OK, world. Here goes. I should start, I suppose, by telling you that until now I have generally avoided social media and all things face-twitter-insta-book with the same level of caution with which I refrain from sugar and high-wedge shoes. The sugar I forego due to its unfortunate relationship with my pants. (I.e., I can have comfortable pants in a size I can live with, or I can have sugar.) The wedges? Well they, like so many other things, are so cute on other girls, but… I will never be able to unlearn a bit of wisdom from an adorable antique book from the fifties I bought as a girl called, The Tall Girl’s Handbook. “The tall girl should eschew the wedge like the plague; it makes her look like a Clydesdale.” Ahem. They didn’t sugar coat advice in the fifties, honey.
But I am swallowing my fear, antisocial tendencies, and cranky-old-ladyness to share somethings that God has been urging me to say. Me! As if anybody could learn anything from me. We’ll apparently our Lord and Father can use us messy people for His glory too. So from the start let me set you straight about one thing, people; me pretending to be anything other than a hot-mess-who-needs-Jesus-just-to-get-through-a-day-without-losing-it is a bald-faced lie.
“An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.” This is one of my favorite quotes from my all-time favorite movie, Steel Magnolias. So, so true, M’lynn. So, here it is folks. (If there are any actual folks reading this.) I declare my purpose forthwith. My intentions for this literary vehicle are noble, if not altogether prudent. Please call me on it if I ever wander astray. I intend to share my struggles, my mess, my absolute need for Jesus, with other stressed-mess mamas and worn-out women of this crazy world. Because Pinterest is bull-poop, honey. Nobody has all her mess totally together. NO-BODY.
If you are shaking your perfectly coiffed little head no right now and telling yourself that you are the exception, then prayers for you, sister. Hop on off of here and come find us again when you find yourself hiding from your own kids in the bathroom or when you realize getting a trip by yourself to Walmart feels like a vacation.
Any who. I felt a bit nudged to share this today, when I realized that I had read or heard three different messages this week from Christian speakers and writers encouraging us to be honest and to humble ourselves before our God, and each other. Humble ourselves. Admit our weakness. Our flaws. Share our struggles. So that others may benefit. Yikes. (At this point, my own sweet Mama is probably clutching her pearls wondering what I might divulge. Guard my mouth, er, fingers, Lord. Let me not bring shame upon the family.)
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
“So that Christ’s power may rest on me.” I am not even able to receive His awesome power until I admit to myself, my God, and the people around me that I can’t do diddly-squat without Him. (I believe “can’t do diddly-squat” is from the King James Version.)
OK, Lord, I hear you loud and clear. So here I am, boasting like a banty-rooster all about my weakness. I have the market cornered on weakness, people. Lay some of that Jesus power on me, Lord. I need thee every hour.
SO, I suppose, for this to be a truly obedient act of humility, I must share the reason for the name of the blog, “Sweet” is Not my Default.
Um, well. I seem sweet to people who know me out there in the real world. I smile a lot. I usually don’t have anything mean to say about anybody. (Although, God forgive me, I am slipping as I age, Lord.)
But inside? I am a whole lot more Ouiser than Truvy. Bless your heart if you don’t get this reference. (Steel Magnolia’s again, sorry. You must watch it, soon.) Ouiser is a grumpy, frowny Shirley McLane, Truvy is a sweet, sunny, Dolly Parton. I am naturally the former rather than the latter, no matter what I may dish out to you.
I do not mean that I am walking around being fake all the time. (Lord help me not to be fake.) I am simply telling you that my natural, sinful, default reaction to most everything in life is that of a grumbling, crotchety, cynical, bitter, and sometimes angry and unkind old poot. Anything else you see coming out of me is directly from the Holy Spirit.
Yes, Lord I need thee every hour. My family knows this is true. My three boys have seen more of the crusty, stressed, mean version of Mama than anybody should. Now, I do not mean to suggest to you for even a second that the Holy Spirit has fastened His mighty hand upon me and I am now a well of sweet-flowing water from here on out.
God help me, I wriggle out from under His Holy Spirit hand almost daily. I am as squirmy and hard to wrangle as a toddler in need of a potty. (Speaking of toddlers. I will give you a second confession (Free!) for this post. My three-year-old’s nap just passed into the three hour mark. We are almost into let-him-sleep-on-through-the-night territory. But, alas, I will get him up, in just a minute. He needs supper, and a bath, and a potty break. Don’t judge me. You don’t wake napping toddlers. Not on the third kid, anyway. )
Sweet, you see, is not my default. My default is u-g-l-y. (You ain’t got no alibi.) And messy. And sometimes, at my most stressed out, striving to be perfect, striving to please people, striving to seem to have it all together, sometimes the Mama created by this perfect storm of stress and sin, and maybe hormones, sometimes she’s just plain mean. Mean and impatient and too too critical of my own sweet family. My own precious children the Lord blessed me with. God forgive me for every word I have said in anger to these sweet children. Lord help me to build them up for you instead of tearing them down with constant criticism.
Keep your gentle Holy Spirit hand upon me, Father. Help me seek you first everyday, so that no matter how ugly and nasty and even mean my default might be, your sweet sweet spirit will be what people see in me.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:5
And with that, a sleepy-eyed, hungry, slightly-grubby toddler just shuffled into the room. Praise God; He is good.