibly imagine, and gave up his son–before I even committed to serving Him.

That thought should humble me, motivate me, and comfort me, all at the same time. It is the lifeline you can cling to when you’re in that dark place. And it can be what helps pull you back into the light.

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8 Reasons Not to Stress Over Dirty Dishes

8 Reasons Not to Stress Over Dirty Dishes

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
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There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heavenEcclesiastes 3_127

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

I know very few people who enjoy chores. It’s not often I hear someone say, “Cleaning toilets relaxes me,” or “I spend my ‘me time’ mopping the floors”! Every now and then I meet people who actually enjoy chores, and I admit for a short season in my life I didn’t mind them, but that season is long over! I’ve tried making chore charts time and time again. I try to hold myself accountable but I stick with them for about a week and then fall behind!

I constantly felt guilty about this until one day I realized that what kept me from my chores was usually more important than a spic-and-span home! Scripture tells us that there is a time and season for every activity under heaven. For me, the time for a clean home does not come as often as the times for other things!

So this is for all the women, wives and mommas out there who are feeling guilty for their less-than-spotless home! It’s OK!!! I give you permission to forgive yourself and be at peace.

 

8 REASONS NOT TO STRESS OVER DIRTY DISHES
1. You are having quiet time with the Lord.

Be it thoughtful meditation, time in your prayer journal, reading inspirational articles, or a full on bible story–this is more important. 

 

2. You are playing with your children.

Oh, the time to play with our kids is short. Don’t feel guilty about one single chore undone when you are playing with your kids. This is more important. 

 

3. You are serving others. 

Have you ever had someone drop everything they were doing to come and help you? It a beautiful way to show Christ’s love. Who cares if the breakfast skillet has to wait until the next day? This is more important.

 

4. You are going to church or a church activity. 

Hmm…chores or worshiping God?? If you need help with this one I encourage you to look up the story of Mary and Martha. Church gatherings are a wonderful blessing. This is more important. 

 

5. You are earning money for your family. 

I grew up with a hard-working mom and I know how difficult it can be to juggle work among all the other aspects of life. You are providing for your family–don’t feel guilty if the laundry is piling up. This is more important. 

 

6. You are staying home to take care of or homeschool your kids. 

This sort of goes with #2. Some might think that because you stay home all day it would be easy to keep a clean home. They are very wrong. Cleaning your home with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It just doesn’t happen very easily. Not to worry though, you are doing important work. This is more important. 

 

7. You are having time with family or friends. 

When I’m ninety years old, I want my mind to be full of memories spent with the people I love. I honestly don’t think I’ll care if my house was kept perfectly. So chores can wait–go and make happy memories! This is more important. 

 

8. You are having personal time. 

Everyone needs time to decompress. If mopping the floor and doing the dishes relaxes you then go for it! But for the rest of us: don’t feel guilty for taking a moment to read, check Facebook, exercise, or hop in a long bubble bath. You will feel happier doing your chores if you are also making time for yourself. Now, I know it’s easier to relax in a clean house. So try to keep one area clear of clutter where you go to escape and the other chores can wait. This is more important! 

I constantly felt guilty until one day I realized that what kept me from my chores was usually more important than a spick and span home!

I know this isn’t for everyone, however, if you feel yourself stressed over chores I hope you will go over this list and find room for grace. I’ve found that it helps me to prioritize the chores that are most important to me. Focus on those and save the other stuff until it’s noticeably needed or company is coming. I spend my days caring for my toddler, finding time with Jesus, having fun with my husband, and serving my church family. I don’t mind if there are crumbs on my floor or if the dishes have piled up because I am living a happy and full life. There is a time for everything, my friends!

What are your favorite ways to spend your time? 

8 Reasons to Not Stress Over Dirty Dishes

 

 

Confessions of an Imperfect Homemaker

Confessions of an Imperfect Homemaker

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Tonight I mopped our kitchen floor.

I know, I know. My post is titled “Confessions of an Imperfect Homemaker” and here I am bragging about accomplishing the hardest chore ever. 😉

 

Would it help if I told you that I can’t recall the last time I mopped our floors?

 

I’m definitely an imperfect homemaker.

 

I’ve printed and laminated chore charts, and I’ve read all kinds of blog posts trying to work up the inspiration and motivation to keep better house. It’s just hard!

 

I used to really beat myself up over my lack of pristine cleaning skills, especially after my daughter was born. The words of someone dear to me were a great encouragement.

 

(I’m going to paraphrase here because it was many years ago, and I can’t remember her words exactly.)

 

“Some people are just naturally good at keeping things clean, and others like things clean, but it doesn’t come naturally.”

 

Can you guess which category I fall under? This sweet friend was in the same category so it was extra encouraging to hear it from someone who truly understands.

 

Those words have stayed with me and helped me find grace for myself. Notice I said grace, not excuses. Yes, I still want to work hard to take care of our home. But I’ve come to terms that I might not have the same results as others, and that’s okay.
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The Life-Giving Home

For Christmas I asked my husband for Sally Clarkson’s book The Life-Giving Home. I really had no idea what it was about. I thought it was going to offer me some inspiration for keeping a tidy home and cooking good meals. While Sally does touch on those things a bit, this book was about so much more. In this book co-written with her daughter, they discuss the many ways to cultivate God’s goodness in your home and give life to your family and all who enter your home. Cleaning and cooking have their place, but habits such as listening, deep conversations, and making time for family devotions and celebrations are life-giving as well!

 

As I scurried through this book, completely enthralled, I realized that my value as a wife, mother, and homemaker is not determined by how clean my house is.  God has designed us as women to bring life into our homes in many different ways. Struggling to keep up with chores does not make me a homemaking failure! House cleaning might not be my best quality, but I certainly have other areas where I thrive. There is no perfect homemaker.  As hard as that might be to believe about some of the women in your life, they too have areas in their life that don’t come naturally.

 

This doesn’t mean that we stay where we are. We can definitely strive to form better habits. Sometimes we just have to rise above what’s not natural for us and get the job done.  There is definitely value in having a tidy home, so this post is not to undermine such chores.

However… 

 

If, like me, you find yourself struggling to keep up with the house cleaning, here is my message:

 

We don’t have to feel sorry for ourselves when certain aspects of homemaking don’t come naturally. We should look for the gifts we’ve been given and appreciate the ways we care for our family that come easy to us. Maybe it’s the yummy food we cook, the adventurous spirit we have, the way we are emotionally in tune with the individual needs of our family members, or our love for story time. I’m not sure what your niche is, but Momma, you better believe that you have one! We can go about our lives confidently, knowing that Christ gives us what we need to serve the ones we love with glad and true hearts. While our responsibility to care as a wife, mother, and homemaker is great we can find strength in knowing that we have a heavenly Father who cares for us.

 

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“The Lord himself watches over you! 
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.”
Psalm 121:5

 

Give Yourself Grace

 

So pick yourself up, fellow struggling homemaker! Offer yourself some grace and realize you are exactly what your family needs.You might find that you’re not struggling as badly as you thought. You’ve got this!

 

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

We stood there on opposite sides of the garage staring each other down. Letting the question hang there. Knowing the next few words from his mouth could–no, would–change everything.

In that moment, I doubted why I had asked. He hadn’t given me reason to question him. Yet after conversations with two friends struggling through their own answers to this question, I felt like I had to ask.

I had fasted, and I had prayed.

I thought I was ready for whatever his answer would be.

After all, I loved and respected this man. For better or for worse, I had promised to love this man.

As the words came, I crumbled. I was a mess of a woman on that cold concrete floor. I wasn’t ready for this.

“I mean, if I can’t handle it, I’ll tell you,” he said. Then I knew–he hadn’t been faithful to me.

Some will say, “It’s just with his eyes.” To me it was everything. No one had ever hurt me so deeply. No one had ever betrayed me to that level. I had never let anyone in that close before him. It was out of nowhere. I was lost and broken, gasping for air.

He knew how much I hated pornography. My heart ached for sex-trafficked victims, and he knew that. He knew the broken woman I once was and how close I had been to becoming one of those women myself.

He had hurt me, yes, but he also made me sick.

This man was the father to my children. This man who had studied the Bible with me, who had prayed with me, who had loved me was, all the while, sinning against me and our vows. He had lusted after other women. He had done this in our home, on his phone, and on our television.

I hated him.

Now, I hated all of those things. Looking at them reminded me of his betrayal. He came to me, crumpled on the garage floor.

I cringed at his touch.

We sat there for what felt like forever.

Finally I asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Equipped through God’s Grace

That night, neither of us had any idea what the next two years would look like. By his grace, God equipped me to love my husband through this dark time in our marriage. God’s grace has given him strength to fight the desire of his flesh, seek accountability, and submit himself to boundaries that are at times frustrating.

We have both learned a lot in the past two years. I’ve learned a lot about grace, God, and walking in this gift of marriage.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few of my take-aways from this dark and painful time. I hope these lessons I’ve learned will bless any other woman walking through a similar battlefield.

1) Be in the Word.

When all this happened, I was just finishing Beth Moore’s study on James. I know without a doubt that had I not been deep in the Word of God for weeks leading up to this, my faith would have faltered even more.

I had memorized more scripture than I ever had before. Without it I was lost.

I’m not saying I never doubted God’s plan. I’m not saying I never questioned the purpose of this life we are living together.  I am saying knowing and relying on scripture is one of the few things that helped me get out of bed every morning.

These verses in particular, which I had memorized weeks before, anchored my storm-tossed mind and soul.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

 

James 1:2-4

Most days I did not find this trial to be pure joy, but God’s Word encouraged me to see the joy in the situation.

Another verse, which I often pray I will be able to say before the Lord one day, came back to me over and over.  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 

 

2 Timothy 4:7

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2) God is faithful.

I doubted He was there with me. I doubted where He had been as my husband walked down this road to destruction.

But He was there.

He was there, grieving with us. He was there, prompting my husband to walk away from the computer. On the days, weeks, and months that my husband did not betray me, God was there, giving him strength.

Again, the words of James were aptly timed for just this moment in my life. These words helped me to reconcile our sinful temptations with the Lord who walks with us by His Holy Spirit.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.

 

James 1:13-15

3) This wasn’t about me.

Let me say it again: this isn’t about me!

It hurt me, it broke me, it made me grow. It made me stronger, but in the end, it was about my husband, his experiences, and his personal struggle with sin. 

This was the most difficult lesson. One I still have to be reminded of regularly. This was my opportunity to be gracious, to be an example of mercy to my husband.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

 

James 2:12-13

Mercy triumphs over judgement! That brings me to my next lesson.

4) I can’t do this alone.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to earth and disciple one man. He discipled many, and established a church. We need the church in our brokenness. I’m not saying go out and shout your husband’s sin from the pulpit. I am saying wisely and prayerfully seek out one or two women to encourage you during this season. You will be amazed at the women God brings to you. These women will love you when you hurt and encourage you to be Christ-like when you don’t want to be Christ-like anymore. Women who will pray with you, cry with you, check in on you, and just be with you.

Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

James 5:13, 15-16

5) Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, not my husband. 

I had him on a pedestal. His desire, love, and admiration fueled me. After almost ten years of marriage, I had forgotten that my value and purpose is from the Lord. None of us are perfect–not my husband, and definitely not me.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.

 

James 2:10

My husband can’t save me and I can’t save him. Jesus Christ took care of that almost 2,000 years ago.

There are still days I fight to control the images and thoughts in my mind. There are days I just want to cry in my best friend’s arms, and I hate that the one who comforts me is also the one who hurt me.

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Satan Seeks to Destroy Marriages

Sin is gross. It hurts. Sin is dark.

Sexual sin destroys trust beyond comprehension.

Satan is prowling like a lion seeking to devour each and every one of our marriages. He is seeking to destroy the most intimate and grace-filled institution that represents Christ’s love for us. 

Be on guard. Stay in the Word. Devote yourself to prayer. And…

…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Ephesians 6:13 (emphasis added)

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The Gift of Self-Confidence

The Gift of Self-Confidence

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.

All throughout my life I’ve struggled with self-confidence.  As a young girl I frequently felt out of place. As a teenager I was unsure of myself and my physical appearance, and as a college student I was apprehensive about fitting in.  Fast-forward to my adult life.  Since I’m married and have four beautiful children you’d think that my self-confidence would be firmly in place, wouldn’t you?  I have found, however, that this can be a stumbling block for me still.

Do you ever struggle with self-confidence?

I’m not referring to an uncomfortable moment here or there or even the familiar apprehension of dealing with a difficult situation.  No, I’m talking about the kind where you talk down to yourself, judge yourself by the world’s standards, and deny yourself peace and happiness because of your lack of self-confidence.  That’s where my soul has rested for so many years.  I allow myself to use the world’s standards as a foothold for my negative thoughts.  

Dear friends, it is time for us to stop these thoughts.  David uses the most beautiful words in Psalm 8:3-4 that are like a balm to my soul.

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Prayer to Overcome Negative Self-Talk

It is here that our worth to our almighty Father is apparent.  Even as he formed the moon and the stars, he took great care to create each of us in his image.  Will you pray this prayer with me today? God created us in his likeness; we can reverse our self-doubt and bring about self-confidence through him.

Dear Father, we come to you today and humbly ask you to calm our spirits.  Lord, we ask that you guide our thoughts away from negative self-talk. Guide us into words of beauty that only you can give.  Father, we know that in our flesh we are flawed, but you have made us new again.  Help us recognize these harsh words we tell ourselves, and give us the words to replace them, words that build up instead of tearing down.  We praise you for your wisdom. We ask that you will continue your work in us as we seek our purpose in you.  It’s in your loving and gracious name, Amen.  

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This short devo is one of many included in our Gifts from God ebook! 

This ebook also includes:

  • a place to journal your thoughts and prayers
  • a space for Bible Journaling and
  • Bible verse memory cards

If you have already signed up for our newsletter but have not downloaded a copy of your ebook yet, be sure to check this Sunday’s newsletter.

If you haven’t signed up to get this ebook, you can do it now by filling out the form below.  May you be blessed as you meditate on God’s word.  Create a great day!

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