Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Picture Perfect

I have spent most of my life trying to give others around me a picture perfect glimpse of my life. I really wanted everyone to believe that I had it all together and at times when that wasn't really possible then at least they needed to see that I was in control. It sounds crazy as I type it out now, but I am just hoping that you will be able to relate.

When my son was younger, he had this move he would do that would lay him flat on the ground in mere seconds. This "move" usually occurred when we were in a store and I was telling him no to something. Along with the "move" came huge alligator tears accompanied by loud cries. It was very embarrassing.

Well one day, the four of us were in a department store near our home. My son had decided a few days before that he needed two way radios. He was probably 4 or 5 years old. Of course, we had told him no. So as we walked around in the department store he spotted some two way radios. They were attached to the hanger of a really ugly shirt. Now we all know that the toys attached to hangers that you get "free" for purchasing a shirt are usually not the highest quality toys.

So I did what any good mama would do and I said no. He proceeded to beg and I continued to say no and then the next thing I know he is laid out on the floor. After trying to reason with him and explain that the radios would not really work, my patience were at an all time low and I was upset. My husband walks up and sees his upset wife and crying son. I try to explain what is going on and the next thing I know my husband is escorting my son out of the store with a firm grasp on his shoulder. You can probably guess what my son was screaming but just in case you can't relate I'll tell you. It went something like this, "Mama help me! He's hurting my shoulder! I REALLY WANT THE RADIOS! Mama help! get the picture.

I fought the urge to hide in the clothes racks and was just thankful that both of them were outside. I don't even remember now what I was shopping for but thankfully my daughter was happy in her stroller and I continued to shop.

Much to my surprise my two fellas reenter the store. This time I was almost to the register. My husband explained that once they got outside, he was able to talk with our son and things were better. My son was still trying to stop crying, all while mouthing to me so Daddy wouldn't hear, "I want those radios." We proceed to the register and guess what is hanging on display at the register...

Oh Yes Ma'am, a nice collection of two way radios. Only this time they weren't the ones attached to the hanger of an ugly shirt. No these were $100 radios. And guess who spotted them about the same time I did?

It gets better! Of course we say no and then he starts crying. This time the "move" only consisted of going down on his knees. I am trying to get him up and together because I knew Daddy wasn't going to stand for this. And I was right. Daddy gets involved and he is not really concerned with giving off the picture perfect image.

It is my turn with the cashier. I am trying to convince my husband to ignore our son because the scene they were creating was really wrecking my picture perfect image. At that time, I had several speaking engagements in our city and I remember bringing up this fact to my husband because everyone knows your "speaker" has to have her life together. Well, the scene finally ends with my husband dragging my son out of the store while he screams for me to "help him" and he continues to scream for the radios. I am not kidding when I tell you that every eye in that general area of the store was on me. I was sweating and praying for God to open up the floor and swallow me.

I tried to not make eye contact with my cashier. I was just hoping that she was fast. I scramble for my coupon and hand it to her. It was for 15% off my total purchase. I look at the screen to see my total savings. I see that she had given me 30% off in error. Well, my dignity is gone, but I still have my integrity. So I begin to tell her that she gave me too much of a discount. I will never forget her words to me. She said, "Oh honey, you have earned it today. If I could give you more off I would!" I thanked her and then left.

I was so upset with my husband because now people were going to know that I was not the perfect mother married to the perfect husband with perfect children. And on top of that now people wouldn't invite me to speak at their events because of him. It was drama at it's best!

This past year, I have had some intense lessons with the Lord. One is that I don't have to portray this picture perfect image. I am not perfect. I am flawed. I have weaknesses. I have struggles. My best, my righteousness is as filthy rags to Him. When I live in my own strength and my own picture perfectness, I cheap myself and others from seeing the power of God at work in me. And that is what people really need to see!

So I am kicking that picture perfect image to the curb and I am embrassing my weaknesses because I want others to see that Christ is alive and working in me!

P.S. Can you believe that I actually typed "keeping it real" in my last post? She managed to "keep it real" again this morning when she asked if I could quit talking because and I quote, "the Princess needs to eat her breakfast in silence!" Help me!

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