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Confession Time.

Updated: Oct 18, 2019



This weekend I've enjoyed a silent meltdown.

Why, you ask?

I'm a mess. I wrote a blog post and admitted to you I'm a mess. And then after posting it, I got to thinking how many of you are NOT a mess. Far from it.

And my cringing increased until meltdown point. Silent meltdown, but still. Meltdown.

See, I feel like God has given me this gift. I write. I also do art that helps people's businesses. It helps my family.

And it takes time.

That's great. The guilt comes when I consider the more important gifts God has given me. A unspeakably, incredible, phenomenal, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious husband. Kids just like their daddy.

And I look around at all these wives and mamas who got. It. Down.

Seriously, I'm surrounded by women who don't just impress me. They TERRIFY me with their apparent perfection.

I'm being real here, y'all. Flip back to FB if it's too gory. I'm about to!

And then one of them looks at me, counts the little heads around me, and says something like, "Whoa! You must be Superwoman!"

And I want to run across the parking lot and hide under that drain grate.

Somewhere where they won't see my van. My messy van. And follow me home where they'll see my house. My messy house. And discover my life. My messy life, so far from their neat-as-a-pin one.

And I just smile and say, "Oh no, I'm not Superwoman. No ma'am." Real nice where they won't ask questions because no WAY do I need to tell them something true that will make their smile turn into a grimace. Who wants that?!

So all week, as I've built a client's website, interviewed a friend about how to teach your kids to clean, taught my kids to clean, trucked Buddy to and from school, and this and that every homeschooling mama does constantly, I've been yanking this dragging pack of guilt.

Because I come SO FAR SHORT. Horrifically.

But which thing do I stop? Everything I'm doing, I started for a reason that still stands. Okay, maybe not scrolling social media at random unscheduled times during the day. That needs to stop.

But everything else.

And I'm a mess!

And I'm surrounded by mamas who sparkle. Or older ladies who are known far and wide for their spotlessness. I can call for backup from all my messy buddies, and it does help--until I turn back around and bump right into one of THEM. And I scramble to straighten up, to try to hide my mess from...

You. My cherished friend. My pleasant, smiling, organized dear friend whose home is a haven, but it makes me want to cry when I go back home because I feel so out of my league.

See? See what a mess I am?!

So hence the meltdown.

I would be just still melt-ingdown. Except that a thought just now occurred to me.

Jesus put me here.

Jesus put you there.

And He told us not to compare.

There are older women who've spent their entire lives making a haven for others, and they actually believe they've made no difference in the world at all.

People have entered their homes and found a warm welcome. It smells nice. They get rest and conversation. They never feel embarrassed because the hostess is embarrassed. Good conversation happens. Maybe not with the hostess, who's constantly seeing to everybody, but people enjoy their visit.

Their family loves coming home, bringing friends. They're proud of their home.

They never lose things. Maybe they haven't made a six-figure income, but they haven't needed one because they don't waste.

AND THAT'S A GIFT.

Yes, these shining ladies have worked for it, but the strength and wisdom to do that work is a gift. It's a gift to me, the guest, if I'll get over myself and just enjoy being with my friend in her gorgeous home.

(I feel like I'm digging that hole. Hang with me. If I can grasp it again, here's that thought.)

THIS is what I've been given to do at this time. I want so badly to learn to be somebody who does things orderly. Who thinks that way. Who doesn't just do it when the inspiration strikes. Who learns to train herself and knows where to start.

But for the moment, all I'm supposed to do is one thing at a time.

And as long as Jesus, my husband, and my children are happy, I have no need to hate myself, even though I'm so far from where I want to be.

I completely believe that little by little, Jesus will change me into a more orderly person, just as He's changed other uglier aspects of my character. I'm not blaming Jesus that I'm a mess, but I can't "unmess" myself without Him helping me. I guess it's what my friend Mrs. Brenda calls a "grace lag." He's allowed it for a reason.

Like when He didn't immediately make us able to pay off those hospital bills fourteen years ago. They got paid off, but it didn't happen immediately.

Or how my baby weight didn't disappear the day after I had a baby. It took every bit as long to lose it as it took to gain it. (And it's not all gone. Had another, "When are you due?" question today. Told ya!)

He makes all things beautiful in His time, not mine. Plenty of good things happen under the soil when it looks like everything's dead. People all around us who look broken are being invisibly nourished and prodded by the Maker and Redeemer of Creation. He's at work even when we accuse Him of watching our world indifferently.

So why am I confessing all this to you? Well, aside from the Biblical command to "confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another," I share all this in the hope that it will help you should you have some meltdown about your weak spot.

Wait, what?

Weak spot?

YOU?! You're Superwoman!

Addition:

After I wrote the above, I sent it to my group of writing buddies, and three of them sent me back messages that brought tears. I asked them if I could share them with you because I figured if God used them to help me, they can help you too. Love you, dear reader, for reading this far, and here's your reward!

1. From my friend Rachael M. Colby, tattooitonyourheart.com:

From One Mess to Another

Hey, Rebekah—you’re beautiful. A beautiful mess. You know what makes you beautiful? Your heart, your honesty, and Jesus in you.

Beauty is being real—and letting Jesus do His thing. He’s the master builder, we’re His work in progress. Building sites and renovations and restorations are noisy and messy.

Wanna know something else? There a whole lot of people out there who look perfect and orderly on the outside but down where no one sees they’re hurting and all busted up in disarray, they’re rotting from the inside, full of black mold—it’s just not visible yet. And they don’t know it’s okay to let it show, to let the sunshine and the Son shine in until they see some real in someone else and how Jesus can love us from right where we are and take us and make us into what He made us to be—a new creation in Him.

And all those things are nice—the orderly life, the clean car... But they are all replaceable. They aren’t eternal. You know what rich is? Rich is what you have. You have a supercalifragalisticexpialadoshous husband and kids and Jesus has you. Yes, all you need to do is please Jesus. Enjoy Him.

God doesn’t make duplicates, so why compare yourself? Do what He made you to do for the day that’s set before you. Revel in the Gift and the gifts you’ve been given by the gift giver as you give them back to Him. That’s it. That’s all there is. You have everything. And you’re beautiful, mess and all.

I’ll leave you with an amazing quote by this writer woman who is so full of Jesus He just spills out of her words and waters others around her:

“He makes all things beautiful in His time, not mine. Plenty of good things happen under the soil when it looks like everything's dead. People all around us who look broken are being invisibly nourished and prodded by the Maker and Redeemer of Creation. He's at work even when we accuse Him of watching our world indifferently.” —Rebekah Love Dorris

Wow and amen. Thank you.

Xo

Rachael

2. From my friend Cheryl T:

Rebekah, you are beautiful, inside and out. I have been there, and in a lot of ways I am still there. I grew up in a home with a very perfectionist mother (and father, actually), and our house was always immaculate. I did not inherit that gift. (Sadly.) One thing I have learned is that the part of me that so desperately wants to be like that, to have the perfectly clean house and vehicle all the time…etc., believes that my value lies in those things. My value is directly related to how clean or dirty my house is…etc. These are lies, though they are tough to see that way, because it really IS nice to have a clean home…etc.

I have also been one to look at other mothers and see perfection, and people who seem to be coasting along doing crafts with their kids and making delicious and healthy meals, while I’m off to the side drowning, and failing in every way. Here’s what I’ve learned. Those moms are struggling too. Some of them are covering it up on purpose, and some don’t realize that others perceive them as perfect. I’ve had moments where other mothers saw me as really succeeding where I was thinking I was a complete mess. I think we all see the surface version of others and assume they’re doing it all right, but the reality is, some of those mothers are drowning too. Some of them have immaculate houses, but they are clinically depressed. (I know one of those.)

This section of your post here: There are women who live their entire lives making a haven for others, and they come to believe they've made no difference in the world at all.

People come to their home and find welcome. It smells nice. They get rest and conversation. They never feel embarrassed because the host is embarrassed. Good conversation happens.

Their family loves coming home, bringing friends. They're proud of their home.

They never lose things. Maybe they haven't made a six-figure income, but they haven't needed one because they don't waste.

They're eager to let people have a ride because their ride is immaculate.

Are you sure these women exist? Hahaha. I’m only asking because this sounds like a fantasy to me. Does a family always love coming home just because their house is clean? I didn’t. Honestly, my house growing up was never in chaos, and there was never a danger of being embarrassed by mess and clutter if people showed up unannounced. But it was not a warm and fuzzy welcoming feeling. If anything, the atmosphere was at times clinical, and also very critical. I am still very nervous when my parents come to visit because I know my mom will notice every spot of dust…etc. I love my parents, but that’s how they were brought up. I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh, because I promise you, I’m coming from a place of love, and also of total understanding.

Here’s the thing. You are not as much of a mess as you think you are. You just perceive yourself that way because some part of you thinks you need to have a perfect house and tidy vehicle to be acceptable. Guess what? Not true. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, your heart is already immaculate, and nothing you can do or say will change that. You never need to criticize yourself for having a messy home, and having a super neat and tidy home should never be the source of your positive self-worth. (though it DOES feel good to have a clean house. I’ve experienced it on rare occasions. Lol.)

All this to say, I loved your post because of its raw honesty. But the two things I would warn against are this: First, don’t put the neat and tidy moms on a pedestal, unless you’re going to express it like “I saw them as these perfect moms who must love hosting people in their beautifully clean homes”…etc. Make sure it’s clear that that’s YOUR perception of them, not the way it actually is. Because I guarantee you it isn’t. Unless you know one such person, in which case you can say “I know one mom who…” etc. And also don’t be accusatory towards them. "You. You naturally organized person whose home is a haven, but it makes me cry when I go back home because I feel so defeated." The other thing is, if you’re going to call yourself a mess, make sure you acknowledge that you have been perceiving yourself that way, but that in the eyes of Jesus, you are exactly as you should be.

I hope that all makes sense and doesn’t sound like a giant slam on your post. I actually really like it, and I would leave most of it as it is. But I wanted to just encourage you because I struggle with those very same thoughts. I am just beginning to see that so many of those moms I thought had it all together have just as many struggles as I do, even if they’re not the same ones.

I will leave it at that because I think I might be in danger of rambling now! Keep pouring your heart out on “paper”, you beautiful woman of God! You do indeed have a gift, and you are a treasure.

love,

Cheryl

3. From my friend Pearl Allard, Lookupsometimes.com:

Rebekah, I’ll raise my teacup to what’s already been said. But I’ll add this too, because maybe not everyone else has heard the Donna Otto interview...

Rebekah, I hope I’m not ruining a surprise...

A very respected woman, a protegé of Elizabeth Elliot (Donna Otto) told Rebekah a story that involved a somewhat harsh but loving observation from Elizabeth that Donna had no order in her life and how could Donna presume to be a speaker until she fixed this part of her life?

And then Rebekah writes this post.

So in case that is partially fueling this, here’s my two cents: Elizabeth Elliot told DONNA that, not you Rebekah. Donna never told or even implied that you need order in your life. She doesn’t know you like Elizabeth knew Donna. We’re all wired with slightly different needs. Elizabeth knew what Donna needed. Donna doesn’t know what you need, Rebekah. I doubt your house is utter chaos (who defines these subjective terms, anyway?) but even if it was, is it a word from Donna or a word from the Lord?

And about accepting a word from a highly respected human...

I could write a blog post about this story, but I’ll try to keep it super short. One time my friend, who I greatly respect (she’s the youth pastor’s wife), told me her opinion about a book? I don’t even remember what it was about. All I remember was her words encouraged me. Her words spoke life and grace. Then the next Sunday she said something that totally contradicted her first opinion. Her husband had spoken to her and after that, she’d turned 180 degrees about the matter. I felt bereft. Worse. Like someone had hit me over the head, stripped me, beat me up, and left me for dead. Yes, that dramatic. In fact, as the day wore on I fell into a horrible pit of depression I couldn’t climb out of and I remember crying out to God from my kitchen island, marooned in spirit, “God! If I don’t have Your grace, I have nothing!” And just weeping like I’d been eternally condemned.

At that moment, my daughter (then only 3-years old) walked up to me with a piece of paper she had colored and stamped and held it out for me. As I reached for grace, she said in the most authoritative voice I’d heard her use to date, “This is for YOU, Mama. And if anyone tries to take it, you tell them NO!!!”

Up until then, I’d had an inkling that grace always holds me. But I didn’t know that it’s not only ok but necessary to battle to keep what rightfully belongs to me as a child of God. Isn’t there a verse Paul writes about and even if angels preach a gospel other than THE gospel, they’ll get what’s coming? (Pearl’s paraphrase)

You get it. <3


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