We made the choice to homeschool our children early on. We began teaching Ryan at a very early age and he has progressed amazingly well. However, when he turned five, we felt like it was time to get him involved socially. We found a group close by and joined. Now, this group was made up of families who shared the same faith in Jesus Christ, the same family values, and the same educational goals; but, there was quite a difference in our status. Most in this group were quite affluent; while Joe and I, well let’s just say, were not. I found myself going home to change clothes, put on my “fancy” shoes and get my “nice” purse for any event with this group.
At one point, I had to pick up some things from another mom. On the way to her house, the boys and I stopped and a got a snack – chicken and a green slush from one of their favorite places. I was quite embarrassed to realize on the way I still had on my old t-shirt, crummy jeans and dirty flip flops. But I figured it would be ok; I mean, she’s home with her kids. Surely she would look the same. NOPE! People, this lady wears her fancy shoes while she’s home with just her kids! I pulled my old minivan into her driveway behind her beautiful, new, clean SUV. I quickly got out and got the items I needed from her, then she said, “Oh, open the door so I can say hi to the boys.” Now, this is one of those ladies who brings water and homemade fruit leather to soccer practice on her snack day – not juice boxes and goldfish (too much sugar and colored dye!). So the thought of opening my van and showing her my dirty boys, in a messy van, eating the forbidden fast food, while wearing my gross pants and dirty shoes was a mortifying thought!
But what was I supposed to do? Tell her we were quarantined?! That wouldn’t work, so I opened the door and then closed it as quickly as possible, saying goodbye as I climbed into my seat, totally appalled that this side of my life had been exposed.
As I looked back at my amazing children, still waving frantically at this new friend of theirs, I realized that they were totally unaware that they should be ashamed of us all. And as I sat in this driveway looking at this beautiful home and a spotless vehicle in front of me I suddenly realized that even if I lived in that house and drove that van, my kids would still be in that back seat eating fast food chicken and drinking a green slush. Why? Because that’s who we are.
I have heard that saying “I need to find myself” and I never really understood that. Have you suddenly gone somewhere? Aren’t you standing right here in front of me? I can’t say that I need to find myself, I have always been here, but I do need to let myself be myself. I can cover me up, or dress me up but I am still me. I am still the girl who would rather play in the mud than get a facial in it! I talk too much, I sneeze too often, and I laugh too loud. I’m the kind of person that no matter what I wear out of the house, as soon as I come home, I put on pajamas. I could eat chips and salsa everyday, and I love to pick the cookie dough out of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. I don’t eat fish, shrimp, beans, peas, and a plethora of other things, simply based on their texture. I eat the corners of Joe’s Jack-in-the-Box tacos and give him all the yellow and green pieces of any given candy. I do algebra to relax and love to read. I chew on my lip when I concentrate, get uncomfortable, or bored and will bite off all my fingernails during a really good movie. Basically, I am exactly the girl God made me to be!
The Bible tells me that the same God that created and cares for the whole world loves me and knows me. In Matthew, I am told that God even knows the number of hairs on my head and Psalm 139:13 tells me that my God “created my inmost being” and “knit me together in my mother’s womb”! So, while I may not always like the exact pattern God used to knit me, He breathed His life into me, and that makes this not so perfect girl, perfect!