When I was a a child, I imagined my grown up self differently.
I thought I would be a graceful woman, the kind who glides when she walks into a room. I thought I would smile lovingly at small children and pat them on the head. I thought I'd purse my lips and clutch the pearls at my neck during times of distress. My house would be spotless. My nails would be painted. My dress would be pressed. My husband would be the happiest man in the world. And my children? Angels. Perfect angels.
I thought I'd June Cleaver my way through life, but time and reality have painted a different picture.
Today, I am the woman who bursts into the room, late and loud. I don't like the kids I don't love, if you know what I mean, and I don't want them to touch me - pretty please. When the going gets tough, I freak the hell out, then I go to bed for the rest of the day. I don't usually wear pearls with the dirty yoga pants I picked up off the floor and the t-shirt I wore yesterday, and if my lips are pursed, it's because they're pressed against the lid of a Starbucks cup. My house is disastrous. My nails look like I've been clawing my way out of a well. My dress is BAHAHAH! What dress?! I suspect my husband sits in the driveway psyching himself up to walk through the door at night. And my kids? Turds. Giant turds.
And here I stand, the most graceful woman I know.
It's a clumsy kind of Grace, to be sure. But it's there, ever present, relentless, loving, hopeful and redemptive, rolling with the punches, slowly and gently building a better woman in me.
I am filled with the kind of Grace that restores broken things, and being super broken means I'm super filled. Try not to be jealous. Grace is the glue that holds this hot mess together.
I think it's like this:
I'm always late because I'm a procrastinator and I procrastinate because I'm overwhelmed and I'm overwhelmed because I'm a perfectionist and I'm a perfectionist because I need affirmation and I need affirmation because I feel unworthy and I feel unworthy because somewhere, sometime, something in me cracked and the idea that I am lovable leaked out... I broke. And I'm still broken... And Jesus finds me like that, leaky and late, and He scoops up the pieces and makes me new. I'll probably break again tomorrow, or in like five minutes, but He'll keep scooping, again and again, until the day I finally get it, until the day I learn that I was created to be loved. And that day, that glorious day, the angels will sing in Heaven and, by God, I. will. be. on. time.
Apply Grace liberally to all areas of my life. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I would have it no other way. I would choose no other path. I would rather be a graceful screw up, in constant need of rescue, than a gliding debutant playing a part that was never meant for me.
I could only ever be June Cleaver if June Cleaver was a total rascal. I mean, honestly, the woman I imagined I'd be wouldn't have a house filled with grime from life with three boys and two mutts, and a tiny evil cat. She wouldn't hitchhike through Nicaragua in her pajamas *ahem* with her children. She wouldn't hate churchy women's stuff...or churchy women. I don't think she'd step foot in a SE Asian strip club. She would probably bake pies, but she would never bake a pie into a cake. Never. And that is just sad.
I don't want to be that chick. She's not weird enough. She's not awkward enough. She's not brave enough or broken enough to be me. She's not graceful, at least not in the way I want to be. She's not grace-full.
I'd rather embody the shameless kind of Grace that says, “Welcome to my gross house! Please, come in and put your feet up... on the coffee table.” I want the stalwart Grace that helps marriage weather the worst because, even when it's hard (which is kind of a lot), it says "I'm all in, no matter what... so come in from the car, babe." I want a merciful, tender Grace, for when these kids of mine, these brilliant, talented, passionate, hilarious young men, act like turds – as they are wont to do – Grace is there to whisper, “It's ok. We'll get through this. Your Mama's broken, too.”
It's not elegant, or even all that dignified. It's not the kind of grace that holds its head high and pretends nothing is amiss. What I'm talking about is messy and raw, real and gritty, maybe even a little scary. It's so wild and free, it can get uncomfortable.
This is the Grace that waits for you when you're late and leaky, forgives you and fills you up.