It had to be the red marker. If I had to leave one errant dry erase marker on the floor where the two year old could find it, it had to be the red one. You know those moments when you realize a second two late they’ve been quiet for too long? By the time I found her she had stripped naked, drawn tattoos all over her tummy with the red marker, and progressed to drawing a bright red rainbow on the light beige carpet—the same light beige carpet that was brand new when we moved into the parsonage.
It’s funny to me now how stressed I was over that carpet when we first moved in. Nice carpet plus 3 munchkins and a dog—well, accidents are bound to happen. But then, I was kind of paranoid over the whole parsonage thing to begin with. Talk to enough PW’s, and you hear the horror stories—the ladies showing up at the door unexpectedly to give you the white glove test. There was the friend who had a party and found things in the medicine cabinet rearranged, and the one who still isn’t sure how many keys to her house are floating around the church somewhere.
But even though the church has been wonderful about respecting the parsonage as our home, I was still a little freaked out when we first moved in. I’m both a recovering perfectionist and a domestically challenged housekeeper. Kind of sets you up for inner turmoil, doesn’t it? And when we first moved in, I clicked into full perfectionist mode. I was going to keep the house in drop-by-company order. It would have worked really well except for the three children. And the husband. And the dog. And my philosophical opposition to ironing.
What I finally realized was that my perfectionism stemmed from fear. If the house wasn’t perfect, what would people think of me? Would they think less of my husband because I couldn’t keep the house neat? Would people think we weren’t taking good care of the church’s resources if there were piles of crushed Cheerios on the floor? Yet God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound discipline. Fear is a sign that we have not yet been made perfect in love. Knowing God’s love frees us from fear. We don’t perfect ourselves. God perfects, mature, and completes us as we draw closer to him.
That realization freed me. If you drop by, our glorious mess is on full display most days. Life happens here. But you’re welcome. Come on in and step over the toys. I’ll move the sugar cube pyramid out of the way so we can have a cup of coffee and talk. But please don’t tell the building committee about that red stain on the carpet.
So on Friday’s this wonderful and wacky group of writers gets together over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog to play with words. She posts a prompt and we all write for five minutes on whatever comes to mind. No second guessing, no editing. Just “finger painting with words.” Click on over to her blog to play along.
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