Perfection is not the standard, Heartfelt commitment is just right!

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Joy with two of her sweet girlfriends–none perfect but all precious.

Sometimes, because my life feels so public, the perception of our family in the eyes of other people is either that we are perfect and have not had many struggles or that somehow my children (or Clay and I) were just naturally mature.

Nothing could be further from the truth. My children love just being home without anyone watching or expecting them to be “Clarksons,” because even being a “Clarkson” is a false expectation in most people’s mind. We are a  normal family. I am a flawed person who plods along,

but my heart is for Jesus and He is all the good I have. And He renews my love and excitement for living life His way so often that I keep going… one day, one more quiet time at a time.

When I was speaking recently, I had several experiences that were similar. Several women told me the difficulties they had with me communicating so much about my ideals, as though I did not understand real life as a  mom. I am also amazed at how free, sometimes, people can be to voice criticism online and to my face–I have been accused of being a hypocrite, arrogant, too liberal and too conservative. It is just part of my life in ministry, and I have come to accept it, because I know what I am really like in my home, and I have found peace there–and so have my sweet children.

I have had to learn not to pay attention to my good press or my bad press. I am really not that important.

Finding freedom and acceptance and assurance in Christ every day, all the time, has helped me to keep pursuing the ideals that I thought God wanted me to have as goals in my life, without regard to the outside voices or opinions that used to fill my mind and heart.

If , like the young women had suggested, I had expected perfection as a goal for my children, my marriage or my behavior, I know from the start I would be guaranteed failure.

What about, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“? Romans 3:23

There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10

He is mindful that we are but dust.” Psalm 103:14

Wretched man that I am. Who will set me free?” Paul wrote about himself in Romans 7.

But then this is where I live: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1

No illusions. God knows I am limited–but that is the spectacular news! He never expected me to be! I live by His life, by His grace, by His love and affirmation of my relationship to Him as my dear Father.

One mom said, “It is easy for Sally to make her home a life-giving place. But I live in a condominium.”

I began to learn to be life-giving when I was living in a tiny 158-year old house (only 900 square feet) in Vienna, whose walls leaked rain when we had storms and where we had pigeons in the attic (one we named Walter)!

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But it was there that one day, I looked out my window on a gray, drab apartment building that was eight stories high. All the windows were the same; old and dirty from the coal dust. But in one windowsill, someone had planted a flower box full  of red geraniums. In a wall of gray, the beautiful flowers stood out like a flame.

I decided right then that I would be like that one apartment out of hundreds, or perhaps like the person who lived in the apartment–that no matter how small or old my home, I would bring life and beauty to it–that I would create life and color as God did.

Of course, I learned as I went. It was not House Beautiful, but Beauty In Our Home.

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Putting a flower in a vase, lighting a candle amid the messes, playing music amid the moments of a noisy life.

Next came cooking and baking.

Learning came as I practiced. Some meals were a success. Some a failure. Some just not to the taste of my family.  But feasts were important to reaching hearts. Celebration was the joy through which hard lessons and chores could be taught and learned. Hard to waste my time on unappreciative people! But this practicing and learning meant years of days of dirty dishes and pots and pans and bowls in the sink. Our home is always in the process of being in and out of messes.

I had not even thought about  being a mom when I was a young single woman–hate to admit it, but it was true! I wanted to be in love and get married, but I was never one of those who longed for a baby. Eventually I got to that, but I had to learn how to love my children and my noisy home and all the demands. It was not natural to me–but I leaned into it and learned slowly but surely, because my heart was in His desire to have me create His life in my home. My heart followed what I thought was His will, and maturity and productivity came slowly but surely. It was like a blooming of my soul and work.

As one of my children said this week, “Mom, our days have never been easy and we have had no support systems and I don’t know how we made it, but we have lots of great memories and a full, rich life.”

I had to learn almost everything that I now do in my home on a regular basis. I have taught myself to cook, decorate, educate my children, how to become more mature in marriage; how to do chores and work (didn’t grow up doing it!), how to nurse my babies–even when one doctor told me that I might cause my child brain damage because I had been sick with the flu when she was born, and she was a high risk baby. Moved seventeen times, had three asthmatics, three ocd kids, one with adhd, fires (one in Vienna), floods (3 in our house), etc. *smile*

In the midst of such a life, there are lots of ups and downs. Children are immature and a mess, teens are self-centered and self-absorbed; and all are sinful.

But, I  pictured myself as  being a redeemer, like Jesus was–bringing light in the darkness, moving along on the pathway of ideals and maturity one step at a time, while holding God’s hand.

Same with my children. My goal was reaching their hearts with the love of God and showing them His reality, so that they could find His grace and truth every day. Now that is doable. All I have to do is love God every day.

Love Him, and show Him to my children. Since I am not expected by God to be perfect, I don’t expect them to be either. No one likes to live in a place where guilt and condemnation for failure is a heavy weight of expectation every day.

 If moms expect perfection, then their children will want to run far from them. If women think God wants them to be perfect, they will always live in guilt and defeat or eventually want to quit their ideals, because there will be no joy.

Now, I will admit that feeling inadequate is a mantle I am likely to wear many times, as I have always struggled with my “imperfect personality.”

Seems from time to time I put my foot in my mouth. Frustration sometimes takes over. Always a deep desire for more time alone bubbles up and expresses itself through impatience.

But, I learned early to reject those lying voices. God knows my limitations, and He does not expect me to perform, but to live by faith in His grace.

Because I knew I needed and still need His patience, encouragement and forgiveness every day, I knew my children needed to live in a home of grace, just as I needed God’s grace every day.

Consequently I learned that it is as I seek to celebrate life, live in grace, know his love, and appreciate His gentleness and compassion, that it grows in my heart. Whatever we water will indeed grow.

I have not always known how to walk this journey, but I have always had a hand to hold on to and wisdom to practice and apply.

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This story I’m living is a journey: a turn at every juncture, a pathway of life–a long distance run. Not a perfect husband. Not a perfect wife. Not perfect devotionals or a perfect method of discipline.  Not perfect children–

Just a grace walk.

Children with great, open hearts; best friends, loving, living, laughing, sharing, arguing, being petty and then getting back to the center one more time to do it all over again.

Alas, I must go to bed.

First, I am off to eat a chocolate chip cookie–even my diet and self-discipline aren’t perfect–and though every year wish I could lose ten pounds in one week before the conferences, it just doesn’t happen! Tomorrow I will do my exercise routine, again.

-`but I think after a demanding month, I am going to just enjoy myself, have a cuppa my favorite stuff, and rest … and worry about losing weight another time!

Because the only way I have made it all these years, is not by being perfect, but by living every day, one more day in the sunshine of His grace and abiding, abundant love with a willing heart.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Growing up as a pk I learned that most people have no problem saying what they think, but they do struggle with thinking before they say it, lol.

    I have to admit there were times when I would read a blog post and think, “she must just be naturally loving and nurturing”, or “her personality must be more easy going, she’s not a type A like me!”. However, the more I read the more I realized I was simply limited by my own lack of discipline and wisdom. I was operating under the law, while you were walking in grace.

    I can’t thank you enough for showing me, through a daily glimpse into your life, what it looks like to walk in grace and raise my kids by faith, not fear. Thank you! Thank you!

    By the way….
    I thought you looked lovely at the conference. Go, eat the cookie, have 2!

  2. says

    What beautiful and wise words. Thank you for sharing your (imperfect!) heart and for taking the time to mentor the rest of us imperfect souls as well.

  3. Ruby says

    My journal entries are often the same…
    How often people look & see a woman who is complete when it is often not the case. How many times have I been broken?? How many dark places have I been?? How much prayer and work have I put into my life to come to a place where I can finally accept the love of my Father without feeling guilt of past sin?? How long has it taken me to accept the reality that life will never be perfect & it is ok if the laundry piles higher than a toddler??

    They just don’t know….

    My family has paid the price for my torrid love affair with perfection & maintaing with the standards of other Christians!!

    My heart often listens to the lies of the enemy as I am reminded of my imperfections or lack of discipline…
    But a few years ago…I began to understand they were merely lies.
    Lies from the enemy to reach an impossible standard; failing at every attempt & dragging my heart down further with each attempt.

    As you are writing…I hear my own life from a different point of view.
    Inexperienced and young, without a firm foundation we decided to get married because it was right…after all…we were going to have a baby…

    Not knowing what lied ahead, I proceeded to begin myjourney as a mother with little knowledge of how to make a meal or what being a wife truly meant.
    Holding a baby for the first time as I feared I would break her…
    Surrendering my heart to the Lord after He had been chasing me since my childhood…
    Making a million mistakes along the way as we had no true role models to follow as a couple…
    Always broke and yet constantly grateful as we see the Lord’s awesome provision through every circumstance…
    Making memories as we followed HIM have been the sweetest…
    We have both finally come to a place in our lives where we have accepted our imperfections and begin to see God using them each day to glorify HIMSELF through us… HOW BLESSED ARE WE!!

    It is easy for us to ssay…HEY…WE DON’T HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER!!
    But it feels amazing to be able to follow it now with AND I AM EXCITED TO SEE WHAT GOD WILL DO WITH US TODAY!!

    What a wonderful ride this rollercoaster of life has been…and if the Lord tarries…will continue to be…
    Thank you for your candidness..
    It gives other imperfect hope, comfort, and laughter!!

    Now I am off to have a piece of “Mommy’s Stash” because I too am on a diet but have pushed it aside for another day so I can enjoy life’s simple pleasures…rather than pulling out my hair from a million disciplines…

    • jennifer w. says

      Ruby, your words have spoken to me as much as Sally’s. I, too, have had “a torrid love affair with perfection…” making myself and my family miserable. I may find freedom beginning today.

  4. Suyai says

    I’m so immensely grateful for your mission of love, not only towards your family but to all of us mums. :) Thank you, once again! xx

  5. Heather D. says

    Such a beautiful post. I know what I am doing is important (after soaking in your talks, books, conferences, etc. for a few years), that this is the path God has for our family and no comparing allowed:), that He sees everything small and it counts. Although this was said thru a veil of tears it bolstered my spirit to hear it aloud; seems all my mentors and friends that were walking on a similar path in wholehearted mothering are abandoning it right and left to careers, college, etc. But I know that I know that I know that Christ in me is doing a great work, and is my sweet loving families’ anchor. And thank you for sharing such “real” thoughts;)

  6. Amy Roberts says

    I love this post. I don’t know what to say except it is beautiful. Your writing helps give me a vision of what a family in Christ can be like. It helps me to see beyond the present struggles and see what my seeds will become. I choose to focus on the “good”, not the “bad” otherwise I would complain all the time. That is not God’s will for me. I am to be thankful. Your “ideals” speak hope to me every morning and the more I walk with Christ and allow him to change me the more I see the good in my home, husband, and children. I guess it is really renewing our minds with His word so that I have hope that walking faithfully with him matters and that every good attitude changes not only us and the way we see things but the way we see our families, not only for what they truly are in Christ, but for what they WILL BE as we allow Him to change us. I choose to see the “Good”! Thank you, Sally!

  7. Tracy says

    Just beautiful. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you. Thank you for opening your heart and you life up to be exposed to all so that we may learn from you. You really are such a treasure and much needed in today’s world!

  8. Elizabeth says

    Sally, I have never thought you were perfect, but I have always, always gotten encouragement and inspiration from your writing! I am so glad that you have ideals and that you have been led to generously share them, your enthusiasm and let us get to know your family through books and conferences over the years. I know how much you have helped and encouraged me, and I can only assume that is true for thousands of other women as well. What a legacy! I don’t have a warm childhood to look back on, since my own mother was depressed/withdrawn the first six years of my life (eventually committing suicide) and the woman my father remarried eventually developed bipolar disorder, and that marriage fell apart, but in the interim she abused me emotionally, psychologically and yes even physically to a point though my dad found out and put an end to that. So I am thankful, thankful, thankful for the wisdom of women such as yourself (especially b/c I admit that I actually have trust issues with older women because of my experiences— I find someone’s words, via a book or blog or in a group setting, to be more helpful than even a really intense personal mentoring relationship, at times.)

    Anyway, I am fortunate enough to be in Lynn’s Seasons of a Mother’s heart book, and have had the double benefit of re-reading that book and enjoying Lynn’s wisdom as well. I truly appreciate your ministry, and am thankful that you have not let negative responses distract you from what God has laid on your heart.

    May God bless you & sustain you through what I’m sure will be a busy couple of months!

  9. Shari says

    As a ministry family, I was hoping that our family was the only one to experience people like you described!!! I will most certainly pray for all of you Clarksons to focus on The One who called you to serve Him. The world screams so loudly at times. Set your heart, mind, and eyes on Christ Jesus!!

    His
    Shari

  10. Sue says

    Thank you Sally! I have been meaning to write to you for awhile. I am so thankful that God has put you in my life as a woman and mother to glean wisdom from. I am a 37 year old mother of 4 under age 7 living in a 1100 sq. ft apt. with one small window :) We have moved 12 times in 11 years of marriage and I homeschool. I can not tell you how much you encourage me to keep moving forward. That the goals we have for our family are doable because I have seen through your life that they are. I have longed for my mother and sister to encourage me to fight the good fight for my family but they don’t. Society and those all around me are constantly telling me to quit that this is all impossible. Not that you are my idol but you are an example to me that I can do the difficult. So every time you receive a critical comment please think of me and all the other woman who you are inspiring to do great things.

  11. Elaine says

    Sally,
    I’ve had to teach myself a lot of the same things and I look for inspiration. I have learned it’s ok to copy others if you really like something they do. Thanks for all that you do, it is very helpful. God bless

  12. Ginny says

    I find that you have a gift for encouraging me and challenging me all at the same time. These words were just what I needed to hear today on my 38th birthday and six months into my pregnancy with our fifth son. Our lives are far from perfect, but it helps to have lofty ideals-especially in making our home a peaceful haven for my family. I think our yearnings for harmony and beauty show our inward hope of heaven being in the presence of our Savior. Hugs to you, Sally!

  13. Angie Pickel says

    Thank for this encouragement Sally. Unfortunately, as imperfect women, we tend to filter things through our grids of ‘extremes’. This explains the polarizing responses you receive at times. Either we are obsessed with perfection or we are down in the dumps with guilt and despair. It reveals more about the heart of those of us learning to journey from the law (which brings death) to the life of the Spirit. Jesus wants to bring balance in our thinking on these things. That too is a process. Jesus died that we might have life….and have it to the full!

    Thank you for continuing to uphold those precious ideals. We need to be called up higher all the time! And yet you are so right to say that it is all about our heart towards HIM. He knows we are but dust, that we are human. Thank goodness we are approved of because of Christ and not our own efforts.

    Your blog is my daily encouragement. And I am thankful that God does not despise my process. Nor does He despise the ‘day of small beginnings’! (Zech. 4:10)

  14. Kimberly says

    Thank you for this. I needed to hear that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect and it doesn’t mean I have to drop my ideals if I just need to breathe.

  15. Robin Kuppusamy says

    The truth is, even when attacked. Even when you feel hurt, you manage to turn it into something good. Not just something good, but something to encourage other moms. None of us are perfect. But, to have an encourager as we try to walk in Him is priceless!

    I pray for the wisdom to be able to turn my faults, failures and trials into glory for the Kingdom of God! So, that others might benefit.

  16. says

    Oh, thank you for being so open and candid. We live in this age of “rock-star” mentality and folks mistakenly apply the attributes of perfection to those they place on pedestals.
    I shudder to think of anyone with the gall to attack someone’s ministry. I think they understand their hearts, though. They begin with inspiration to reach higher ideals, fall short, and want to place blame; this is part of our fallen human nature.
    I hope that we all read this and realize that we, the Body of Christ, are all in the daily process of becoming. Oh, thank God for Grace!
    Thank God for your heart and ministry, as well. I hope you were blessed with much needed deep rest, and awoke to precious time alone, with your favorite cuppa, before the Presence of God.
    In His Grace,
    Michelle

  17. Nancy Baetz says

    Hi Sally,
    This was such a beautiful post and it really ministered to me. Thank you for sharing your heart so openly and sweetly…isn’t it funny how we see each other sometimes? We can always imagine how perfect someone else is, how perfect and charmed their life is but the reality is that we are a just a piece of work in progress. <3 Your honesty is an encouragement to me and I think I'd love to read your new book!

    It was nice to see you last fall at the tea. ~ Have a blessed day!
    Nancy

  18. says

    Oh, Sally.
    I want you to know the impact you and your family has made in my life and my family’s life just by being real and teaching us to allow our family to be real. To me that really sets me free, sets us all free, really. I love that you identify, with us moms that yes, life is hard, but, yes, we can still go on, through the power of the Holy Spirit, serving, each other, serving our families, and yes, we will be blessed because of it. And I love that you tirelessly, continue to encourage us to do just that.

  19. Christina says

    So encouraging, thank you Sally! And to respond to a small point, not only did you not need to lose any weight before this conference season, I’ve never seen you look trimmer! And more than that, I left our encounter last Friday noticing the radiant light shining from your eyes. You know, the Moses on the mountain kind you can’t fake. Thank you for leading us young mommies by example back to the Love of our hearts.

  20. Jane says

    We recently invited some church friends to our home for a meal and one of the ladies commented on how clean my house is. She didn’t see the laundry baskets full of stuff, which I collected while tidying the “public” rooms and stashed in an “off limits” room. She later seemed surprised when I mentioned some of my short comings in our homeschooling days because she had the impression that I was organized, disciplined, and productive. In both of these cases, she was only seeing the good that I was was letting her see.

    I am grateful to Sally for showing us that her life isn’t perfect, that she had to learn and work at creating a lovely home, having a great relationship with her children, a strong marriage, and a fulfilling ministry. And most of all, for reminding us that when she fails (and she does), she has God’s grace and forgiveness.

    I’ll have to tell my friend about the laundry baskets!

  21. julie says

    Again such a needed post. I have to admit for so long I had thought what you said. “Oh she is naturally loving, creative etc. Once upon altimeter I was heading in this direction and then a bomb went off in my life and I put up walls and changed my direction. Grace meant the people who hurt me could get way with it. Oh what a sacrifice I made with that choice. But wow what grace we have. Here I stand being renewed and rescued from. In the ashes of my life with my oldest lost at the moment loving my Jesus more each day for the opportunity.
    Thank you for sharing the imperfections I needed to hear it each time you have shared these small things.

  22. Kristen S says

    Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us today. Your words have brought encouragement to me today.

  23. says

    I love you dearly. I am one who prays for you…what a joy to talk to our Father about how I’m thankful for you! His peace and grace be multiplied to you!

  24. Elizabeth Glanzer says

    Reading this just now brought tears to my eyes. You are an encouragement to me as a wife and homeschooling mother of three girls! I consider you a Titus 2 woman encouraging me to be a better helpmeet and mother! Thank you for writing this blog!!

  25. Christine says

    Thank you so much for this post! You always inspire me! Your books are my go-to books, time and again. Seeing your beautiful children all grown up reminds me this is only a phase and its a gift. So looking forward to reading your newest.

  26. jennifer says

    Your words bring life to one who is choking herself and her relationships with the need to be perfect and who is unacceptable if she is not. I have so much to learn, to soak in. I fear letting go of the known in hope of joy. But, I cannot stay here any longer. Thank you.

  27. says

    Wonderful post. Wonderful!
    I should take time to leave comments more. I am very very thankful for you and your ministry. I’m still amazed that you came all the way to New Brunswick to a tiny little group of homeschool families last year, to encourage and teach us. We don’t have access to speakers like you most of the time simply because we are fairly out of the way. Thank you for your ministry, for having so many books, downloads, and wonderful content in your blog that we can glean from. You are a huge blessing.

  28. Andrea says

    Thank you for being so encouraging, so honest, so real, so down to earth, and for being willing to be “in the public eye”. Certainly that’s not an easy place to be……but your are blessing so many with your ministry! I am blessed to learn from you.

  29. Hannah says

    So so selfishly thankful that you heed the words of the Father more than any of us. Otherwise, you might become discouraged and so many of us would not be ministered to by your words. The example of your life provides such a goal for so many of us moms, thank you.

  30. says

    I loved this, Sally. I know you didn’t write it for the sake of praise (or criticism!), but you continue to minister to my soul by speaking truth and grace because of Christ. And it baffles me that you did it without support (as you have shared before and one of your children pointed out). While some days are tougher than others, I know that I have loving and caring parents and in-laws who fully support us and our desire to train our children in the Lord, even if that has meant moving to a different continent because that is what God asked us to do. Keep on sharing the truth and grace. I have learned that when I feel critical, it is often out of jealousy. Maybe it’s not for these others who criticize, but you are accountable only to our Heavenly Father. Many blessings to you!

  31. says

    Hi Sally! I must say that this is probably one of your BEST post yet. I don’t know about other moms, but I greatly appreciated your reminder that you do not have the “perfect” children and you aren’t the “perfect” mom. However, you are a WONDERFUL mentor, in my opinion, and I appreciate all of the time you put into being a mentor to so many women like me. I hope to be able to meet you in person someday (as I’m sure many moms would like to to.).

    A Slice of Homeschool Pie

  32. says

    You bring up a wise point about learning to roll with feedback from others, as much as it may hurt at times. I recently heard this statement: “Fan mail and hate mail are just different sides of the same coin.” I’m learning (as we all are) to not rely on the perception of others, but rather the unchanging acceptance and love of Christ. Beautiful reminder.

    I hope that you thoroughly enjoyed your cookie!

  33. says

    I can’t understand how one can read your books like Mission of Motherhood or Dancing With My Father and think you don’t share imperfections? Perhaps when one reads quickly or hears only soundbites then they can’t truly perceive what you have been saying all along.

    I heard Beth Moore on TV recently say how she receives constant criticism and how it still hurts. She said one either develops a cold heart and goes on so they no longer feel the hurt or they keep a soft heart and learn to live with the hurt caused by criticism. You are definitely soft hearted. :)

  34. Alicia says

    I like you, Mrs. Sally Clarkson. You speak my language. And I send you many return blessings for the encouragement you have been to me, as I love my family. Many hugs!! I imagine you are a hugger? (;

  35. Judy says

    The way we respond to life and what it brings always says something about our growth of trust in the Lord, and something about our personalities too. I love it that God uses both you – the idealist, and other Christian bloggers, by nature anxious and pensive, to speak to me.

    What foolish hearts ever imagine another’s Christian walk or family to be perfect? God’s Word assures us that suffering is the means by which we become Christ-like – that you have grown in His grace through the years of parenting attests to the reality that suffering has been part of your experience, but you remain you. Your optimistic personality leads you to express the joy of life more often than the frustration or heartache – and I for one am glad.

    How depressing it would be if Milne had all his characters be Eeyore! And of course, too much Tigger might just exhaust us all! But put them together with friends and there’s a lovely story to be had.

    Thank you for being one of the characters in my daily blog story.

  36. Maria Ricci says

    That was PERFECT! Your words and life continue to be a kindred walk alongside myself! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for remembering where you were 20-30 years ago, for writing those thoughts out now, for walking with Christ and not forgetting what he tells you. HAH!

    Can’t wait to give you a big hug at the Irvine Tea.
    xxoo

  37. Elizabeth W. says

    Sally, I read your blog every day, yet rarely comment as it just seems someone needs me as soon as I get through reading. I identify with you nearly every time, and can so relate to your dreams and desires for life! It makes me feel that I am not “way out there” to read my heart put into words and see the fruit of your labors in your grown children. It gives me courage to keep aiming high. I am still a young mom with four kids from ages 2-11, but as a helper to my gifted husband, I find myself in ministry often and know just what you are talking about with people’s comments. Your perspective on them was a special help me to today. It seems it is very hard for folks to understand us dreamers, that we reach high, not claiming to always be hitting the mark, but talking and writing about our goals give us courage to keep going. I am the daughter of a man who dreamed big dreams and shared his big visions through preaching so I lived with the general public misunderstanding us my whole life, thinking we were perfect when we were far from it. It was good training for the life God has called me to now. I continue to work at the balance of being honest about our failures, while still believing in and working toward a high standard. Jesus did offer abundant life and I believe him! Thank you for being a voice that keeps me stretching higher!

  38. Abby Karn says

    This sounds exactly like me, never learned to do chores, ‘imperfect personality, and what your kids say to you now are what my husband tells me is important in their lives. Thank you for being honest. I hope you feel healing in the area of no support system in some of the hardest years of your life. God bless.

  39. Charlotte says

    Sally, once again God has used you to speak right to my heart at the given moment. Motherhood is a battle agsinst satan, and perfectionism has no place there. Thank you for your gentle reminder! What a blessing you are to me and so many others! Thank you, thank you, for letting God speak through you time and time again.

  40. says

    Thank you so much for your honest and open heart and for being imperfect!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! For it is through your imperfections and your willingness to be molded into the perfect image of Christ that God’s love and grace positively SHINE!! I needed to read this today. In His gentle way, God is teaching me to be kind to myself. To cease judging my mothering, my housework, my children’s behaviors (and how those reflect on me and my own imperfections)–and to cease worrying about other’s judgement on those things as well. I am His servant and He alone is my judge. And as James so aptly stated: “mercy triumphs over judgement”!!

  41. says

    Sally, this is such a precious post for me. I will read it often and treasure it. I have read many of your books, and am inspired by them. I can see how women might see the idealized mom-life in them, though, and miss the fact that you are speaking from a place of flaws and grace, of successes and failures, of looking to Jesus and tackling another day.

    My main regret, and one I’m trying to let go of (grace!!), is that I was too rule-oriented early in my parenting, and see that personality and tendency in my oldest. Now that I am nearing 40, and have been reassessing my life, seeking and giving more grace, I wish I could take his heart and wipe away the need to be right, a need I placed there with my expectations. He’s 12, and I think I still have some time to continue to model grace and point him to Jesus before he flies on his way. :)

    Thank you, as always, for opening up your heart and home and letting us peek inside. xoxo

  42. Stephanie says

    I just love this post! Thank you so much for sharing. I especially loved when you said that finding your way in marriage and motherhood, “was like a blooming of my soul and work”. It’s nice to know that we aren’t supposed to have it all together from the starting gate! Can’t wait to meet you in Raleigh!! So excited!! Stephanie (married 4 1/2 years, stay at home mommy of 17 month old, boy/girl twins with hopes of homeschooling)

  43. alisha says

    Sally I have watched one of the videos from the book Desperate that really inspired me. My husband , myself and my 5 year old live in a small apartment that is really not fancey, but is cozy. I decided after listening to you talk about creating beauty in the atmosphere in your home with candles, music and art. That I wasn’t going to wait till I am in the right home to start creating that creative atmoshere. I lit candles, cooked dinner put on some classical piano music and when my husband came home he said thank you for making this a peaceful place to come home to. This really made me feel wonderful . I have decided not to allow my budget limitations keep me from expierencing beautiful things. My daughter really liked this as well :). Before she had come home I set up a little table for her with her tea set, cookies, apples and pretzels. I lit the candle and had music on when she came in from school. I asked her will you come to my tea party and she said yes! why did you do this ? I said because I love you..and God spoke to myheart this is how he Loves us he spreads a table before us and invites us to dine and we are just like this to ask him why do you do this God ..simply because He loves us. Your ministry is making positive influence in my life..thank you .

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