Immaculate Perfection–Friend or Foe?

I wrote the following tidbit 5 years ago when I was living in Africa…

We all want a “perfect” world, though deep inside we know it doesn’t exist. I’m one of those people that is constantly moving misplaced things a hairline back to where they are “supposed” to be. My idea of a clean room is spotless surfaces, no clutter.

Before I became a mommy to 4 energetic boys and an even more energetic girl, I would swear that my kid would never get his shirts dirty when he ate. I would smile with smug satisfaction at the fact that my room was always neat, and no matter what happened, I was in full control…Fast forward a few years to the present. This is the scenario:

First thing in the morning: Wake up time is here. Some early birds are already up and around! While I try to shake my tired body into a state of wakefulness, I survey the room. I can see a pile of Hotwheel cars out of the corner of my eye. Suddenly, a sharp pain shoots through my foot. Quickly I inspect it to find that a teensy Lego piece is responsible for all the trouble! Further inspection reveals a trail of Legos leading to the bathroom. I look at my watch and see that time is running out. Kids need to get dressed, to breakfast, then morning devotions and finally school. The day has started! Of course the kids, after some reminders, put away their toys. The only think that irks me is the stray Lego here and there…

At the breakfast table I look on as my twins proceed to baptize their clothes in milk. What happened to those immaculate shirts I always dreamed about? My seven year old boy comes to the table and I notice new holes in his shirt. What to do? I send him back to change, knowing that there are only a few shirts of his that are still alive and “passable”.

You see, once you have kids, you change. You begin to see that perfection doesn’t lie in outward appearances or material things. True perfection is really imperfection, or should I say, the ability to live with imperfection and love it! When I look into my kids eyes, and see into their beautiful hearts, I see just how perfect God has made them! This helps me to have more patience with their mistakes and failings. Then I am easier on myself and my own mistakes! So we all learn and grow together!

The following poem tells it all better than I could!

If I live in a house of spotless beauty
with everything in it’s place, but
have not love, I am a housekeeper,
not a homemaker.

If I live for waxing, polishing, and
decorative achievements, but
have not love, my children learn
cleanliness, not godliness.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is present through the trials.
Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child;
then stands aside to let the child walk into adulthood.
Love is the key that opens Salvation’s message to a child’s heart.

Before I became a parent, I took
glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God’s perfection of
my children.
As a parent there are many things
I must teach my children,
but the greatest of these is Love!

(adapted from 1 Corinthians chapter 13)

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