I gave away my first kiss when I was 16. It was to a boy that I probably should not have kissed. One red flag: he had just had a piece of pizza right before he decided kissing me was a good idea. (Tip: don’t kiss someone after you’ve eaten pizza.) This boy was also younger than me, not that age matters (since I’m older than Evan…by four months), but when you’re in high school…let’s just say it matters.
I valued myself, even when I was giving away a kiss to a pizza-breath freshman. Maybe not as much as I should have in that moment, but I knew. I knew that I was deeply loved by a big God, and I was lucky enough to embrace that before I entered high school. I believed I was worth more than what a guy could tell me.
I was also woefully inconsistent. I would like boys for longer than I should have, spending hours writing about them in my journal and some fabricated future I had come up with. I wanted badly to be loved.
When I began seriously dating my now husband, I stopped investing time with my best friends. I wouldn’t consider it a detrimental sin, but it wasn’t healthy. I made the mistake of replacing some of the best women I knew with a man who I loved incredibly deeply. I love my husband, but my best friends, my women…their companionship is different, and oh so necessary.
As a new wife and mom, I thought my value was found in how clean my house was or how good of a dinner I could come up with. I secluded myself from my friends, and I dove deep into impressing nobody but myself. (I was a tough crowd.)
It’s really true, about everything: nobody actually knows what we’re doing. We’re all just faking it until we feel it, and that’s what motherhood, being a wife, and this new post-pregnancy woman I had become felt like.
Being a woman, being myself, has been like this. There are hundreds of stories between these ones where I feel like I make a fool of myself. I do something stupid. I hurt people. I think less of who I am, as if I am only as good as my mistakes. I can’t imagine what perfection must feel like, because I’ve never been there. I have always been unimpressed with my own lacking.
Maybe it’s time that brings it or experience, but there came a point where I stopped believing that I was this woman, this woman full of mistakes and coming up short; the one who quit when it got hard; the woman who was hindered by her children or encumbered by the duties of being a stay-at-home mom and wife. “This is all I will ever be!” I would say, as if whatever I was at that moment was not living up to a standard no one had set but me.
God is different. He works differently than our minds can fully understand. We know that He sent His only Son to die. We know He didn’t ask us for anything. We know that there is never a thing we can do to repay Him. We know that He doesn’t ever want us to.
My imperfection is perfect for God, for it is the perfect canvas for Him to create His greatest work.
If a stay-at-home mom and wife is all I’ll ever be, then my ministry is full. My work is laid out. “All I’ll ever be” is more than I had hoped for in the beginning.
I am not everything I failed at; I am not a product of my mistakes. Grace is on me, God’s love sustains me, His arms keep me.
Everything I need to be is everything He is.
It is never about perfection. It is always about believing He is perfect, that He is everything I am not, and that I have no weights to carry because of it.
He didn’t have to save us. He didn’t have to redeem us. He didn’t have to give us grace so deep that we cannot escape it. But He did. And confession: getting to bring my baggage, all of my ridiculous stories and mistakes, and dropping them at His feet makes me feel like the woman I always wanted to be. Free.