A few weeks ago, my 18-year-old son’s Sunday School teacher announced to a group of other gospel teachers (including myself) that he had recently made a groundbreaking discovery: the Sheppard family was not perfect. The room erupted into laughter at his shocking revelation that was dripping with good-natured sarcasm.
Around the same time, one of my kids gave a talk in front of our church congregation. When he was speaking, all I could think was, “This kid has been holding out on me! When did he become so profound in his gospel knowledge?”
In the women’s meeting later that day, the discussion somehow turned to my son’s talk.
“I want to be a fly on the wall in the Sheppard home,” the teacher said. “They must be doing something right.”
I was flattered; I assure you. I do have good kids who are making (mostly) good choices at this stage in the game, for which I am thankful. But a part of me wanted to get up in front of the congregation and tell a few stories that would squelch any thoughts of Sheppard family perfection. I have a plethora to choose from as they happen on a daily, even hourly, basis.
It bothers me when people wrongly assume that we have it all together because I know the truth.
My son’s teacher hit the nail on the head: we are not even close to perfect! We do our best, but our days are filled with one mistake after another. We have dramatic arguments. My kids frequently practice eye-rolling, whining, back-talking, and selective obedience that sometimes cause me to lose my patience in a spectacular fashion.
There is a great deal more contention in my home than I would like to admit. Phrases such as, “Stop fighting!” and “Be nice!” are frequent pleas from my lips that usually fall on deaf ears.
Sometimes, on this blog where I write about the joys of motherhood and family life, I feel like a fraud because my family is not always the best example of unity and joy. I wonder if I am putting on a facade, despite my commitment to be real.
I do not want you (or anybody) to think I am perfect. I don’t have all the answers to your burning questions. I certainly don’t want to look at you from a position of authority.
Instead, I want you to know that I am right beside you in the messy trenches where life is not always ideal, and motherhood is not always pretty. Sometimes, I cannot share the details of my personal struggles because I have teenagers, not toddlers, whose mistakes are safe with me. But please know that my family is navigating the turbulent waters of life right beside each of you, learning and growing because of our numerous failures.
I am trying to live a purposeful life. I am doing my best to be a good mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I continually work to live up to God’s expectations of me and my expectations of myself, but I fall far short every single day.
So I try again the next day. And the next, writing about my journey along the way because words have power and writing helps me make sense of chaos.
Although I am imperfect, the Lord has blessed me beyond measure. Because of that, I feel compelled to give what I can, even if my offering of encouraging words on a blog is meager in comparison to what He has given me.
Small though they may be, my words are mine to give. So I do so freely, with a prayer that you will see me for who I am: an imperfect woman who has come to peace with her brokenness and wants to share what goodness she has to offer.
I just wanted you to know.