Embracing Imperfection, Accepting Grace

It’s hard to remember when my desire to be perfect sprang to life.  Perhaps it grew at the exact moment I wanted everyone else to be perfect.

If we were all perfect, then no tears would fall.  If I did everything right, then my mom wouldn’t yell.  If my friends never hurt me, then we wouldn’t have to clean up the messes of life.  If I was beautiful without any imperfections, then I would be the girl everyone liked.

If I am perfect, God will love me.

I knew my heart held shades of brown, off-white, even black.  Creating coverings hid the stains inside.  Rejection waited if the pure white cloths fell.  Who would love me if they knew?

I hid from God.  Don’t tell him my prideful thoughts.  Hide my anger.  Crawl in mean holes.  My own strength digging out.  I slid further in.

If I am perfect, God will love me.

My first year of college.  Read Velveteen Rabbit.  Couldn’t believe love came from becoming Real with shabby fur and lost eyes.  It’s a child’s book.  It doesn’t work in life.  I won’t be loved if I am Real.

Leader.  Mentor.  Friend.  Student.  Still hiding.  Fearing rejection.  Perfection brings love.

God opened doors.  Lived in far away places.  Studied more.  Learned new languages.  Helped others.  I didn’t need help.

If I am perfect, God will love me.

Married the man prayed for many years.  He loves me deep.  Committed to the end of our days.

Birthed beautiful children.  They love, accept.  It is a gift from God.

Still striving to be perfect.  Not knowing I will breathe this on those I cherish.

Wanting my precious children to be perfect.  Don’t yell in the store.  Everyone will think I am a bad mom.  Don’t get less than a 100 in school.  Your grades shout that I am incompetent.  Don’t spill your milk.  I don’t want to clean up any messes in life.

If you are perfect, my children, I will love you.  The words are never spoken.  They know inside.  Mom won’t yell if I am perfect.

One morning in the dark.  I hear Him whisper.  I love you.  I love you when you are mean.  I love you when you are giving to others.  I love you when you are prideful.  I love when you cook a beautiful meal.  I love when you don’t clean the house.  I love when you wrap your children in your arms.  I love you when you judge others too quickly.  I love you when you pour out joy.

I love you.  You are mine, and I am yours.  What you do, don’t do, think, say.  It doesn’t make me love you.  I loved you before you even took one breath.  I love you.

I made you imperfect.  I died.  My blood the only coverings for your stains.  I offer you grace.

Tears cascading down my face.  Wrapped in love.  Accepted.  Graced.  I don’t deserve it.  I can’t earn it.

I whisper back in the dark.  I am imperfect.  And somehow you love me.  You are not surprised I am made of dust.  You were sitting in the hole with me.  Gently reaching for my hand.  I slid in further.

I slowly reach for His hand.  Hand of grace.  He holds.  Comforts.  Invites me to journey on.  A graced life gives grace.

My children made in the Creator’s image.  Imperfect just like their mother.  Loved by a perfect Father.  His love without conditions.

He loved me.  I can love.  He accepts me.  I can accept.  He graced me.  I can grace.

A graced life gives grace.

Photography copyright © by Jane Carole Stein

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2 thoughts on “Embracing Imperfection, Accepting Grace

  1. Pingback: Apple Orchard Promises « The Graceful Race

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