Monday, November 11, 2013

Cracking Up & the Soli Deo Gloria Party {Giveaway today!}

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
I can be really hard on my kids.  It's the perfectionist in me that then seeps into them.  And it's what happened to me when I was growing up, but there are days I feel powerless to stop the cycle.

And this breeds the next cycle - the one comprised of guilt, shame, and feelings of being a crappy mom.  I hear "they are just kids" reverberating in my brain and I can't distinguish if my standards are too high or if I'm really helping them to develop good judgement and responsibility. Am I helping them to live into the idea of giving their best or am I demanding they be the best?  

Sometimes it's a fine line that a perfectionist (even a recovering one) finds easily blurred.

But I've realized that most of the time I can distinguish between teaching them to be good stewards versus perfectionists by how I deliver my message.

My perfectionism tends to come out when life feels out of sorts and too big to handle.  When I cannot put things in their place spiritually, emotionally, and/or mentally, I begin to demand that things in the physical realm are just so.  I cannot have multiple facets of my life in varying degrees of chaos.

And there in lies the problem: Kids can be chaotic.  My children especially, with their active imaginations and whimsicalness, then coupled with curiosity and (smaller now) lack of impulse control.  

When my heart and mind aren't on the level, their chaos can tip me over in a hurry.  And I spew everywhere.  I saw myself in Kimberlee Ireton's new book, Cracked Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis.  Her kids were playing in the bathroom.  And as most mothers know, playing in the bathroom can have quite messy and unexpected consequences that will occur at the same time you have something on the stove, your husband isn't home, and the phone is blowing up.

And as I would have, too, Kimberlee yells.  Loudly.  And repetitively. But instead of allowing herself to continue to the guilt cycle, she experiences a grace moment.  A moment of clarity.  She writes:
I wrap my children in my arms. They’re still wet, and they soak the Moby, but it’s okay. I love them. And someday, please God, someday, I will remember that in the very moment that I walk in on a mess, and in that moment, I will say, “It’s okay. I love you.” 
Until then, I’m just going to have to keep saying, “I’m sorry.” (page 155)
I don't know.  Maybe because I'm learning I'm not the Messiah that this strikes me hard in the chest.  Until then...You mean it might be okay that it takes time to learn, to really learn these things deep in my soul?  And it's okay that it takes this time?  And that until I've absorbed it all and planted it deep, it's okay if I still have to just keep saying I'm sorry?

I feel bathed in a river of grace by this notion.  And I realize this isn't giving me permission to yell.  But it's giving me permission to need forgiveness.  Because, God knows, I need it.  I need it more than I can probably bring myself to admit.  

To tell you the truth, I think you'll feel bathed by grace throughout all the pages of Kimberlee's book.  She breathes authenticity and asks the hard questions.  You'll find yourself nodding your head, even if you don't have twins, four children, and a minivan.  Because these lessons are timeless and aren't fully based on the circumstances of our lives.  

You see, we all go through times when we have to figure out our faith or stand there and let it figure out us.

And something else for my perfectionistic (recovering?) soul?  I love this line to pieces and I think I'll have it blown up poster-size:
"But I'm starting to see that my faithfulness in feeding the lake matters more than how much bigger the lake gets because of my faithfulness." (page 246)
God's all about relationship.  He's about the state of our heart.  He's about faith.  And while yes, "faith without works is dead," God knows what's fueling the works.  And if it's my own ego and selfishness that is compelling me to work, even in His name, I'll be concerned with the size of the lake I'm growing.  But if it's simply my love and desire for Jesus, I'm just gonna give Him what I got, look into His eyes, instead of worrying about the lake at all.
Kimberlee's giving away one copy of her book, Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis.  Wanna win?  Enter below, using the Rafflecopter widget.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't win, you can purchase Cracking Up here:
Barnes and Noble
Or at your local bookseller!

Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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  1. I've been seeing this book all over everywhere on the internet, and everyone seems to be loving it. So I did all the entry thingys I could to try to win it :)

    Although I'm an adoptive mom, and have never experienced post-partum depression, depression itself is and old, but not especially friendly, acquaintance of mine. I'm so glad Kimberlee has written about her experience. May her words bring healing balm to many.

    And, dear Jennifer, this is for you--in response to this:

    "You mean it might be okay that it takes time to learn, to really learn these things deep in my soul? And it's okay that it takes this time? And that until I've absorbed it all and planted it deep, it's okay if I still have to just keep saying I'm sorry?"

    The gospel is all about saying, "I'm sorry." And recognizing how desperately we are in need of forgiveness. And how abundantly it has been given.

  2. Jennifer, thank you for this! I especially loved this line, which articulates perfectly something I've been trying for months to find words for: "I realize this isn't giving me permission to yell. But it's giving me permission to need forgiveness." That's what I've hoped for--that people who read my book would realize we're all broken and breaking and stop hiding it and beating ourselves up for it...but at the same time not carte blanche excuse our behavior, but rather be encouraged to keep flinging ourselves before the throne of grace....and to be kind to ourselves and one another because we're all in the same leaky boat...or maybe we are the leaky boats? Anyhoo, thank you so much for catching that vision. Bless you!

  3. Jennifer--SO VERY GLAD to see Kimberlee's book featured here today. Nancy (and anyone else reading) I'm not a new mom, but as a believer who has struggled with hard things it spoke to me in many ways. I will say it again, 'Cracking Up' is one of the best Christian books I've read in a LONG time....Good luck, Nancy!

  4. Pretty sure based on your comments here that book was written for me. :) I'm thankful God gets us through the momentary crisis of faith as well as the life-altering ones. Motherhood (infertility first and then adoption and then everyday life) has certainly been one of the most faith-shaping times of my life. I'm thankful God hasn't left me the same through it all.

  5. this book is seriously what I need to read. even if I don't win a copy, I'm certainly going to be buying myself a copy.

    linked up here, and I am SO excited to be here. <3

  6. Until then...oh mercy me too. Repeated grace. Over and over and over.

  7. Tipped over? Oh, that says it! Perfectly! I had to learn it was o.k. for children to be children - they break things - the world won't end. I have a really hard time when I'm around some people (family?) who don't think that way and in order to minimize my boys being given a hard time, try to be preventive - which is a vicious cycle in itself. I've had to step out of that cycle - and change things. Some people might say this is just an excuse for failure - but I believe that if our children didn't see our failures - and our repentance - they wouldn't know the way to the mercy seat of God. If we're perfect - then our children don't how much they need God:) By how we handle those moments we DO tip - by saying we're sorry - I missed it - teaches how one asks for grace!

  8. "Bathed by a river of grace." So many times...and ever so thankful for grace baths.

  9. Oh my goodness. This is exactly what I needed to hear today!! I've been struggling with this very thing for what seems like forever but really has been only a couple of weeks, but still. It feels like there is no.way.out. It's so, so good to be reminded of His grace. Sufficient doesn't seem to be a generous enough word for it.

  10. So much good grace here. I've been taught that it is the "sorry" that literally heals the possible trauma or the possible lie that may come in because of our parental sin. Sorry is absolutely essential.
    And this? Yes, I know this in my head but still need to know it deep in the recesses of my soul. Poster-size would seriously be a good idea.
    "But I'm starting to see that my faithfulness in feeding the lake matters more than how much bigger the lake gets because of my faithfulness." (page 246)

  11. I am so thankful that Kimberlee is sharing her story, and I pray that this book brings healing and hope to many. :)

  12. Praise God for His river of grace! Thanks for the beautiful post & for hosting & God bless!

  13. Oh, that recovering perfectionist thing really gets me. In certain areas I don't know if I'll ever recover or gain a sense of balance in my life--and I'm OLD. Really old. Joan Webb has a book out that I probably should have bought at the Christian Writers' Conference: "The Relief of Imperfection."
    Jen, go easy on yourself. Let things go a little more so you can enjoy your precious kids. And when you slip up, forgive yourself and bathe yourself in grace like the book says. It's a tough road otherwise~I know too well.

  14. Ohhh, I've been seeing this book, Cracking Up all over! Looks like a fab write, Kimberlee!

  15. Love the title! Sounds like the theme of my life :) Gotta add this to my Christmas wish list.


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