Oh I hear it. That voice in your head saying, "yeah, but, Kari isn't being perpetually late a sign of disrespect for others?" Well, yes maybe in some cases. But maybe it just means that there is a foot of snow on the ground still. It is April, and you have to get 7 children and one husband layered and out of the door for Easter Sunday breakfast at 9. And remember your Bible too. And those delicious cinnamon rolls.
A dear friend said to me yesterday, "Kari, if I'm late when I have kids, I'm afraid that people might think I'm a bad mom." I laugh, hard-loud. Because you know what? I used to think the very. same. thing. I tell her that patience is a virtue not easily learned. And instead of getting my panties in a wad every time someone is waiting on all of my 7 children to buckle in the car (which happens an obscene amount of times) because he or she wants my front row spot that I just so happened to be lucky enough to snag, I pray for God to squelch my pride of caring too much of what others think and then tell myself I'm helping them become more virtuous. And life is not an emergency. Kids are slow and I'm sorry if I've made you late to your lovely Wal-Mart shopping experience.
But, I still sometimes do. Care, I mean. Probably more than I would like to admit here. But not just about being late. I care about my appearance. My kids clothing matching. My house being spotless. Being able to cook everything from scratch. My kid's obedience or disobedience. The list is endless really. Endless of things that, when I look into the Word, I don't see. Lists of things that makes us good Mothers. Things that we can check off to feel like we are good. No, no friends, that is what the Pharisees did. And if there was such a thing, I'm not sure it would have to do with our children's clothing.
Yes, I do know the Proverbs 31 women. We've met. I am not her. Sure maybe her kids were matching all in their royal purple, but even then I don't see a women's list of things "to do." Rather I look at her posture of the heart. She has a servants heart. A heart that loves God and bends toward Him and toward her family second. You can have the heart without the matching purple clothes right? Those things she does: waking early, clothing her children well, owning a business etc. are attained not because she is trying so hard to get her check list of "being a good mom/wife/believer" things checked off. No rather, it is born from a heart that is loved by God and has loved Him because he first loved her.
It's easy to forget this isn't it? "Prone to wander Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love." This is the song of my heart many days. It is easier to look to what others are doing and know we'll never measure up making us want to fall into the black pit of despair. Or to prop ourselves up by certain unbiblical standards that we know others are not meeting as well and feel a certain amount of pride in the way that we are doing things or not doing things.
God made the church full of gloriously different women. Women who are naturally tidy. And those that aren't so much. Women who love to craft. And those that would rather poke themselves in the eyes with the knitting needles than to knit a hat (or just go find a cute one Goodwill.) Women who love to spend time outdoors. And those that think of camping as a nice hotel room. Women who can coupon with the best of them. And those when the word coupon is spoken, throw up a little in their mouths. Women who love to cook from scratch and those that throw the frozen pizza in the oven and call it "homemade" because "we're home and I made it." Women that do rise early. And those who might just throw their shoe at you if you come in her room (unless you are on fire) before 7 and tell you (in a firm, but kind tone) to go back to bed because she spends time with the Lord another time of the day.
And guess what? We have a lot to learn from each other. And it's all ok. There is no one-size-fits-all kind of women or mother or wife or friend. We all need abundant grace just to get through the day don't we? Especially those of us called mother. God's unfailing, sustaining, abundant Grace. The kind of grace the comes alongside a tired momma and takes her kids to the park so she can get caught up. Or take a nap. The kind of grace that asks, "How are you able to be so tidy?" Instead of comparing and being jealous. The kind of grace that knows that frozen pizza is ok. And so are hats from Goodwill.
This is the beauty of the church.
This is the beauty of what we call Mothering.
The beauty of laying down your life.
This is the grace of the Cross.
And just one more quick thing. I'm not sure that I want my kids to remember how clean their house was growing up. Or that I was always on top of my blog writing. Or that we always matched Easter Sunday. As nice as those things are, I want them to remember that we laughed. Out loud. A lot. That we did things together. As a family (as messy as it was.) That they could sin and be quickly forgiven. And that "sin" did not include a broken glass cup.
I want them to see a heart that bends in obedience toward her Lord Jesus and loves Him in such a way that her joy is contagious. That they could do messy science experiments (as long as they clean up after.) That I taught them to be responsible, kind, and considerate. A Mom that prayed every. single. night. that they too would be saved. And was faithful to do her best, messy house and all.