Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Perfect Gift

I've been in a bit of an emotional slump this week, no worse than anyone else feeling the stress of the holidays approaching. Frankly, given my struggles with depression, I've been pretty pleased with the fact that I've managed not to fall into any deep emotional black pits.

Yesterday, though, I came awfully close.

I got broad-sided by a letter.

The letter. The "perfect" letter. You know the kind. The letter included in the Christmas card from the perfect mom writing about her perfect family and the perfect blessings they've received over the course of a perfect year from a God that loves them perfectly. Front and back, bragging about the stable job her husband continues to hold after 22 years, the flawless daughter working part-time as a nurse while working towards a degree who is content to live at home until she marries because she's pure and perfect. The sons continuing their education while still making time for missions trips. The younger children excelling in their studies. All the way down to the four-year old that loves writing her letters. The perfect family and their perfect life.

And on the bottom of the card, beneath all the names..."Would love to hear all about your family!"

Oh, such crushing pain I felt as the old, familiar doubts wrapped themselves around me.

You're not a good enough mother.
You're a lousy wife.
You're a terrible Christian.

God doesn't really love you.

I wanted to rage and scream and cry. I wanted to grab my husband's axe, go out to the back acre, and chop something down. I wanted to release this swelling force within before it overwhelmed me.

Quietly, I checked that the children were happily occupied, went outside, and fed the chickens.

Hot tears traced their way down my cool cheeks as I stood in the barnyard and watched as the chickens pecked and fussed and strutted around me. I looked across the distance to my home and heard a calm voice in my heart.

"You. Are. Blessed."

And it's true. I am blessed. I know it. I feel it. I live it every day. I'm blessed that God removed my husband from a job that kept him away from home over seventy hours a week and opened the door to his life-long dream of being a farmer. In a time when many are facing foreclosure, I'm blessed not only to have a home but this home, this land, with all the room we need to work and grow. I'm blessed to have these children, each one as unique as their fingerprints, each gifted in their own way, that not only love me but show me their love in hundreds of ways every single day. I'm blessed that, long before I was born, the Son of God was born into this world to give His life as a ransom for mine. I'm blessed beyond measure with a life more abundant than any I could have dreamt of for myself.

My life is loud and messy, sometimes stressful, often hectic and rarely peaceful. My faith is imperfect, but with God's leading, I'm growing in it. My husband, my children, my home...none of it is "perfect". But they are perfect for me. Perfect blessings from a perfect God who loves me perfectly. I don't need to look at what I don't have or the things I haven't done; I need only look to the One that gave His all for me.

Father, I know that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You for once again opening my eyes to see them.

I pray that in this special time when we remember the birth of our Saviour, each of you are enjoying the perfect gifts our perfect God has blessed you with. From my Barefoot family to yours, Merry Christmas.


Crazed Nitwit said...

You found peace by feeding the chickens? Hmmmmm. ok I have to admit I'm cracking up. Because of the incongruity in MY head as I picture this.

Glad you realize perfection is not reality nor is it as nice as it looks.

Wendy said...

I didn't want to give in to my negative feelings (not to mention doing something that would aggravate my bum shoulder). I thought that doing something calm and ordinary (ordinary in my world) would give me a chance to get a grip on my perspective, which it did. I know I'm not jealous of that person or her family (though there is a long history of personal issues with them). For an insecure woman like me, though, it's sometimes hard not to beat myself up for my short-comings in light of other's success.

Mrs. Stam said...

Awwww life is not perfect, but all the gift send from above are!!!!

I love your honesty in this post!

Petula said...

Beautiful post... and I understand this more than I'd like to admit. It makes it 100 percent magnified when depression plays a part. I've always believe that those who present themselves as perfect truly aren't giving testimony to the change and blessings that occur in one's life. I'm glad you found something calming and peaceful to do and realized your "perfect" life. I am facing the big "F" and a letter such as that would have had me seething.

Funny, I've been grumpy this afternoon especially given my post regarding my acknowledgments of blessings and such. Isn't this mental thing work? We have to always be mindful of where are thoughts and feelings are taking us or we'll miss out and mess up all the work we've done.

Have a glorious weekend. I'll be thinking about you and your perfect farm. :-) Enjoy your family and have a wonderful Christmas. Smooches!

~michelle pendergrass said...

I just read your comment to my Advent Failure post. (((hugs))) What I know? God is amazing. In weakness--that's when we're made strong.

And God doesn't hang around perfect people. :)

I love this post. You are blessed.

Crazed Nitwit said...

So I thought of you last night when my pastor was speaking of the very humble beginnings of our Savior. Feeding the chickens was an awesome thing!!! After all He was born in barn.

Hugs and love

KPage said...

Hi Wendy!
Am checking out some of the blogs from Blog Mommas and found yours. This post is especially touching. We all doubt ourselves at times. More often than not because we think we have to live up to other people's expectations.
Stay strong!

punkinmama said...

Sorry for being so far behind in my blog reading!

This post touched my heart. Thanks for sharing it. And I'm glad you know you are truly blessed.

The thing you might not know? That perfect woman with the perfect kids yelled at them 17 times while composing that perfect letter! It's true!

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