If we're coming as we are to our relationships, are we accepted? Are we acceptable? I'm not sure. I think I will be. Want to know the good news? No matter HOW we come to God, in sweats or formal wear, He sees us for who we really are...sinners in need of saving. So, take off the tuxedos and ballgowns (unless you're going to a formal event--then it's okay) and BE who you are. Know that God loves you (and me, and that guy over there) no matter what we are on the outside as long as we know WHOSE we are!
I know that's the kind of way I usually end my writing, so let me take a few steps back.
I was thinking today about an old Daisy Duck cartoon. In it, she is playing dress up, and one of her friends calls her and invites her to a "come as you are" party. She goes as she is, and her friends make her feel terrible for being so dressed up. She is ostracized for coming as she was. (I honestly went to youtube to try to find a clip to link for you, but I was unsuccessful.) Please don't overthink WHY this cartoon was in my head--I don't think I can afford the therapy for that! But, it did get me thinking about how we present ourselves to the world. Let me go back a step.
Our Sunday and Monday were pretty tough. Little Miss started our Sunday bedtime routine by dunking clean panties into the toilet and flinging the (blessedly) clean water all over our bathroom. She ended the bedtime routine by NOT EVER GOING TO BED. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but she was up about 6 times that night, once for 2 hours straight. It was like a horrible game of tag. She'd come to my bed, I'd put her back in her bed, certain she was asleep, then go to bed. Mere minutes later she was back in my bed. I even tried sleeping in the spare bed in her room to offer her some comfort, but then she was just trying to climb into that bed. I was exhausted. We somehow survived the day, only to have the bedtime game of tag start again. My exhaustion lost me the game, and at 330, I woke to her sweet voice saying, "Mama. Mama." I looked, and she was covered in what I thought was blood! Heavens, the panic! I got her out into the hallway, in the light, to see that, instead, she was covered in a mysterious black substance. When I asked her what it was, she told me it was marker. Now, being the mom, I know where the markers are kept, and I was fairly sure it WASN'T marker. I told her to show me which marker. She proceeded into the bathroom, opened a drawer, then opened....mascara. My almost-3-year old's face was covered in mascara. I switched from terror to anger in no time. I managed to get her cleaned up AND find the baby gate in the garage in under 10 minutes.
Needless to say, I couldn't take it any more. I needed a way to help her sleep better. I set up the gate, gave her very clear instructions "Do Not Touch The Gate" because all adults know that stinkin' thing won't hold up if she wants to get out of her room! And, God Bless Us Every One, she has slept through the night every night since then. This morning, with a bit of cloud cover, my angel slept until 7am! She read in bed until 8. I am a much happier mama with some sleep on board. Much. Happier.
I promise there is a connection between this and Daisy Duck. I really do. Apparently, I've held onto this idea for a while, and here it is: It's that parents (Christians, families, neighbors...pick your favorite) just get it right every time. Instead, we do our best to play dress up when others are around and lay around in our sweats the rest of the time. I do TRY to be a good mama. I really do. So, when you ask me, "How are things going with Little Miss?" I'll tell you we're doing well. I'll tell you about how she bumped her chin and what a fun kid she is, but I'll leave off the parts where I lose my patience, or where time out lasts a few minutes longer than it should, or where I just couldn't give her a bath last night because we were too darn tired.
I will try, going forward, to not play dress up with you. I will let you know the good with the bad. Some weeks (okay, maybe not weeks--but days? or hours?) we may really be doing well. My prayers of having strength and skills equal to my tasks are being answered, so I expect some times I'll feel like Daisy Duck with the phone ringing. Some days, though, I'll tell you, "This is hard. Harder than I've ever imagined it would be. I'm exhausted and impatient. I'm short-tempered and not very nice." And then, as now, I'll ask you to pray for Little Miss and me, as we figure out how to be mama and daughter.