Thursday, December 13, 2012

Look at me! My life is perfect!

Hello Facebook Friend,
        Each day you see a glimpse into my little slice of the American Dream.  You've seen my 1/4 acre yard where the children help me grow a ridiculously productive garden (without pesticides, of course).  You've seen my children snuggling in pajamas while I read.  You've seen us camping, canoeing and wakeboarding.  You've seen our family baking, grilling and delivering food to a shelter.  You've seen choir performances, winning goals, perfect attendance awards and pints of homemade pickles.  You've "liked" pictures of my husband and I singing karaoke duets, swimming with manatees and pedaling a bicycle made for two.  We "check-in" at places like church, Texas state parks, Whole Foods, and community theater productions of "The Miracle Worker".  When I'm feeling transparent,  I might even upload a pic of the jar of spaghetti sauce my "little helper" dropped on the floor, or the un-rolled roll of toilet paper shredded by my cat.

But friends, what you have seen is one, giant, marshmallow-roasting-tent-pitching-cookie-decorating-completed-Pinterest-project-themed-birthday-party-throwing-my-house-is-always-clean illusion. 

An illusion isn't the same as a lie.  Those moments, the ones I choose to share with 1,472 of my closest friend on earth... they actually exist.  An illusion creates an altered perception of reality.  A distortion of what is true.  And one of the many things I haven't shared on FB, but will share with you in this blog is... I'm a talented illusionist.

Allow me to draw back the curtain for a moment.  Here's the truth, friends:

My life is very blessed.  My home is warm, my used cars are paid for, my closet runneth over (with clothes I wish were 2 sizes smaller), my children are amazing and my husband is hot.  But those precious, hilarious moments that fill up my FB feed... are simply mountaintops that overlook many sorrows, trials and mistakes in my life.

Not a day goes by that I don't struggle to be a woman of God, supportive wife, and gentle mother to my children. Adoption is hard.  It's the hardest thing I've ever done.  My children are all unique, growing, active and hungry for attention.  Some of them have experienced trauma and abuse which can make parenting them more intense and exhausting.  I yell at my kids more than I would ever want anyone to know or overhear, and some days I am just counting down the minutes until bedtime. My house is a disaster 6.5 days out of 7. My job is demanding and I have a hard time stepping away from my laptop, so often I work until the wee hours of morning.  My friendships and house plants suffer for lack of nurturing.  Some days I'm pretty sure there isn't enough of me to go around.  At times I question why God would ask so much of me.

And every once in a while as we're driving down the road, while my kids sing along with Raffi, I cry quietly behind my sunglasses because I feel so overwhelmed.

Then I pull into Sonic and eat some mozzarella sticks with my diet coke.  But the car-hop tells me the total, and I realize it's not Happy Hour, and I feel bad spending money because I over-spent at Walmart this week and bought myself a new waffle iron at Target and we're supposed to be setting aside money for new tires for the van. But who wants to see an Instagram shot of me, with bloodshot eyes, scarfing down fried cheese? No one! So I keep it to myself.

But why do I present a rose-colored version of my life to the world?
Do you want to know the ugly truth [for once] instead of my candy-coated song and dance?
Then keep reading.

I'm motivated by vanity, shame and fear.

I obscure the truth of my own weakness so I come off looking strong and brave.  I'm ashamed of what I'm lacking, so I highlight my own successes.  I'm afraid that the truth will ruin my reputation, so I present a false reality.  I laugh when I feel like crying, act fearless when my knees are knocking, and act like I have it altogether when I'm a hot mess.

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” Psalm 139:1-5

He sees it all. Not just the Facebook version of who I am.  So how does God see me?

"His banner over me is love." Song of Solomon 2:4.  He knows my vanity, shame and fear (and SO much more), but what He sees when he looks at me... is love.

I'm letting you see what my life looks like when all those plates I'm spinning come crashing down.  When my son runs away.  When debt creeps in.  When I'm not the mom I want to be.  When we've had Ramen noodles for dinner 3 nights in a row.  I want you to know that although my life is beautiful, joyful, charming and adventurous... it is also sometimes hard, ugly, frightening, lonely and sad.  We all have struggles that we hide away from the world.  But God knows us.  Does that sounds creepy or scary to you?  God watching...  God knowing...  It may to some of you, but friends there is good news!  The world may not offer much grace for our shortcomings, but I have found the grace I am looking for in Christ.  And when we learn to accept grace from Him... we have more grace to offer those around us.  And that helps free us from our vanity, fear and shame.

So, can you expect me to start posting unflattering pics of myself or statuses that bare my soul? Nope.
Not a chance.
No way.
I'm still a work in progress*.

*And so are my cake-pops.  So, before I take a picture of them, I take all the lumpy ones off the tray, eat all the broken ones, then post a picture of the half dozen I managed not to ruin.