About Me

My photo
I now live in Victoria, after a couple years on the North Shore of Vancouver, and a (too) brief time in the prairies. Working as an artist, mother and wife (not necessarily in that order), i am striving to live well, to find the truth of God in all things, and to pass on this truth to others.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

this dark day

i have always appreciated this day - this space between crucifixion friday and resurrection sunday.
for years i've called it "dark saturday" - which i know is not its liturgical name, but who's to stop me? i appreciate it because i empathize with it.  i can not fathom what it would be like to step out of a rocking boat and feel the water solid beneath my feet.  my imagination does not stretch far enough to deeply experience the fear and wonder of demons being thrown into pigs, or a man dead for days walking out of a tomb.  but this day i get.  i can easily place myself into the skin of peter.
shock.
guilt.
bewilderment.
despair.
anger.

an entire day of hiding and feeling and pain.

i am wondering this morning why Jesus waited a day.  why didn't he rise on saturday?  on the sabbath?  it would have thematically matched his many teachings about the sabbath being for man and not the other way around.  it would have saved the disciples this darkness and agony.

i am coming to believe that so much of the life of Christ is a consistent echo of these words "i understand your pain".

illegitimate birth.  refugee status.  menial labour.  sleepless nights.  burdening responsibility. discomfort, homelessness, betrayal.  he was seduced, blamed, accused, misunderstood.  he endured physical pain,  emotional torture,  spiritual abandonment.

a man of sorrows, intimate with pain.

and so much of the disciples' lives - the humanity he entrusted with his teachings and secrets and friendship - provide snapshots of my experience.  my passionate following, my gross denial, my thwarted intelligence, moments of deep faith and open betrayal.

enter into all this empathy the gaping hole of saturday.  this darkest of days.  no comfort, no safe harbour, no words or actions to diminish the helplessness and hopelessness.  and it makes me feel strangely embraced.  i am not alone in the darknesses of my life.  others have stood here with me - others with much more reason for encouragement - men and women who literally walked with Jesus, touched him, were healed and educated and fed by the man himself.  they were even warned, multiple times, in no uncertain words that this would happen, and that it would not be the end.  and yet, here they are, like i sometimes am - sitting for an entire day in the dark.

i wonder if there were any of them who tried to remind the rest. "hey, guys, remember when he told us he would die and then would come back to life?"

did it come off as an empty platitude?  a "God is good all the time and all the time God is good!" or "all things work for good for those who love him!" or "the sun is still shining behind the storm!"(notice there always seems to be an exclamation mark after these sentences)...... words that in and of themselves are perfectly true but make me want to slap the person who says them to me.

i bet they did.  i wonder if he/she was slapped.

however.

if the disciples had listened.  if they had remembered.  if they could truly treasure in their hearts the gift that sunday would be - the beyond-explanation-miraculous-global-gift that would forever change history and life and eternity - would saturday have been so dark?

and can i, in my darkest of days, somehow cling to the truth that God truly, TRULY, is good all of the time?  that he himself will make all things well?  that his faithfulness is as sure as the sun which remains steady at the center of our universe?

i appreciate this day because it gives a certain credibility to the fact that in this life of discipleship there will be days that feel a lot closer to hell than heaven.  that finding myself in a bereft state does not necessarily mean i have flung widely off course.

i also appreciate that it is a limited time.  and that brings me hope.

but what i appreciate the most is when i use my imagination and see myself visiting one disciple - let's say mary magdalene.  i hold her cold hands and look into her empty eyes and whisper to her - 'everything changes tomorrow'.

may we find the strength in our darkest of days to cling tightly to the truths that we know in our heads, though we do not feel them or see them in our experience.  may we take moments to visit ourselves, to look in our own eyes, and compassionately say "i am sorry this is a dark saturday. sunday is coming".

Saturday, April 1, 2017

risky truths

i am going to tell you, whoever you are, a risky truth about myself.  here is it.

i'm just going to say it.

here goes.

maybe before I tell you this truth I should preface it with a little backstory because I'm stalling.  this is something I have felt for many years, and have told others, and am usually rewarded with an awkward smile - a smile that says "really" (awkward pause) "ha ha.....really?".  i have tried to overcome it, with success in various life stages, but it never lasts for very long and i've decided in my forties that i just need to embrace it.

i do not like exercise.
there, i've said it, and i'm not taking it back.  and i see you staring at your screen with that smile thinking "really?".   this is no lie.  and although i know that admitting this is akin to blasphemy in this day and age, especially here on the west coast, i know i'm not alone.  there are others out there like me, others who buy workout clothing to clean the house in, others who would much rather read a novel than go for a run, others who think that cardio is slow torture.

our family went on holidays with another family this spring break - a family of exercise junkies. these friends wake up before the sun, eager to strap on the lycra and get out in the rainstorm.  they had run a few K, made breakfast and had family game time before i even opened my eyes in the morning.
and that's awesome.  that is truly amazing.  but i don't want to.

my idea of exercise is a brisk walk with a friend - a walk that is more about the friend than the heart rate.  i will never own a fit bit.  i do not care how fit my bits are.  ok, that's not true - i do care, just not enough to get on a spin bike (aka hell torture).   i also enjoy yoga - slow stretching that ends with me flat on my back breathing deeply for 3 minutes to realign my spine.  yes - that is the exercise that calls to me.  and i still have to drag my butt onto the mat.

one of my best friends feels closest to God, closest to experiencing his love and beauty when she "has sweat dripping off her wrists" (that is a direct quotation).  if i ever see sweat dripping off any part of my body i can assure you heavenly glory is the furthest thing from my mind.

i don't want to go for early morning runs.  or late morning.  or anytime after noon.  i don't want to go for a hike (unless it's sunny but still cool and my friends are going and there will be snacks at the end and maybe during).  i don't want to bike up hills.  i don't want to skip rope.

there are reasons - first, i don't like the feeling that my heart is going to explode from my chest when my heart rate climbs - i truly feel as though i'm going to die - not so much "i am experiencing Jesus", more like "i'm about to see Jesus".   second, i have no gross motor skills, so sports are out.  OUT.  and i'm not being humble, i am being realistic.  i have lots of fine motor skills and you can't have everything in life. third, i am watching many friends and family members dealing with crappy knees/hips/backs due to sports and i would rather continue to not wake up early to feel like i'm dying so that one day i can have knee replacement surgery.

i choose sleeping in, gentle stretches, and happy knees.

i know that some of you are concerned for my health.  let me put you at ease.  i was just at the doctors and i mentioned having low blood pressure.  she said "that just happens sometimes with healthy people who eat well and exercise - you just have to be careful not to stand up too quickly".  i didn't have the heart to correct her.  sorry dr. forrester!  good thing i don't lift weights or my blood pressure would be like a deflated balloon.

while i'm at it i might as well also confess that i like to keep my house clean, wear dresses and cook (sometimes all at once!).  YIKES.  that was a lot.  if you're feeling a little frustrated with me at the moment might i suggest a quick run?  i hear they're perfect for blowing off steam.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

enough for today

Scott just returned from a week away and just before he left a dear friend encouraged me to "keep my expectations low".  so, for 7 days i've been operating under the banner of "good enough".  cleaning, eating, and sometimes parenting...there have been many hours of movie watching with the kids (superhero movies to be exact because for some reason i'm the fan in this marriage),  nutritionally exempt choices (weiners wrapped in pillsbury croissant dough for dinner was a low point) and getting the dishes done was the extent of my cleaning (ok, i swept too).  i was explaining these good enough actions to my friend dawn yesterday and she said "oh how the mighty have fallen".  true true.  which is why it's never good to think of me as mighty.

i've had the song "enough" by Sara Groves looping in my head for days:
late nights, long hours
questions are drawn like a thin red line
no comfort left over
no safe harbour in sight
really we don't need much
just faith to believe
there's honey in the rock
there's more than we see
these patches of joy
these stretches of sorrow
there's enough for today
there'll be enough tomorrow

this song was a gift from my brother-in-law a year and a half ago, and truly pushed me through some hard anxiety-ridden days.  and there was enough.  there was always enough - enough compassion, enough tenderness, enough coffee and friendship and light for the next day.  sometimes more than enough, and sometimes scraping the bottom of the bowl.

yesterday i was reading in the Bible about the Israelites in the wilderness after being rescued from Egypt.  i remember reading these stories as a teen and thinking "what is their problem.... stop complaining and just trust!  i mean, God just literally parted a sea for you!!!" and that Prince of Egypt movie didn't help - the whale in the wall of water?!!!  come on!

but now i read these stories and think - i would totally do that.  i would forget, and fear, and see the hunger and thirst in my children's eyes and get angry.  i would totally have been up in Moses' face, complaining and questioning.  why are we here?  why did God bring us out here for this pain?  i know i would totally do that because i have done it, many many times.

then God sends manna.  just enough for each day - no more (except before sabbath which is incredible and worthy of a whole other post).  and we read that it's a test, a test of trust.  can these mothers and fathers collect just enough for one day and trust that in the morning there will be more? one day at a time.

i've heard about an orphanage during one of the world wars where they started allowing children to sleep with a loaf of bread.  these poor children were so afraid, they had lived through such destitution, scrounging around for morsels to eat until they were rescued, that the only way they would truly rest was in the security of knowing they would have enough to eat for the next day.  they slept with the bread in their arms, like security blankets, or teddy bears.

i feel like this is a season, again, of trust.  i find myself scrounging and need to remind myself of manna, of enough.  i am trapped by my responsibility - the belief i have to find a way to make some money and help keep this household afloat - and wake up in the mornings with my jaw screaming from clenching my teeth all night.  here's what God reminded me this week:  i am not responsible for this.  i am responsible for following the cloud, for warming myself by the fire, and trusting for the bread in the morning.

He has promised there will be enough.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

and one more time (with feeling)

it's hard to know where to start.  because, well, it's been a while.  my last post was the fall of 2015 and my life is dramatically different.  not in the ways that count - still married to scott and mother of two and still committed to Jesus and painting and cooking yummy meals and laughing with friends.  still me.  but there has been a plot twist, and the setting has changed.

sometimes i feel as though the story of our little family has had too many climactic points.  just when we're settling ourselves into a prolonged denouement up goes the action and it's buckle your seatbelts for another wild ride.
the last climax was scott losing his job in north vancouver.  suddenly and painfully and honestly, without the needed character development that would have prepared me for it.  right before the climax hit scott and i were over at Barnabas camp - he was leading worship there and had fandangled me a night away with him.  we asked for prayer  and i had this image of being high up on a sailboat, in the crows nest i believe it's called.  we were in a raging fearful storm - i was being whipped around while up on this pole, and i looked down at the deck to see a man i knew to be Jesus holding the wheel.  "i've got this" he said.
i had to remind myself of that image countless times in the coming season: while watching my husband walk from shattering self-doubt and disappointment to a place of confidence again in his calling; while witnessing the grief of my children who lost not only their familiar church but eventually their house and neighbourhood; selling our home in faith that we would know where our next would be before the closing date; and through my own anger and fears for the future: "i've got this".
and, He did.
and, i believe, He does.

so, the next chapter for janet anderson is set in beautiful victoria, bc.  hallelujah!  i remember thinking "where could we go in canada that's more beautiful than north vancouver?" and tah dah!  enter victoria:  small city of history and beauty, with charming buildings and festivals and waterfront, small shops for miles and beaches and spring beginning in january.  i get a peek at the ocean from my kitchen window, have deer munching on my bushes in my front yard, my kids go to schools with great teachers who seem to have been tailor-made for each of them (He's got this!) and we are mere blocks from our new church: lambrick park.

it is a good chapter, and i hope that i can begin to write again.

a couple days ago i read psalm 142 and these lines seemed to sum up the past couple of years quite well for me:
when i am overwhelmed
you alone know the way i should turn...
i pray to You oh LORD.
i say, "You are my place of refuge.
You are all i really want in life"

i'm hoping for years of denouement - i mean, small points of excitement and intrigue and surprise, but nothing as climactic as the last 6 years have been.  it is good to have space to look back and see the lines of faithfulness drawn across your life, to notice the recurring plot rhythms - whether positive or negative, and the ways in which the action has changed you.  i'm looking forward to sharing what i see and learn with you.

and if your story is a storm today:
 He's got this.



Sunday, September 13, 2015

new beginnings

it's a new day, Hallelujah!
the sun is spilling into the kitchen where i sit writing.  i have just picked no less then three vases worth of flowers from the garden.  the dehydrator still needs cleaning from drying tomatoes yesterday.  we just planted a dogwood in the front yard.  my kids are off playing with neighbours (my son is literally catching crayfish right now in the stream that runs through our property) - i hear their laughter or screeches every once and a while wafting in through the open windows.  or the open door.  the door that has been largely open all summer.  "come in, come in, come in!" i want our home to say. and it has.  neighbours and friends, but mostly this summer, carpenters and painters and dry-wallers, plumbers and electricians.
because on june 12th our house flooded.  
picture this:  i arrive home from zipping out with my friend marsha, who's visiting from Saskatoon with her three girls under the age of 5.  we've just been father's day gift shopping.  i show her older girls the lavender in my front yard as marsha unbuckles the baby from the carseat.  i show them how to hug the buds with your hands and then smell your fingers afterwards - heaven.  we walk up to the front door and i notice water dripping off of one side of the house.  "why is it only raining on that side of the house?" i wonder out loud.  i look at marsha and it hits us.  the water is coming out of the house from INSIDE the house.  
it takes me forever (10 seconds?) to get the front door open.  i rush up to my bedroom's ensuite and find that the water line which connects the toilet to the wall has snapped off and there is water spraying, like a power hose, out the ensuite door, into my bedroom, where it hits the light over my bed and shoots out all around the room.  
that was june 12th.  three days ago we got our bathroom back. two days ago we got our new mattress.  yesterday bedroom furniture.  today i feel like i'm walking out of the crazy.  which is why i'm saying, it's a new day, Hallelujah!
this summer has taught me some things about myself that i don't really like.  first, it seems my happiness and sense of sanity are directly correlated to the state of my home.  this isn't a total surprise, but i still don't like it.
second, i like to be in control.  it gives me a sense of, well, control.  and i like that.  i like to be in control when building ikea furniture with my husband.  i like to be in control when picking tile and replacement flooring.  i like to be in control in the kitchen, even when my husband is cooking (!).
if there's two things that a house flood will do for you, it will rip out your sense of control by the knees and make your home a total and utter disaster for months on end.  thank you, house floods everywhere, for helping us humans come to grips with our own depravity and need for Christ.  now that i've obviously learned these lessons, you may leave and never return.
back in june i do remember praying that God would use our home in the lives of all of the workers that would be coming through it,  and  i really feel that He has answered that prayer.  we've had hugs and thank you's and "it was a gift to work in your home".   we've tried to treat everyone with kindness and respect, we've introduced ourselves and offered coffee and chatted about dentures and churches and bus routes.  in truth, we have only offered a minimum amount of decorum, so it must be God's spirit at work.  but i also have to think, how are these hard working trades men treated in other homes that they seem so shocked when i want to shake their hand hello?
i do have a classic janet embarrassing moment to share with you.  i know, now you're all excited.  i see you Marilynne!  
the flood had ruined out bedroom and ensuite, but also the rooms below it - my studio (yes, but no paintings were ruined which is absolutely a miracle and makes me a little teary and possibly puts thoughts in my mind of God blessing me as an artist...anyways) and the bathroom and hallway in our rental suite.  so, scott and i had to sleep on a mattress on the floor in our family room for the summer.  the only working bathroom was upstairs, so we had to grab our clothing in the morning and carry it to the shower. no biggie.  so, one morning i've just grabbed said clothing and i'm heading upstairs, past the front door and in walks a carpenter that i haven't met before.  so, i introduce myself, shake his hand, walk him upstairs and ask what he's hoping to accomplish.  suddenly, in the midst of this conversation, i realize i am holding my bra in my hand, inches from his face (this is not the embarrassing moment, it gets worse).  so, i turn around and put my clothes on the couch and hide my bra in my shirt.  you know the drill.  
i turn back to talk to him, but now i'm flustered and feeling awkward and YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I FEEL THIS WAY.  i say "hey!  i like your beard" (as these words are coming out of my mouth i'm reflecting on the fact that i do NOT like his beard.  it is one of those stringy long whispy things.  my hairdresser calls the style "lumbersexual").
he answers "thanks.  most women don't like it"
and what do i do?  i'll tell you.  i say "oh NO!  it's great!  you're a carpenter and it says "carpenter".  it's doing it for me!"
it's doing it for me.
i said that.  
to his face.
at this moment i turn my body around, grab my clothing from the couch and walk to the bathroom.  when scott walks in a moment later i am standing staring in the mirror at myself.  i say to him
i just told the carpenter that his beard was "doing it for me".  
scott says
awesome!  he's going to work hard for us today!  i'm going to go hit on him too.
and he leaves the bathroom.
and i love my husband.  he is truly the most amazing man i have ever known.  he could not have said a better thing to me in that moment.
(and now you can all pray for me because this carpenter is scheduled to be here tomorrow and you KNOW WHAT HAPPENS when i feel flustered and nervous.  Lord have mercy.)
ok, off to go unpack some boxes and ogle some crayfish and make waffles for supper! thank you God for a husband who trusts me and neighbourhood friends and dinner plate dahlias and walls in my bedroom.   

Saturday, March 21, 2015

for many reasons

today is the eleventh birthday of my daughter, and i am thankful for a great many things:

  • that i do not watch horror movies
  • that i have two eyes
  • that i have a brother
  • that i have healthy children.

that might seem like an unusual list, but let me tell you about the last month of my life.

the phone rang at work, a strange trilling ring, and looking at the display the call seemed to be coming from my boss' office.  he was standing beside me.  "don't answer it" he said.
i answered it.
"hello?"
"hello this is ...... from .............. returning your call"
<pause>
"oookayyyy.....i'm sorry but it looks like you're calling from inside the building"
<pause>
"i am not inside the building"
"okay, but i heard about this horror movie where the guy keeps calling and then they find out he's inside the house....."
"i assure you I'm not inside the building"
"of course you're not.  sorry.  thank you for returning my call"
"no problem.  i've seen that movie"
"alright then you know that i'm about to get murdered at any moment"
"i assure you I am not inside the building...."

need i remind you that i work for a financial adviser?  and that it was a bank calling?  thank God i didn't actually WATCH that movie and was just told about it in hushed tones during grade 9 biology. what kinds of crazy would come out of my mouth if i had a whole two hours of images to choose from?

a few weeks ago my eye was hurting.  at first i thought it was my contacts, so i stopped wearing them for a few days, but when things got progressively worse i went to the doctor.  she looked into my eye. hold on, let me describe this doctor to you.  do you remember the show "talking sex with sue"?  a little healthier looking, but that's close.  she looked into my eye and diagnosed that there was a speck of something on my......on the......"iris?" i said.  "yes, that's it".  (warning bells should be now ringing in my brain, and were, but who am i to judge?).  she decided that she should freeze my eye with some drops and then "flick it off with a needle".  yes, you read that right: a needle.

i know you.  i know that right now you are cringing, your toes possibly curling in your socks, and you're thinking, "Why janet?  why would you let her?"

that is a good question.  let's think about that.  she seemed sincere i suppose.  she seemed like she wanted to help me.  i did ask if she had steady hands (stop rolling your eyes).  i do feel a great sense of inferiority when talking to a medical professional.  i mean, they go to school for a LONG time!

so there i was, with my head where countless backsides had lain, staring up into the gyno light with a frozen eye and dr. sue with a needle in hand scraping my iris.  it did not tickle.  it also did not help.
she sent me home and told me that she was going to get me in that afternoon to see an ophthalmologist.

as i walked home i quickly convinced myself that i had eye cancer and would be wearing a glass eye within the month.  i was greatly comforted by the fact that my friend Jenna is a one-eyed beauty, and she could inspire me to greatness.

no ophthalmologists were available.  i went to hospital emergency. they told me i had an ulcer and would have to see a specialist the next morning.

an ulcer.
in my eye.

sounds pretty brutal, and i got some lovely pity (why do i seem to be the only one out there that loves pity?) until the next morning when i was told the treatment for an eye ulcer is two weeks of drops.

but here's what i learned.  if i wasn't such a ridiculously imaginative hypochondriac i would not have felt the immense gratitude i experienced for the following few days.  i would not have looked into the faces of my prayer group and said enthusiastically "i'm so thankful for both of my eyes!!!"  see the good in this?

a few days after this hospital trip my brother was admitted into an Ontario hospital and diagnosed with gillian-barre syndrome.  he had had a flu and missed a couple days of work, and woke up the next morning feeling a bit better, stepped out of bed and fell on the ground.  by the time my sister-in-law returned from work he couldn't feel his feet or hands or face.  this syndrome can happen when you're body catches a virus - it stops your body from recognizing that the virus is gone, and your immune system starts attacking your healthy cells (at least, that's what i understand).  at one point the doctor said my brother's heart could stop at any moment.

to further complicate matters, my parents were hours away from flying to cuba, bringing much prayed-for medical supplies and other necessary items.  what a journey of faith and trust for them to get on that plane, knowing their son was battling a potentially deadly illness.  a week later, on my parents birthdays (they have the same one) they sat in a school of cuban evangelists, surrounded by men and women calling on God for the healing of my brother.  and He did.  my brother was sent home that day, with most of the feeling back in his hands and feet.  he did not need the walker the doctors prescribed.  he drove into his small Ontario town a week later.  this is a miracle, and i am so thankful that Jason Laing still walks the earth and makes people laugh and cares for his family and works with his capable hands.  i am SO thankful today to have a brother.

and to see my children, healthy and playful, my daughter getting birthday hugs from her brother and a card in his grade 2 penmanship that said "you are loved for many reasons by me".  i took her to see Cinderella and when the prince appeared i asked if she thought he was cute. "sort-of" she replied "but not as good as dad".  priceless.  what a gift to hold her hand in a theatre and remember her hand as a newborn, curling around my pinky.    


in all of this gratitude, the silly and the profound, there is a sadness, a current of grief that is tainting these moments of beauty.  tonight our cousin sits vigil beside her young daughter who lies in a hospital bed in Vancouver.  the leukemia that has been fought by countless prayers, a battery of drugs, and months of sacrifice and tenderness, has now appeared in her bones.  i think of her brothers being tested for bone marrow transfers.  i think of the hopelessness that must be scratching at the hearts of my cousins:  Shauna, a mother of multitude mercies.  David, a father of tenderness and grace.  and little Thea, tiny in her toque and discomfort.  please pray for them.  for healing.  for sleep.  for cancer-free blood and a hospital free life.    i am thankful for the privilege of knowing them, of standing with them in prayer and sharing a portion of their sorrow.  will you pray with us?


so much to be thankful for.  i am coming to believe that a full life is a life full of thankfulness.
may we have ears to hear all that calls us to gratitude.  


Monday, January 19, 2015

perfectionism is for losers

i was asked to speak at our church's mom's group - called "littles" - last week.  it always feels a little surreal when i'm asked to share somewhere; i mean, do people really want to listen to me?  and do i really have something to say?  especially on the topic of parenting...a subject matter that envelops a wide array of emotions for me.  i was asked to share what i have learned as a mother, and it was suggested that i frame the talk in chapter headings.  so, chapter 1:  perfectionism is for losers.  here's a snippet:

early on in my career as a parent, I realized that the term “perfect mother” was an unachievable notion.  it is sadly, one that is thrown about, but what would a perfect mother really be like?  how could you do this job perfectly and keep you sanity?

when my daughter was quite small I started seeing a counselor due to fits of uncontrollable anger I was experiencing.  she quickly diagnosed my perfectionism and asked me “would you want your daughter to have to live up to the ideal of perfection?  would you want to be friends with a perfect woman?”.  those were life-altering questions for me, because I realized that I would never want to lay the burden of perfection on anyone I loved, especially my child.  and I would never want to have a perfect friend.  how could I ever relate to her?  how could I share my struggles with her?  or complain with her? 

I started reflecting on the things I was doing as a mother because of the various voices in my head telling me that these actions were hallmarks of a “good mother”:  my mom had once said “a good mom makes chicken soup once a week”.  actually, what most likely happened is that i made the soup, told her about it, and she said "you're such a good mother". which, in my perfectionistic baby-brained sleep-deprived state, translated to become "make chicken soup every week from scratch if you want to be a good mother".   so I would make the freakin' soup and my daughter would refuse to eat it, and I would lose it because she was inhibiting me from being a ‘good mother’.  didn't she understand that I made the freakin' soup for her?!! ....!!!!! 

my mother-in-law had made a passing comment on how my house was so clean, so I kept it as spotless as possible, and had these horrible conversations in my head while I was cleaning, of her praising me, or of how my house was so much cleaner than this woman who was being mean to me, etc...  and then my poor toddler would dump her raisins on the floor (on purpose!) and I’d rage.

I realized that my desire to be a perfect mom was making me a horrible one.

a friend of mine who I really admire serves her family popcorn for dinner on Sundays so that they can relax and watch little house on the prairie together.  I have yet to reach this level of nonchalance, perhaps because if I don’t eat meat in a meal I’m ravenous an hour later, or perhaps the Canadian food guide is like a chain around my neck.  but I aspire to popcorn dinners.  or something akin to them. 

the goal of our parenting is not to raise perfect people, but healthy ones.  people that know both their flaws and God’s grace.  I want children who will laugh at themselves instead of others.  who practice gratitude daily.  who enjoy life deeply and see God’s best.  who trust their imperfections and the world’s imperfections to a perfect God.  and here’s the secret:  my children will not achieve this healthy state if they have a ‘perfect’ mother. 


*****
it was a good talk for me to have to speak out loud.  a beating away of the voices that circle my head like crows, a murder of crows, calling me to guilt and shame and slavery to perfectionism.  there are these life-long battles we fight that can feel so long and hard and dreary, sloth-ing our way through the mud, hesitant to look back on how long the road is behind us, terrified of looking forward at all that is to come.  tired.  then you speak, and bring things hidden back out into the light, and for a while you are carried by the prayers and understanding faces and tearful eyes of others.  

and i remembered that some of my most profound moments of mothering have occurred when i am apologizing.

i wish for you a week of healthy choices, silenced voices, and cherished friendships.