Perfect! Not a word high on my vocabulary as an expectation of life

Joy with two of her sweet girlfriends--none perfect but all precious.

I wrote the blog below a couple of years ago, but thought it might be relevant now. The hardest part for me and for my children as public figures is that our public life is so unreal compared to our personal lives. My children love just being home without anyone watching or expecting them to be "Clarksons." I am such a normal person who plods along, but my heart is for Jesus and He is all the good I have. So, though written a couple of years ago, still applies today! Here it is:

When I was in California recently, I had several experiences that were similar. Basically all of them were about how perfect they thought my life and kids must be. If I had expected perfection as a goal for my children, my marriage or my behavior, I know from the start I would be guaranteed failure. What about, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans"There is none righteous, no not one." Isaiah

"He is mindful that we are but dust." Psalm 103

"Wretched man that I am. Who will set me free?" Paul about himself in Romans 7One mom said, "It is easy for Sally to make her home a life-giving place. But I live in a condominium."

I began to learn to be life-giving when I was living in a tiny house (900 square feet) in Vienna whose walls leaked rain when we had storms and where we had pigeons in the attic (named them Walter!)

But it was there, when I looked out on a gray, drab apartment building outside my window, that was 8 stories high. All windows were the same, drab and dirty. But in one window sill, someone had planted a flower box full  of red geraniums. In a wall of gray, the beautiful flowers stood out like a flame.

I decided right then that I would be like that one apartment out of hundreds--that no matter how small or old, I would bring life and beauty to my home--that I would create life as God did.

But of course I learned as I went. It was not house beautiful, but beauty in the house.

Next came cooking and baking. Learned as I went. Some meals were a success. Some a failure. Some just not to the taste of my family. (Hate to waste my time on unappreciative people!)But this meant years of days of dirty dishes and pots and pans and bowls in the sink. Our home is always in the process of being in and out of messes.

Didn't ever even think about being a mom when I was a young single woman--hate to admit it but it was true! I wanted to be in love and get married, but I was never one of those who longed for a baby--eventually got to that, but had to learn how to love my children and my noisy home and all the demands. it was not natural to me--but I leaned into it and learned how slowly but surely.

As one of my children say, "Mom, our days have not been easy and we have had no support systems and I don't know how we made it, but we have lots of great memories."

I had to learn almost everything that I now do. I have taught myself to cook, decorate, educate my children, how to become more mature in marriage; how to do chores and work (didn't grow up doing it!), how to nurse my babies (even when one doctor told me that I might cause my child brain damage because I had been sick with the flu when she was born and she was a high risk baby.) Moved 17 times, had 3 asthmatics, 3 ocd kids, one adhd, fires (one in Vienna), floods (3 in our house), etc. (smile)

In the midst of such a life, there are lots of ups and downs. Children are immature and a mess, teens are self-centered and self-absorbed; and all are sinful. But, I have a picture of being a redeemer--bringing light in the darkness, moving along on the pathway of ideals and maturity one step at a time, while holding God's hand.

Same with my children. My goal was reaching their hearts with the love of God and showing them His reality, so that they could find His grace and truth every day. Now that is doable. All I have to do is love God every day. Love Him, and show Him to my children. Since I am not expected by God to be perfect, I don't expect them to be either. No one likes to live in a place where failure is likely to happen all the time. If moms expect perfection, then their children will want to run far from them. If women think God wants them to be perfect, they will always live in guilt and defeat or eventually want to quit their ideals, because there will be no joy.

Now, I will admit, that feeling inadequate is a mantle I am likely to wear many times, as I have always struggled with my "imperfect personality." Seems from time to time I put my foot in my mouth. But that is why I knew my children needed to live in a home of grace, because I needed God's grace every day.

It is as I seek to celebrate life, live in grace, know his love and appreciate His gentleness and compassion, that it grows in my heart. I have not always known how to walk this journey, but I have always had a hand to hold on to and wisdom to practice and apply.  It is journey--a long distance run. Not a perfect husband. Not a perfect wife. Not perfect devotionals or perfect method of discipline. Just a grace walk. Not perfect children--but children with great hearts, best friends, loving, living, laughing, sharing, arguing, being petty and then getting back to the center one more time to do it all over again.

Now I am off to eat a chocolate chip cookie--even my diet and self-discipline isn't perfect--but I think after a tiring year, I am going to just enjoy myself and rest and worry about losing 10 pounds in one week another time!

PS A great blog entry that you will love: Thanks sweet Angela!