This is not my daughter.  

She does not have perfectly fixed hair in which I have fastened the perfect hair bows to perfectly coordinate with her clean, expensive outfit.  She is also not this still.  Ever. She does what she wants.  If she wants to grind her cracker into the couch, she will do so no matter how many times I tell her to stop.  She is almost 19 months old, and she is a prime example of a toddler.

This is not my house.  

I do not have a beautifully landscaped yard free of weeds and fallen leaves.  I do not have Corinthian columns standing guard to the entrance of my home.  I do not even have a second story, let alone a second fire place. The sidewalk in front of my house is non-existent. I do not live in a gated community.  I do have a privacy fence, but my neighbors have a really tall deck, so... Anyway. 

This is not my kitchen.

I do not have marble counter tops.  I do not have a sink specifically to rinse off fresh-picked vegetables from my {imaginary} garden.  I do not have a gorgeous tile back splash behind my amazing stove and oven combo.  I definitely don't have the thing that is at the bottom of the picture with the glass door.  I'm not even sure what that thing is.

This is not my living room.

I do not have a white couch.  Even if I did have a white couch, I would not have a white couch (see the comment about my daughter).  My house is not accessorized without being cluttered, an accomplishment I have yet to complete.  My living room is not open and airy, nor is it flooded with natural light. 

This is not how my husband and I spend our evenings.

Just... no.

And that should be fine with me.  

But for some reason, it hasn't been.

There is so much judgement passed on wives and mothers.  Judgement about how we raise our kids.  Judgement about how we keep house.  Judgement about our husbands.  And we do it to each other.  We have become so focused on how we look to everyone else that we try to change what our lives are, or at least how they appear.  As I was finding images to illustrate what my life wasn't, it occurred to me: none of these pictures are real.

Each picture has been staged.  That little girl was fixed up by a team of professionals.  That living room and kitchen have been styled past the point of reality.  No one lives there, or at least, not really.  That happy couple... nobody sits like that.  At least not for any length of time.  It's uncomfortable.  It looks nice on film, though.  

But even though they aren't real, I still find myself longing for what they represent.  All the little details that I get so caught up in: trying to make my house look perfect, trying to seem like my child is perfectly behaved and that I have the perfect marriage.  I focus on the appearance rather than the reality.  

I found this verse today:
"But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42

Well, go ahead and call me "Martha."

I have been so focused on all the little details of my life, I have forgotten what my priorities should be.  First, I need to focus on my walk with Jesus.  In all the craziness of working full time, being back in school, having a one year old, and so forth and so on, I sometimes forget to stop and take time in the Word.  I get so wrapped up in my to-do list that I forget to be thankful that I have things to do in the first place.  Last week, I had a paper to write, so I skipped church Sunday morning.  I did not take a rain check and reschedule dinner plans with friends.  Instead, I neglected the most important relationship I have. And I did it without a second thought.  

My next priority should be time with my family.  After working in a high-stress job all day, I am exhausted by the time I get to pick up my daughter from her babysitter. Then when I get home, there are the household chores (because I want my house to look like a magazine), dinner to be cooked (because I have to look like Rachel Ray), and school work to be done (gotta keep that GPA up).  I get overwhelmed by everything I have to do that night.  Meanwhile, I have an amazing daughter who is growing up way too fast while I complete my to-do list.  I do not necessarily want to watch the same episodes of "Paw Patrol" over and over, or read the same book again and again.  But it makes her smile.  It makes her smile at me. Making her smile.  Now, that's a priority I should have. The same with my husband.  He leaves the house at 6:25 every morning and gets home at 6:00 that night.  Do I greet him at the door smiling? Not as often as I should.  Most often it's, "I'm glad you're home.  I need to go work on [insert something/anything here]."  We aren't even in the same room most evenings.  Sure, we tell the same stories about our days that we've heard over and over again, but it is important that we take the time to tell them.  It is more important that we take the time to listen to them

After coming to these realizations, I have come up with a new "hashtag" for my life: #becomingmary

Mary was the one who left the chores for another time.  She did not cook a big meal.  She did not clean the house.  But even as these things were left undone, Mary was doing something important. She was working on her relationship with Jesus.  She did not let the little details of her life overshadow the big picture of what is most important.  So as I work on becoming less like Martha and more like Mary, my prayer is that I am willing to give up control over the little things.  My house may be messy.  Dinner may come from a paper bag.  I may be rushed to complete a school assignment.  But my priorities will be in order.  I will be in the Word.  I will spend real time with my family- not just present in the house, but a presence in their lives.  I will leave things to be completed tomorrow, and I will be okay with that.  

Because I am #becomingmary  


  1. Beautiful. I can relate. I cried for a moment, it really is the moments of smiles, sharing dinner from the paper sack...


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