Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Family / Grace / Life & Faith

Grace for Me // 3

Nothing is ever completely done. Not dishes, not laundry. Not cleaning, not cooking. There are always more tasks that can be done, and new ones that show up like clockwork. I learned some years ago that if I want to feel satisfied with what I’ve accomplished in a day, I have to think about what must be done, do it without complaining, and put what should be done on a ‘for later’ list. For many mamas, all the tasks we don’t complete in a day are all we can remember when we are falling asleep at night. All that we failed to complete picks at the heart like a constant nag that tells us we are not enough for our children, for our husbands. Not organized enough, not tidy enough, not present enough, not creative enough, not fit enough. It is a serving of inadequacy that no mama needs.

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 36/52

Truthfully, for all the Pinterest homes and Facebook highlights we see these days, it is no wonder that we often feel overwhelmed with the pressure to have ours lives together as much as everyone else obviously does. Except for every photo you see, there are all the photos that are not taken of the mess, the challenges, and the things we struggle through that we would rather the whole world not see. Add that to the reality that we do not live life together in community the way women did in the past, supporting and encouraging one another through the challenging and mundane parts of life, mostly because we are too busy to see anyone else face-to-face on a regular basis, and we typically don’t share those struggles on social media. The standards we aspire to are not always grounded in reality of what is possible for us, or even what is realistically expected of us by those who matter in our lives. We can’t do everything. We are perhaps capable of anything we put our minds to, but not able to do everything together without dropping a ball somewhere. The pressure can feel crushing at times.

I’m guilty of expecting way more of myself than God expects of me in certain areas. I’ve had that problem for years. With the best intentions, I want to be as productive as humanly possible, sometimes at the expense of truly important things. It has taken me years to realize that I will never live up to what I once believed was the ideal mother, the best wife, the perfect friend…and I am learning to be ok with that. I think we sometimes fail to give grace where God gives it generously. To ourselves.

To put my money where my mouth is today, I picked up my camera and snapped photos of the untended messes all around my house. I hope that you’ll see behind my sweet family photos, I do not have it all together. I am not ‘doing it all’. I am leaving undone what is less important, and learning to let God’s grace be my strength while I strive to love and keep my eyes on the more important things. It’s not easy to do, but grace really does fill in the gaps.

I hope you enjoy the creeper Ironman mask under the table.  Courtesy of our almost 5-year-old superhero.

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

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311. new routine, 312. organization bins for playroom, 313. delicious tomato bisque soup with a twist, 314. quality time with friends, 315. fall temperatures, 316. encouraging words, 317. new books to read, 318. gifts delivered, 319. helpers in the kitchen, 320. friend bumps growing

4 Comments Grace for Me // 3

  1. Judith A. Genaway

    Hi Emily,
    I love your house! It’s BUSY! And lived in…and it gives me a glimpse of what you are busy about.

    I always wonder when I see your family picture,……WHO TOOK THE PICTURE? How do you DO that. This week’s picture is especially nice.

    I remember your up-three-flights-of-stairs days…and a tiny little kitchen….and now you have a kitchen worthy of your FIVE to feed!

    Legoes….we DROWNED in legoes with four here at this house…those were the days…they could play with them forever….and me too. I loved playing with legoes.

    As always, keep up the great BLOG…love it.

    Your Friend in the East,

    1. Emily

      Hi Judy! For our weekly photos, I set up a tripod and set the camera to a 10 second delay before the shutter snaps. Works great!

  2. Kathy Crider

    My dear, sweet cousin! I love your heart. I love your thoughts and words. I wish you’d write a book!
    I enjoyed this post especially because I struggled with this (actually still do sometimes). Dealing with the big, important things in life is so much more critical than worrying about whether the kitchen is spotless or the laundry isn’t stacking up, or whether the beds are made or not. I live my life. My life is messy sometimes. I used to babysit for a couple who had the following taped to their bathroom mirror (I’ll remember it forever!): “There will be time for cleaning and cooking, for children grow up when we’re not looking.” I don’t ever want to be too busy to find time for my family. Thank you for sharing! Love you, Cuz!

  3. Pingback: Grace for My Children // 6 @ Light and Loveliness

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