What mother doesn’t need grace every once in a while?
I know I do.
The problem is, despite the fact that grace is free, we rarely embrace it.
It took Emily Ley’s words from her book, Grace not Perfection, to open my eyes to the truth.
It all started Monday morning, MLK holiday.
I woke up the way I always do; my two little alarm clocks. One actually speaks and says “mama, its time to get up, its 8 o’clock.” It was actually, 7:15, but what does that matter to a three year old?
So I get up and go through the usual routine. Diaper changes, coffee, cereal, juice. I sit down for a minute and get a couple of sips of my coffee in before my little Felicity -the three month old- informs me she’s had enough of lying on her blanket on the floor by my chair.
After coffee, time to clean up the kitchen. Wash clothes. Fight with Felicity to go to sleep for her morning nap.
My husband was off scouting the woods with my dad, and I was at home thinking, “what are holidays? I have no clue because I’m a stay-at-home mom. My children don’t get the memo sent out through email that we won’t be coming in to work for MLK.”.
Now, in my defense, It had been nearly two weeks without any “me” time from the kids, other than the hour clogging class I go to Wednesday nights, and the hiatus to the grocery stores to grocery shop. So by this time, I’m dying for a break.
Thankfully, God blessed me with a husband who looks out for me. When he got home, he asked me what I needed?
“I need to get out of here.”, I tell him.
He tells me to go.
So go I did. I dressed and hit the road. I blared the music as I drove through the crazy streets downtown, and eventually ended up at Barnes & Noble – my safe haven-.
If I love anything its books, and bookstores to me are like spa’s to other people. I can go and spend an hour or two just browsing, getting caught up in the covers and pages, the smell and feel of these pieces of adventure in my hands. By the end of it I feel refreshed.
I was getting ready to check out when I came across the book on a table. It was 50% off, and the stunning cover, and beautiful words catch my attention.
Grace not Perfection.
Those words was like water to a man stranded in the desert.
I opened the book and read the introduction. That was it. It didn’t matter that I was about to leave. I took my coffee, books in hand, and hit the tables in front of Starbucks. I sat there and read the first chapter. I got to the first little prompt and pulled out my notebook from my purse and wrote. I read the next section. Wrote again.
I was soaking up words that were life to someone who’d been drowning in a sea of self-loathing, imperfections, failures, and just the overwhelming life of a mother. Even though, I loved my life and my little family, I was still sinking in despair at how many times I failed. Plans gone awry. Expectations that fell flat. Patience nowhere to be found. And the way I reacted to some things? I’m still punching myself in the face for over-reacting so something so small, just because I was frustrated!
I’m not going to go into the book in detail yet. I want to finish it and then give you my end-thoughts once they are complete. However, I will give you the first part, the part that has made me re-define my role as a mother and wife with just the first chapter.
Grace… for yourself.
Something we grant so often to others. I can’t count the times I’ve told my sister, a mother of three children, to give herself a break. She wasn’t required to be perfect. To just chill out. Yet, I held myself to a completely different standard. Crafts needed to be perfect to be successful. Teaching her needed to go a certain way. Meals needed to be done at 6 p.m. The house needed to be cleaned.
By the end of the day, I was depressed. It felt like nothing got done. I felt like my children had been somehow neglected by my trying to get things accomplished, and it didn’t even seem -or feel like- I accomplished them. When bedtime finally came around, I just wanted to shove them in the bed and run away, feeling like a total failure.
But then I read that first chapter, and her words were just cleansing.
I didn’t have to be perfect. If my plans failed, if my expectations fell flat, if I didn’t have dinner done, and the house wasn’t cleaned like I wanted it, it didn’t matter. As long as my children were well cared for, and I’d found joy somehow throughout the day, if I let myself be covered with the Grace of God, the grace he gives so freely; then nothing else mattered that day. Tomorrow was a brand new day, a fresh start waiting to happen.
As I already said, I don’t want to go into detail just yet, even though there are so many things I already long to share with you. I want to have a book review after I complete it, hopefully in the next week or so.
But just know, stay-at-home mom, working mom, wife, woman… you don’t have to have it all together all the time. You don’t have to do it all. Give yourself Grace.
Today, I’m putting so much of her words into action. It’s the first step to a healthier, imperfectly perfect mother and wife.
Please stay tuned for the full book review!
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow me! 🙂
** Side note: this is not sponsored. I bought the book with my own money. The author doesn’t even know I’m writing this, though if she ever reads it… Thank you, Emily Ley!