Grace-deprived (fsw & fmf)

photo credit: abby wiens

photo credit: abby wiens

There isn’t enough for me.

There never has been.

Probably there never will be.

I can give grace to others but I don’t deserve any.

Any of that sound familiar?

These are lies that I have believed and often still struggle with.

I tend to be grace-deprived.

Not because God hasn’t given it freely I just have a hard time receiving it.

I’ve seen this same phenomenon in many others. Young moms who want to serve and minister, older women who think they have no more to offer, in the middle women who are juggling crazy schedules.

We tend to speak grace to everyone that doesn’t live inside our four walls.

But in there, where we live, we suck grace out and demand perfection from ourselves and from our men and from our children.

One of my kids called me on it once. “You want me to be perfect! And I’m not!”

And I had nothing to say, because it was true. I went to my bedroom and wept.

I have been steeped in the words of scripture and church culture since birth.

I have also been steeped in the heritage of hard working, independent people who don’t ask for help.

You just do things yourself. You get it right. You keep a stiff upper lip and work a little harder. You give until there is nothing left. You do it right. every. time. Your kids sit still in church, never talk back and serve others. You don’t say no to serving opportunities. Your house is always spotless. Your kids eat broccoli every day and love it. They slept through the night at six weeks and potty trained right on schedule. You lost all the baby weight and never are tempted to indulge. You always say the right thing. Bring the casserole. Send the card. Remember the birthday. Help the teachers. Love the husband. Who is always on time. Never forgets to pick up milk on his way home. Works at a job he loves. Helps with the kids. Picks up his underwear. Is a great dad. Never embarasses you. You have people over regularly. Serve at the soup kitchen. Never miss a day on devotions. Go to prayer meeting. Sing on a worship team. Play an instrument. Be a leader. Teach Sunday school. Get a job. Stay home and take care of your kids. Have a degree. Keep a budget. Keep a huge garden with no weeds. Never overspend. Don’t have any debt. Have a plan. Keep a schedule. Bake all you own bread and cookies and pies…

photo credit: abby wiens

photo credit: abby wiens

This is the exhausting life and I have tried for the last two decades to be that girl.

And it bled me dry.

I need grace, but I rarely give it to myself even while I’m handing it to you.

I have spoken about it. Encouraged others with it. Write about it here

I can dispense grace easily to others because I see their need for it.

Not so much for me and mine.

I want them to be perfect so I look perfect so that everyone will think we are a perfect family.

Heaven (and most of the free world) knows that we are anything but.

There are crumbs in my drawers and junk on my counters. My kids may or may not have pulled the clothes they are wearing out of a laundry basket. That is store-bought bread on my counter. I’ve gained weight, again.

My body has demanded that I slow down, stop even. Get OFF the treadmill that I so willingly climbed on.

I need to learn to receive grace.

These last two weeks I have been working at reclaiming the house we bought eight years ago. The one I only got to live in for a year before we moved to the farm. I love that house.

I have had to work hard at extending grace as I fill in holes, mud, sand, paint and scrub off 7 years of accumulated dirt.

The beauty of paint is that it covers over all that mess and makes it clean and beautiful again.

Grace is like that.

I need to receive His cleansing, His mud/sand/paint process in all the deep and ugly places of my heart.

I need to accept that I can’t do this on my own.

This reclaiming of a rested soul that truly lives.

Because I want to be alive again, full of grace and truth.

photo credit: abby wiens

photo credit: abby wiens

So I keep creating this whitespace in that house. We are not going to fill it with so much stuff. We are going to make it into an aesthetically pleasing place that will let my eyes rest on beauty and that my body will enjoy.

You are so welcome to come there.

To receive grace within our walls.

I am praying that I will have learned how to receive by the end of all this.

I am planning for my days to be wide open to grace. To not tie myself to the expectations that I so easily pile on. I plan to do that for my kids and my husband. That this season will be one of learning grace for all of us.

all this crazy grace available for me…and you

Your turn – what were your thoughts on chapter 3 and receiving?

* all photo credits go to my daughter abby – she takes some beautiful shots! 🙂 #proudmama

**This post is part of a series on Finding Spiritual Whitespace, a new book by Bonnie Gray. You can read more about the book here or at her blog.

The series begins here:

Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

I am also linking up with FMF – this post is waaaay longer than a 5 minute read but it fits in with Friday’s prompt which was FILL! You can see what FMF is all about in a new place – we are hanging out at Kate’s place!

click image to find the FMF community

click to find the community

About Lani

With six kids, a farm, a ministry and dreams poking out in every direction I need plenty of grace to keep all the balls in the air. The sweet thing is that when I drop them, that crazy grace of God is there telling me I'm still okay...and you are, too...welcome to this place of grace.

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8 Responses to Grace-deprived (fsw & fmf)

  1. Kendra Burrows August 9, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    Oh do I hear you, my friend! To say it brought tears to my eyes means nothing because I’ve been sobbing all morning, but they were tears of recognition. I am not alone. Thank you.
    Kendra Burrows recently posted…Fill (Five Minute Friday)My Profile

    • Lani August 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      NO! So very NOT alone! So glad you came by. Extending crazy grace to you!
      Lani recently posted…Summer Reading…My Profile

  2. Kelly Chripczuk August 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Visiting from FMF. I’m right there with you. I never understood how deeply difficult, when you have lived in the culture you describe (and which is so deeply tied to religion of a certain sort) to Let Grace In. Joining you in the struggle and feeling like I need to check out Bonnie Gray’s book when I can afford to buy it!
    Kelly Chripczuk recently posted…Fill (Five Minute Friday)My Profile

    • Lani August 19, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

      yes, yes, yes! Get the book, it is like breathing deeply after holding your breath for a long time! 🙂
      Lani recently posted…Summer Reading…My Profile

  3. Kelsea August 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Stopping over from Five Minute Friday. This was beautiful and honest. And I found so much of myself in your writing. Telling others about this incredible grace and yet feel the pressure to be perfect in my own life. To keep up and never struggle with anything. But it’s in those quiet moments that God speaks to our hearts and calls us to be free. Not perfect, but free.

    I enjoy taking photos, so I noticed the ones in your post taken by your daughter. They are beautiful!
    Kelsea recently posted…Five Minute Friday:Fill…My Profile

    • Lani August 19, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

      thanks so much for coming by to visit this very non perfect place! and for noticing my girl’s pictures! 🙂
      Lani recently posted…Summer Reading…My Profile

  4. nursenan72 August 10, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Lani! girl I am exhausted just reading that list. I am a reformed procrastinating perfectionist, but even I can’t get my head around that list. If that’s what you’ve been carrying around. Oh. My. Goodness. LAY IT DOWN. then you will have the energy to smile!!!! Love you!
    nursenan72 recently posted…Five Minute Friday: BeginMy Profile

    • Lani August 19, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

      yeah, it’s a little psycho isn’t it? Perhaps that’s why I need some rest! 🙂
      Lani recently posted…Summer Reading…My Profile

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