Note: I started writing this post on Wednesday night and am only finishing it now, on Friday afternoon. How fitting to today's theme!
I'm writing this while wearing an old Chatham College tee shirt and old IUP gym shorts with my hair pulled up in a messy bun. I got dressed this way to take the boys for a walk...at 8 AM... It is 7:30 PM now. We never did get out for a walk.
My mantra for today has been grace, not perfection. I was inspired by a book I just finished reading. Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley. The book will be published on October 11. I got an early copy from NetGalley. You can pre-order it now or get it from your local library in October!
Here is my brief review of the book on Goodreads (If you are on Goodreads visit my page and we can be book friends!): This is a beautiful book - in its encouraging words and crisp layout. It is a mix of memoir, inspiration, and practical self-help written for moms, though I think women who don't have children could appreciate it as well. It certainly spoke to me. Grace not perfection. I love that. I need to put signs that say that everywhere I look.
I needed to give myself grace today. Both boys have colds and one has an upset stomach. There has been a lot of crying. None of us got much sleep last night. I had a to do list for the day: Take the boys for a walk. Do a bunch of cleaning. Shower and get dressed. Take the boys to youth group to hang out with the students during dinner time. I did none of that. I put on old gym clothes and did my best to keep the boys happy and cared for. Now the day is about over and I'm too tired to do any of the chores on my list. It would be easy for me to feel guilty about this.
"I thought if I could prove my worth...I could finally rest." That's a line from the book, and I only recently came to realize that I have been living my life this way. That's never a good idea, but I've found it to be quite impossible with twin babies. Before we had the boys I could make a huge to do list and work all day to accomplish it. Now I can can make a small to do list and possibly accomplish it by the end of the week. This has made me feel guilty and inadequate. Surely other mothers care for their children and have perfect houses, right? I should be able to do it all! In trying to acccomplish things to prove my worth, I am missing out on a gigantic gift from God: GRACE.
"Here's the thing about grace: you don't have to be perfect to embrace it. Grace is free -- for imperfect unworthy people like you and me." "So, sister, if God is giving us so much grace, why on earth aren't we having a little more grace with ourselves?"
Why am I not having more grace with myself? Raising babies may not give tangible results each day like reorganizing a closet or cleaning the bathroom, but it is certainly the most important thing I am doing right now. And when I try to prove my worth by doing a million things at once, I miss out on joyful moments right in front of me. "So much joy can be found in slowing down."
When I slow down and give myself grace to let go of all of the shoulds in my head I can appreciate all of the blessings in front of me, like these two guys.