No Perfect Mamas Allowed! Owning the Messy Times With Acceptance & Grace!

10931303_10152856747608876_8022537092770809404_nTruly, I have the most wonderful launch team--sweet moms like you and me, who were willing to put a lot of time into helping me get the message of my new book into the hands of as many women as possible. We all have a heart to encourage and come along beside. I have asked  what some of the issues and convictions are in reading through Own Your Life. Here are three sweet friends sharing their struggles in the midst of life and how they are learning to cope. Enjoy! Sally From Misty, Krasawski, mom, wife and great writer. Hers is the beautiful Heart poster above.

As we passed cups of tea around my living room discussing Chapter One of Own Your Life this week, my sweet friend’s baby lay on the floor, complaining about his new teeth. One of the precious ladies shed tears, too, as she told us she had just finished chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.
Many of us find ourselves without a church home at present, and several were in the middle of the chaos and uncertainty of a move. The stories we shared as we got to know one another told the truth about life: it’s sometimes unpredictable, often messy, and (contrary to popular belief) always just a bit more than we thought we could handle.

So when we read this passage, it jumped off the page:

" ... this is the place I want you to worship Me. Being faithful in these circumstances is where you will find the glory of My favor. This is exactly where I want you. This time of testing will be the making of your faith, the humbling of your heart, the shaping of your character, the writing of your story. You can choose to waste this time with a bad attitude, to leave this situation, or to waste your days in ungratefulness and complaints. And then your life will continue moving through darkness and dim hallways.
You have a choice to make: if you trust Me and live faithfully in this juncture, I will make this a place of favor and honor for you. But if you look for a way out and disqualify yourself from the blessings and favor I had planned to give you, you will find yourself in the midst of a prolonged wilderness."
Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life

Yes! This place, that place, all of these messy and wonderful and hard and holy places, the ones we find our feet smack dab in the middle of—these are the perfectly imperfect places we are called to embrace and offer up to Jesus, one day at a time.
Probably … Imperfectly.
Setting this intention as foundational to our lives—this acceptance of the life God has given us to own—is the only sure basis for the lives of beauty we’re all hoping to build.
Let’s not wait for perfect, or easy, or simple. Let’s own OUR REAL LIFE LIVES this year!

Mary Mays is the mama to the sweet baby above.

"God desires to remove the scars caused by our brokenness, to heal the deformity caused by sin, and to use the ugliness of life to transform us into the beautiful image of Christ we were originally made to bear." - Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life

As people wait in line at Chipotle, they can't help staring at our sweet daughter as she eats her delectable dinner of black beans. With her light blonde hair and big blue eyes, she's the most adorable little girl you've ever seen (and I'm not biased at all). But, cute as she is, there's not much that isn't covered in bean residue and smashed bits of food when she's finished. She's a beautiful mess.

And over the past 11 months, I've come to realize that my life looks an awful lot like my daughter after she enjoys her favorite food.

In 2014 my family struggled with many messy circumstances: two cancer diagnoses, the loss of a dear loved one, financial struggles and depression/anxiety - just to name a few. One crushing blow after another, it was easy to become discouraged and, slowly, my focus became all the imperfections and areas that needed cleaning up. I stopped seeing the beauty and simply couldn't wait until things were nice and neat again.

Oh what a wrong perspective! None of my circumstances were surprising to God, and He wasn't sitting around waiting on me to get it all together so that he could use me (which is a good thing, because just like with my kiddos, as soon as one mess is cleaned up, there's usually another one to be dealt with). No, what I have learned is that, much like the baby and toddler states, life is perpetually messy. However, when we submit to Him and His will for our lives God takes our messes and uses them to make something beautiful. Even in the midst of our imperfections and brokenness, and the hard and ugly parts of life, God sees his beautiful children and He brings purpose and meaning and uses us, before we are even cleaned up.

In 2015 a lot of my circumstances haven't changed. We are still walking through some hard things, but we are not walking alone.

God is with us, and he is using Sally's book to challenge me to own my life and give it to him - messes and all.



Shelly Richardson and her sweet children.
“And the very difficulties we want to escape can be over come when we face them head-on.” Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life. 
On any given day, between special needs kids and chronic health issues, you might just walk into my house and find that toys are strewn across the floor. It is like a scene from Toy Story when Andy walks in the room and all the toys freeze and drop so as not to be seen alive. That’s my living room.
If you were to walk into the kitchen most likely there will be dishes piled high waiting their turn to feel new again.
Do NOT even ask to see the bedroom. That is where the clothes hide. Who knows if they are clean or dirty? The baskets have been pulled through, dumped out and put back so many times there really is no telling.
It’s okay to want to run, most days I want to run, too. But this what I am learning.
This is my beautiful mess.
The beautiful life that God has given me. I am so far from perfect, and I mess up 2,146 times a day, but God…
What are the messes or stresses you struggle with every day? How are you finding God's grace to face them and how do you learn to live with contentment and joy anyway?