The most unexpected person sent me a podcast last summer, with the note “Where the ideal is lacking, grace abounds.” It was a message from my kids’ dad. He was incredibly encouraging early in my separation, and was always willing to help however he could. Sometimes that just meant coming to the family Labor day BBQ and making my favorite guacamole that he makes soooo well! Other times, it was sending me Matt Chandler podcasts.
This Matt Chandler series changed my life. Honestly. I think I’ve sent this particular message to every single-mom I know. The series is on the Village Church app, and it’s called “A Beautiful Design.” I literally encourage EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON. to listen. This particular message was in the seventh and eighth sermon of the series- titled Woman’s Purpose and Woman’s Hurdles, respectively. (Men, there’s one for you too, LISTEN to it!) He talks about what our “role” is as a woman, biblically speaking. And before some of you start twitching at the thought of that, or click the giant “X” at the top right of your screen, just know that I TRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIED to be a super submissive wife (most of the time), but I failed to see what God was REALLY saying. He was saying that we were to be a PARTNER. My ex husband missed that word, but the good little submissive wife in me took his word as gold. You are not meant to be a slave to your husband. There’s a giant difference, hear me. (Or as my journal entry from July 5, 2016 so lovingly puts it: Don’t be a marshmallow, but don’t be a jerk. My words?)
But one thing that I continue to reflect on during these two messages is what Matt Chandler recognizes as women’s biggest struggles in marriage/relationships. We struggle with comparison and perfectionism…and not for our husband, but for ourselves or for other women. WWWWHAT?? And the biggest cause of this…….SOCIAL. MEDIA.
Let me tell you, girls…this is awful. And true. Of course we all know we post the best version of ourself, our kids, of our house (allllllllllways this clean), and of our dinner that we spent hours preparing (because, duh…perfect mom over here!). But ya’ll, it’s bullshit. It really is. No one posts a picture with that awful added chin skin (it’s definitely just skin, not fat). And no one posts about what a jerk your nine year old can be (but we knooooow, mom. We knooooow!). And even on those rare occasions that we DO post about our inner struggles with weight (okay, ya’ll can see that so that’s a little LESS inner and a lil more outward, but…), and relationships (you can’t see me change my FB status anymore, THANK YOU FB!), and the complications with raising kids in today’s world (which of course I lovingly worked through with them using scripture and love. Definitely not with early bedtimes and the threat of missing tomorrow’s dinner)…it’s all edited for our readers. We spend so much time perfecting our post, and so little time perfecting our self.
In another message, Matt Chandler goes on to call out single-parents. Listen, it’s a reality in today’s broken and gross world. Is it “meant” to be this way? No. But when someone STOPS wanting to be married to you, you can’t stop it. You can pray. You can hope. Heck, you can even beg (guilty). But at the end of the day, sometimes divorce happens. And that’s where this unexpected blurb of encouragement entered my life. I was running on the highway where I bought my Wabash house, cornfields on either side of me, listening to this message that the kids’ dad sent. And I literally fell.to.my.knees at the part where Matt calls out to single mama’s and says ” Where the ideal is lacking, grace abounds.” Ya’ll, God’s got you. He’s got me. He’s got my kids, and he’s got your’s. We aren’t in the ideal situation, no. But we tried. We didn’t want this to end this way. And so we have to do the right thing. Do right by God. And do what we can to make sure that this divorce somehow holds dignity to God’s purpose for us. Because though it’s not ideal, it’s our reality and we need to keep on truckin’, Mama’s (and single-papa’s). He’s got you.