For most of my life, I was trying to be #her. You know her. She has beautiful flowing hair. Her house is all so beautiful and homey – yet organized – a bit like the cover of Home and Garden. I never saw her show up anywhere looking less than perfect, while I wore my hooded sweatshirt and sweats, hoping to blend into the walls.
And her children! She managed to show up at church (remember, perfectly attired) with three children walking in a row all in matching outfits. Yup – never me. I remember sitting in awe as I listened to her tell about walking around the block with her kids. Truthfully, it was more than I could imagine. It didn’t matter that she had 2 kids and I had 4 in the same age range. Somehow I thought I should be able to be her.
Have you noticed – my perfect woman wasn’t just one woman. Somehow my mind took best of all the women I knew and designed “#her.”
Then one day, my life started to change. I sat on the couch breastfeeding my youngest. I was averaging 3-5 hours a sleep a night – in shifts – because two of my children didn’t like to sleep. I was working from home with a 2am deadline – and my house was a disaster. Seriously, a disaster. I looked at the floor, covered in the evidence of our life, and prayed “God, would you please help me get this floor vacuumed today?” The cacophony of exhaustion rattled back at me. About 30 minutes later, my 2-year-old decided he was hungry. He went to get breakfast, and then gleefully dumped an entire box of Rice Krispies on the floor. As I cleaned up his mess, and found myself vacuuming the whole house (once the vacuum is out the rest is easy), I saw God’s deliverance. That was the beginning of many similar miracles. I was amazed – God cared about what I cared about! I could rely on Him for the things that seemed so…daily.
Today, my house is mostly clean (I think my husband might beg to differ). My house is beginning to look the way I like, and even on the worst days I can find clean within an hour. Last year I realized something: “The reason your mother in law’s house is so beautiful is because she has time and a lot fewer people living there.”
Somewhere along the way I figured out that perfection isn’t the goal – humanity is. Alicia Britt Chole calls those years we are buried in humanity the “anonymous” years.
We see others as having value, but often fail to see our own. We search for signs of intelligent life and discover stained clothing, dirty rugs, piles of laundry, and (often) jobs that barely match our skills. Then, like a plant buried under so much “fertilizer”, we start to rise.
Our new stalks glisten, our leaves look full. We start to reap the rewards of being buried in dirt and fertilizer. Then, one day, we realize “she” has become me. #iamher