You woke up in the morning at 8 am after a full night of uninterrupted sleep. When you awoke, the house was completely quiet and you were able to sit down at the table and drink a cup of coffee that was magically already made and have a quiet time with the Lord. After this, you went and took a long, QUIET shower with complete privacy, picked clothes out that were fashionable and you were able to spend a good amount of time making yourself look presentable AND attractive.
Then you walked calmly, not tripping on any toys, to your children's rooms and woke them from their full night of slumber. They woke up with smiles on their faces and the first words out of their mouths were, "Mommy, I love you." Your children, without fighting or whining, got themselves dressed and ready for the day and the day proceeded to go on like that. Perfectly.
Ok, so maybe this is how some of you live. If so, what land do you live in, and can I move there? But for the rest of us, most of us, I think this is a fantasy.
In my home, it generally goes like this:
Groggy after getting up multiple times in the night for various wonderful reasons, I roll out of bed at 6:30 and stumble downstairs to a flour covered kitchen where my son has decided to attempt another creation in the kitchen. I reach for a coffee cup and some creamer as my other kids make their presence known by whining about being hungry before I even see their angelic little faces.
Then, after being up for an extended amount of time I realize that perhaps I may need to use the bathroom and am greeted by the smiley face on the toilet seat that showed up about a month ago.
As I walk through my living room back to the kitchen, I glance at my walls that are partially decorated by pictures of when we only had 2 kids with an occasional Lily picture thrown in there for good measure...poor Will isn't even documented on our walls...and my kids pictures hung willy nilly on the walls for more decor.
Then I enter the kitchen to feed the monkeys, I slip on any given toy and practice my gymnastics ability (or lack thereof) as I escape near death and start the day by filling their bowls with cereal and maybe milk...if we didn't run out the night before.
Quiet time? Uh huh. Having a private shower with time to look presentable and attractive? Right. Children being respectful and obedient all the time? Sure.
Not so much.
So, for a while now, I've had a bad attitude about my reality versus my expectations. I suppose I thought that even though rationally I knew that I would have to live in tv land for that to even be close to my life, I wanted that to be my life. I wanted my husband to not just be a provider and work a wonderfully extravagantly paid job, but I also wanted him to be one hundred percent there emotionally for me too, as well as being a handyman, mechanic and landscaper. I wanted my kids to not only be respectful and obedient, but geniuses and prodigies and all the time perfect. And me, well, I was more focused on my family not meeting their expectations, I couldn't really look at myself.
Besides, anything that I was lacking, any personality trait that needed to be tweeked was only an issue because the other people under my room made me that way....
How about you, what are your expectations? Reality or fantasy? Can you even objectively asses your expectations or are you still where I spent a lot of time, in angry blame mode?
This is my life. And yes, if you come to my home, the smiley face on the toilet seat will greet you as well. As you walk to my front door, two muddy hand prints will be waving hello to you from the garage door and sidewalk chalk that has been there for over a month will remind you of your numbers and my children's names written over and over again.
There is never a clean, toy free floor and my house is NEVER quiet. And quiet time with the Lord, as I can find a million excuses as to why I am too busy for it, God has been showing me a million and one reasons as to why I can't survive without it.
I'm learning, slowly but surely, that my life is my life because God has blessed me with my life. And if my life was that perfect picture of quiet and perfection, I'm not so sure I would be so aware of my need for God in my life.
Before kids, before marriage, before I was a real grown up even though I had a relationship with the Lord, it was about me.
Now, after kids and marriage and bills and sickness and everything in between, I realize that it is all about God, and if it weren't for Him, I wouldn't be. I am who I am because He is who He is.
He has abundant grace and mercy for me. And now that I have started taking my eyes off the downfalls of my family not being perfect, I am able to fix my eyes on He who is perfect and then I have realized that my family, though not perfect, is wonderful.
When we accept our imperfection, and admit it to ourselves- we reveal the need we have for God and experience His grace and mercy.
Quite honestly, I think if my house was quiet I would be freaked out a bit. I wouldn't know how to operate...I probably would be bored. And if my kids were perfect, I would never be challenged and reminded of my relationship with the Lord as my father and His patience for me.