Imperfect People

Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

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Imperfect People - Imperfect People in love with a perfect God

What if Mary had said no?

I love the Christmas Manger scene.  Sitting so pretty on most mantles at Christmas it’s a beautiful reminder of the miraculous day.

As a mom I can’t help but stare a little longer at Mary.  I am imagining all that she might be thinking.  Not only right there at the manger but at the very beginning when the Angel said she would have the baby.

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What if Mary had said no?

Have you ever considered this?

Mary who is engaged to be married is being told by an angel that she is to carry the Lord’s son.  There are about a million things she can be worried about.

Not only is she facing possible execution, her fiancé leaving her, and ridicule…  In the unlikely event that everyone believes her I think it would be totally valid for her to think: What about me and my plans?  I am about to get married!!  I don’t want to have to alter the wedding dress!  I like being a regular girl, everyone is going to ask me tons of questions!   I really am too busy for all this right now!  God can you find someone else?

Can you imagine this in today culture?  What with all our “plans and schedules”  I’m afraid we would just be too busy for such a task!

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But instead of any of these excuses she says:

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be with me just as you say.”

I think Mary “got” something that we often just don’t comprehend.

It wasn’t about her.

She had the amazing privilege to be the mother of Jesus because she was willing to be “the Lord’s servant.”

This is HUGE

And her self sacrificing doesn’t end there.  Imagine you have agreed to carry God’s baby and it comes time for you to deliver.  I don’t know but I’m thinking maybe an angel comes and offers a big palace for me to deliver and it is a totally pain free child birth complete with people fanning me and feeding me grapes.

But as we know from the story she has to make a long journey on a donkey only to find there is NO ROOM for them at the inn and she has no choice but to deliver Jesus in a manger.

You would think Mary would be shouting,
“UMM HELLO HAVING GOD’S SON HERE??? Can someone ELSE sleep in the manger for crying out loud?!!”

Yet Mary knew this wasn’t about her…it was ALL about Jesus. 

Every piece of her story, her pain, and even her frustration was all part of the beautiful story that we still remember today and will remember for generations to come.  I wonder what parts of our lives, are weaving together to ultimately be part of a bigger story?

The best we can ever hope for in this life is a supporting role to the most amazing lead character that ever was or ever will be…Jesus.    So many of us are fighting to further our own little kingdom.  We are wrapped up in making our name famous, when if we could understand it’s not about us:  It’s about Jesus.

While I certainly believe Mary was the one God choose but what if, for example, she had said no.  She would have been free to do live her own little “important” life not to be inconvenienced with the fear of being stoned and shaming her fiancé and family.   Yet her  own little plans and agenda would have died with her generations ago and we would never even know her name.  

Making His name famous, furthering His kingdom, and doing HIS work.  His name is the only one that will last through the generations.  Why is it so hard for us to realize this?

I can get so caught up in my “own little kingdom”  Am I listening for God’s direction?

Mary was truly the Lord’s servant.  She put her own plans, fears, and excuses to the side.  None of that matters when the God of the universe has other plans.

 
 

Social Media and the view of “perfect”

Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook, read a few tweets, or read a blog of someone’s “perfect life” and felt a little inadequate?

It’s not like anyone means any harm. The very idea of social media is to share updates and highlights of our life. We are fascinated by it! We even follow stars we don’t personally know to read and see their last post.

We highlight the good, fun, and interesting part of our day.

Take for example, this picture I took the other day and posted to instagram.

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An outdoor picnic on a beautiful day with two sweet girls. Awww isn’t it sweet? And it was…at this particular moment.

What I DIDN’T post was 10 minutes before that when our youngest peed in her pants. Or when our oldest exclaimed how this was the best idea ever…until a mosquito bit her and it instantly turned into the “worst idea ever”.

Scrolling through my recent feed you can also find pictures of the hubs and I on a date, some DIY projects we have done in the kitchen, my recent batch of canned tomatoes, and of course, cute pics of the kids. And then it hit me….EUREKA!! It almost looks like I have it all together! This is not good! I have a blog called imperfect people for crying out loud! And then I laughed hysterically knowing how I am truly far from perfect.

What you WON’T find on my feed is pics of hubs and I in an argument, the flaws and frustrations in our DIY projects, the huge mess that was our kitchen after canning tomatoes, and when the kids are driving us to the funny farm.

The problem is, We compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

The truth is, my reality is messy, unorganized, without makeup, designer clothes, famous names or places. My typical uniform consists of a T shirt, faded shorts, no make up and a ponytail. In fact I typically look like a college student that just rolled out of bed (that is prematurely aging). I can’t possibly keep a clean house no matter how hard I try, and every time I think I am spiritually “mature” I am knocked down realizing how much I really, I mean REALLY need Jesus in every part of my life.

What I am coming to realize is EVERYONE feels this way. I know now behind the scenes of even the most “perfect post” are often far less than perfect. Reality is what makes us…well REAL!! It makes us who we are and who we are created to be.

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Emily from, Remodeling this life, says: I am learning each and every day that we all struggle with these things when we see other people’s lives. Is it just what we do –stuff down the bad stuff and put on a happy face? At least focusing on the happy face and the good stuff at the end of each day reminds that in the middle of all the bad, imperfect parts of me and my life, there is good to celebrate.

It’s a good reminder that we all have something worth sharing.

Celebrate with your friends their triumphs and journeys, but don’t compare yourself! It’s a trap that we can never escape.

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photo credit

We all have a mess behind the camera (often times literally when taking a picture of the house!!)

I am certainly not suggesting we share the less than perfect times in our lives but certainly DON’T stop sharing the good stuff!

Social media is a wonderful thing. I almost forgot how we got along without it! But it is merely a glimpse at each other’s life. Reality if often much different. Even when reality isn’t great, sharing the few nuggets of “awesome” in your day make you, and all your friends smile. And with that…my latest post:

I’m off to eat some “perfection!”

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Personal testimoney of love and loss through infertility and adoption Bessie’s story:

I am honored to share with you, my dear friend, Bessie’s story. She has been such a picture of Jesus to me and everyone around her as she has walked through the painful and beautiful road of love and loss through infertility, pregnancy, and adoption. Here is God’s story, in Bessie Cameron:

I’ve always had a heart for children, a desire to one day be a Mom was in my heart since I was much younger. When I married, my husband and I battled infertility. During this time when we kept trying to use medical technology to start a family, we also felt led to become foster parents. Our lives were touched by several beautiful children we had in our home, in October 2009 we were able to adopt our first child, Leila Bess. Just prior to her adoption, we also FINALLY achieved a pregnancy thru in vitro fertilization (IVF)! It was more than we ever dreamed! We were blessed with a precious new baby AND I was pregnant! But at 20 weeks devastation occurred. My body went into labor far too early and we lost our precious son, Jameson. Over the next two years we took a break from medical treatments and prayed about God’s plan for our family. We still had many embryos frozen, and we were not sure whether IVF or maybe another option like surrogacy or adoption was our calling. We even had a dear friend offer to carry the baby!

Towards the end of this time we gave a few more attempts at IVF- many that had to be canceled due to my adenomyosis, and we had two failed transfers.

We decided to take another break and really pray about the will of God in our lives and for our family. During this time I read the inspiring story- Kisses from Katie. We discussed it and prayed nightly. That’s when Gods will was clear to my husband and I…adoption. It was a way we could help out an unborn baby, a woman with an unplanned pregnancy, and expand our family. We did a home study and spread the word amongst friends and family.

Within a few months we found a young woman who needed us. She was all alone in her pregnancy with no support. We began walking with her and helping give her our support and leading her to resources. I knew all along that there was always a chance she could change her mind, but I felt we were walking with her and that we were right where God wanted us to be. I knew He would be faithful.

Lily was born in late May; I cut the cord after helping the mother, with my sweet friend who agreed to be her Doula, through an all night labor. We took Lily home and were thrilled to have a new addition into our family. We loved on sweet Lily for 12 days and then the unimaginable happened: the birth mother texted me to tell me she had changed her mind.

She wanted to parent Lily. I lost it, and I panicked! I was filled with fear. I thought and said things I shouldn’t. There was some question as to whether the change of heart had come too late for us to have to legally return her. Some people advised us to fight for her, saying it would be in her best interest in the long run. After several days of meeting with counselors, the birthmother, and consulting with Godly friends, I realized what we needed to do.

During one of those early morning feedings I examined the word of God, the ultimate resource for all of life’s problems, for how to handle disagreements and whether going to court was the right answer. I knew all along the right answer, and in retrospect I know that the reason I knew it was because the Holy Spirit resides in me. That night I read of kindness, forgiveness, and I knew what the next painful steps would be. At the same park where we first met, 2 months prior, we gave our precious Lily back to her mother. Not only was this a devastating loss emotionally, but financially as well. We lost the baby we thought was ours, but we also lost the money invested in lawyers, counselors, travel and other expenses. Much of that was not refunded. Not only that, I was worried we would not be able to now afford another adoption.

A week past and I returned home to Florida. I got a text from a dear friend asking if I had read her emails and texts and what I thought about this new situation. I went back and read them and couldn’t believe my eyes! When I had asked her to pray for us in the midst of our crisis- she had responded that God may already be moving. There was another baby!

She was to be born exactly 1 month after Lily’s due date. My husband and I prayed about it, and decided we would again open our hearts and our home. This birthmother needed us even more, and was so grateful for us to adopt her baby girl. Baby Libby Grace was born on July 4, 2012.

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She has been in our arms ever since! The birth mother signed over her rights in the hospital. I have hesitated to tell our story, because until recently we were still waiting to see if the possible birthfather had registered to claim paternity. He did not! After this there will be several other formal steps of adoption to go through before it is final. We look forward to that day, when we know for sure she is ours to keep!

We’ve built our family through adoption and have been blessed beyond belief! We are so grateful for the support and encouragement we’ve found in friends and family along the journey! It is so worth it!!

Thank you Bessie for sharing your beautiful life story with us. I am excited there is a fun (and stylish) way we can help support Bessie’s family through their journey of adoption! These adoption tee’s sell for $15. ALL PROCEEDS go to help support domestic adoption!

100% cotton tee designed by Catalyst Promotions. The front reads: “Love makes a family” and the back reads, “I didn’t give you life, but life gave me the gift of you” Support Adoption. You know you want one!

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Sizes

 

Capturing 2

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Our precious Ava turns 3 today! Her baby curls are growing out and her legs are growing long, loosing their cute little chubby nature. As much as I think I will never forget the cute little things she says and does time passes and many things are quickly forgotten.  Here is my best attempt at Capturing Two!

Dear Ava, Our full of personality little girl. You love to follow your sister everywhere she goes, yet you are independent to the core. You spend at least half an our a day putting you baby dolls to bed, checking on them, “reading” them a story…then…they are awake!

You say funny things like Pepper-minuite for pepermint. Your favorite place in our house is behind the recliner. Yesterday I cleaned up crayons. goldfish, a calculator, and all your pajamas stuffed in a bookbag.

I think it’s just a ploy to stay awake longer but most nights when we put you to bed you say, “Wait!! I need to give my sister some love!” And I think it’s too cute to say no.  It’s better than your earlier “two’s” when you would take all of your clothes off when you were supposed to be sleeping. We put your zipped up (footless) sleepers on backwards, where they to fix that…one time you still got out of it.

You make us laugh with your determination to wear crazy things and think it’s perfectly normal.

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You are a mini-me in so many ways.  You don’t mind getting dirty digging up worms in the garden yet you are often spotted cleaning the floor with a baby wipe.  No one can tell you what to do (a good and bad trait).  And you love taking care of people.

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Precious Ava, you are such a gift. Your dad and I love your silly ways and your gentle spirit. Happy Birthday sweet girl!
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To my mom on mother’s Day

I don’t think I ever knew how much my mom loved me until I had kids of my own.

My mom is pretty amazing. She won’t let me spend money on her for mother’s day but I can at least tell her how much I appreciate her!

She drops everything and drives 3 hours to help if I need her.

She has an amazing ability to rid stains from our kids clothes.

She has TONS of energy. I thought I was an energizer bunny but I think she has me beat.

She never pays full price for anything.

She LOVES to watch our kids (both of them) for a week at a time…AND take them to theme parks…both of them…Yea it’s pretty awesome.

Our girls think she is the coolest

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And I have to agree

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Happy Mother’s day mom!

Seasons of life

I wish you could hear the birds outside singing and smell the sweet air as I enjoy the screen door open on this beautiful spring morning. 
In a few months summer will bring its long hot days and it will soon be hard to even remember cool mornings and barren trees. 
But just as the seasons come and go so do seasons of our life. 
 
I recently met a friend who gave me priceless parenting advice.  She simply said,  “There is so much time before and after your kids are young to do all you want to do, enjoy the time when they are little, it is a short season of life.”
 
I realize this is not revolutionary information, but for me it was a simple reminder that we all have SEASONS of life. 
 
When we were newly weds and bought our first home I had a season of DIY and crafts. I painted everything I got my hands on and tried my best to fix everything with a glue gun. 
 
When we had two children in less than two years we were in survival season.  I honestly don’t remember much about those early months with both babies, but we made it through so I am considering that a good season. 
  
Currently our girls are two and four and I LOVE this stage.  They are a little more independent and sooo IMAGINATIVE.  I love watching our living room be transformed to a ball for a princess to dance or a doctors office for sick stuffed animals.
 
Today I rarely do any house hold projects, and I no longer have infants to care for, BUT I am cooking much more than I used to and working part time.
 
You canot be everything you want to be all in one season of life.  Give yourself grace remembering that your responsiblities change, your passions change, and God always places you in the right place at the right time. 
 
Seasons will come and go despite my efforts to make them stand still or rush them along. 
 
All I can do is BE PRESENT.  My life is taking place right before my eyes.  I can view my season and think it is not all I want or I can realize all i have and “stop to smell the flowers”
 
Wherever you are today I hope you have time to take in some spring and be thankful for your current season of life. 
Tell me about your season of life?

Mom guilt

Faced with the overwhelming responsibility of mothering the next generation; mothers often feel like we are not doing enough, or not doing it just right. 

I am certainly guilty of this myself, and I have never met another mom who didn’t feel the same. 

Although it’s a positive sign that we’re trying to do our best, we need to learn to let it go so that we can be our best.   A guilty conscience is doing no one any good, if anything it is just causing frustration.  Either a change needs to be made or an acceptance needs to take place. 

Truthful Guilt:

In this type of guilt there really is something that could be better.  What is nagging over your head that you know needs to be changed?   You have put it off for whatever reason.  Let’s not wait any longer.  Our children are growing up everyday, let’s take steps today to make our tomorrow the best it can be

Guilt from Unrealistic expectations:

I feel like my picture should be beside these words with a stamp on my forehead saying “guilty”.  Actually, I do need a picture for this post….

We compare ourselves to our neighbor who has a beautiful yard, our best friend whose children can recite the entire bible (minor exaggeration), the one whose home is always immaculate, and the one who is always doing craft projects with her kids. 

My favorite saying around here is, “We compare ourselves to what others are on the outside to what we know to be true of ourselves on the inside”

Yes Sally (names changed to protect the innocent) may be crafty, but I bet she doesn’t have the talent you do! Be thankful for Sally’s talent and note that she probably doesn’t have yours! 

We all have at least one talent, but not one of us have all the talent. 

Most importantly comparing ourselves to others is a lose, lose battle.  The only perfect one worthy of comparing ourselves to is Jesus.  He was not a mom, but  He was an amazing and effective teacher.  He corrected and showed grace at all the right times. He was selfless and He loved….like REALLY LOVED, even when we didn’t deserve it.  What a model!!

When you feel the unwelcome feeling of guilt creeping in again:

  1. Determine if it is true or unrealistic guilt
  2. If it is true: Do something. Make the changes right then, or take steps to make the situation better.
  3. If it is untrue.  Thank God for making  you the mother that you are.  Focus on what you do well.  And enjoy doing what you do best with your kids. 

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

What do you think? Do you carry mom guilt? I love your comments!

Dear Hannah, on your birthday

Precious Hannah,

I can hardly believe four short years ago you were born.  Your daddy and I were told our lives would change forever but we didn’t believe it until we we met you. 

We were told we would experience love on a whole new level, but we didn’t know it until we held you

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I remember the day we took you home from the hospital.  I looked at you,  fast asleep in your bed. I was a new mom, overwhelmed with emotion.  I barely knew you yet I would do ANYTHING for you. I didn’t understand how someone so small that couldn’t even (yet) love me back had just become such an important part of me!

Then God whispered…that is a glimpse of my Love. 

God has a crazy BIG, selfless, HUGE, relentless, and unexplainable love for his children.   If my imperfect self could love this child SOO much, how much more does God love me! 

 You have grown into such a precious little girl.  You love all things girly, pink, and princess.  You love your baby sister and you are so considerate of others. 

 

  You say funny things like, “When I grow up I want to be a mermaid, and if that doesn’t work I want to be Rapunzel let down your hair”  You also say you sister wants to be a water buffalo…yes a water buffalo…random I know….you got it from a book.    

You are a very social little girl and love to play with friends.  When friends are not around or your sister is napping you have imaginary “brothers and sisters” that have a “tall tall airplane” and you play with them often.  We have yet to get a clear answer on their names or residence but their parents names are Katie and Bryan so we feel pretty good about that.  

  

Everyday you request to wear a “beautiful dress” and you usually change clothes about 4 times a day. 

You love to play school, dance, and “baby and mommy.” 

 

(I absolutely LOVE this picture, Thanks Grandma!  Nice snap!)

You are a precious gift.  I am overwhelmed and honored that God chose me to be your mom.  You remind me of His big crazy love everyday. 

Happy Birthday Hannah Grace!

Love,

Mom

 

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Kisses from Katie

Today’s post testimony of Katie Davis.  Recently Catalyst conference couldn’t keep her book on the shelves!  It  has become a NY times best seller.  Read her story to find out why:

Katie Davis, beautiful girl next door from Tennessee.  She was homecoming queen, drove a convertible, and planned to go to college.

After high school she went to Uganda for an opportunity to teach kindergarten at an orphanage in a small village.

It was supposed to be a 10 month commitment.

She experienced  poverty, hurt, and oppression on a whole new level.  She knew she had to do something, anything, to help. 

“Mothers feed their children dirt or the dregs from the local alcohol distillery, or they sneak out at night and sell their bodies in order to put a little food on the table in the morning. Babies are left in pit latrines. People are degraded, robbed, raped, and lied to, and a large yellow sun sparkles on the vast expanse of the Nile River. It is horrifying. And yet God is before all things and in Him all things hold together, and even in the hard and the ugly there is beauty.”

-Katie Davis describing Uganda (source)

One night, in January 2008, a mud hut down the road from the orphanage collapsed on three small orphans during a rainstorm. Davis couldn’t find any living relatives willing to take any of the girls, and she refused to send them to an overcrowded orphanage.

Three days later, the youngest called her mom. 

Davis then rented a house to accommodate the three girls. Over the next 18 months, 10 more girls moved in, all from different circumstances. 

Today, 22 year old Katie is the mom to 13 girls and living in Uganda.  Believe it or not, that is just the beginning of Katie’s ministry!

 

She has established a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Amazima Ministries International.  In the Luganda language, Amazima means “truth.”

Amazima offers a child sponsorship program, matching orphaned and vulnerable children who are unable to afford schooling with sponsors anywhere in the world. Sponsors pay $300 per year to send one child to school, providing school supplies, 3 hot meals each day, spiritual discipleship, and medical care.

Originally planning to have 40 children in the program, today the program sponsors over 400 children.

Katie also reached out to the Karimojong people of the Masese community. The poorest of the poor, and losing their children to malnutrition and starvation at an astounding rate. She started a feeding program to the community, nourishing over 1,600 children. This allows the children to attend school and therefore not go to the street to beg. Also provided is medical care, Bible study, and general health training.

As friendships developed with the Karimojong people, Katie wanted to help the women in the village provide for their families. She initiated a self-sustaining vocational program to empower these women to make unique Ugandan magazine bead necklaces. They are also taught money management skills. The necklaces made by the Karimojong women are purchased and sold in the United States. (Christmas gifts anyone??)

 

 

Katie says, “People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people.”

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