Real Doesn’t Always Sparkle.

I remember looking at my aunt’s diamond ring when I was younger, it was my first close up experience with an actual multi-karat diamond. It sparkled like no other…real sparkled in a way I had literally never seen before. No wonder diamonds were a girl’s best friend (real ones at least)!

As I sat on my couch last night, overwhelmed with defeat, I pulled up Facebook. It seems that is what we turn to these days, sad but true, I could have picked up my Bible, could have picked up the phone, but last night I apparently wasn’t seeking encouragement. In the end I was served a lesson.

“What’s on your mind, Dana” the infamous Facebook question sits at the top of the news feed begging the question that has been answered by over a billion people in literally a billion different ways.

Tonight I was struggling with being real in answering. Why, because my real answer wasn’t the positive, upbeat, motivating, Christian response that I normally posted.  It wasn’t the life impacting, encouraging, post that I always desired to share. It wasn’t even the sometimes raw yet silver lined outlook into the battle cry that I shared into my battle with multiple sclerosis. One that has been allowed with greater purpose as it has matured my faith in teaching me a relinquish of control and surrender of my own plan for His.

No, that night I sat in pure defeat.  See I have only been a foster mom for about a month and I was trying so hard to keep up with this balance that I thought I was supposed to have. I had this predetermined idea in my mind of what I was going to be like and this life that I was going to be able to manage.  I have always been an overachiever so to speak when it comes to multi-tasking, and even when I took medical leave last October, I was certain that I would be able to multitask my way back to wellness.

As we enter the summer and 5 weeks into my new foster mom role, I am learning to adapt to a new normal. God is teaching me that performance, even in mom-things, is not what He was seeking when He called me to foster. Simply being me, His daughter, and who He is continuing to sanctify me into, is all He desired.  We make it more difficult than it really is, and because of that we put performance measurables on our daily routines. If I didn’t get everyone’s hair done, schedule for the day reviewed, everyone dropped off on time, bible verses read for the day, baby therapy completed (self-taught), breakfast mess cleaned up, emails answered, ministry prep done, and the list went on. Now mind you, taking a shower required a post shower rest. MS fatigue is real and the ideas I had in my head were just not possible in this new normal. For the first few weeks I kept telling myself I was adjusting, there was an adjustment period. I would see other moms on Facebook with just as many kids moving seamlessly it appeared, or talk to other foster parents who had multiple activities in a day let alone a week. There were nights that I threw pizza rolls in the oven and simply needed to just regroup. I mean my goodness, people called me inspiring and I was barely functioning through this? I was embarrassed…

So here I am, looking at this screen, just over four weeks in. I think I only cooked two days this week, my hair was on day two of dry shampoo, and I wore baby spit up like nobody’s business.  I was making backwards shirts a trend that no one wanted to follow and I seriously wish I was kidding but twice in public within two weeks is just not okay. Yet, I still be-bopped around making exceptional posts and I meant it genuinely when I said that my heart was bursting with love at the experience of fostering. I was just omitting the other side of the exhaustive, tear-filled, someone help me, because I feel like I’m failing and I really just want to take a shower! I was terrified to ask for help! Why? Because I’m amazing and inspiring and God-forbid someone think that this super-hero woman battling MS and handing this world boasting in the strength of God can’t handle something… PAUSE.

And there it was…I was operating in my own fleshy fleshy-ness just candy coating it in Kingdom-work, thinking I was protecting others! Ensuring I wasn’t letting anyone else down, being an inspiration and all. Ew, all of that pride and ego!! I CAN’T DO IT. And I am failing. And I posted just that! Wouldn’t you know God came through with revelation and beautiful people responding in their amazing truth and encouragement. God doesn’t need me to do any of this extra stuff, at all. He just needs me to loooooove love love on these kids with a love like Christ, mine included! Share the good news about Him! That’s it! All that extra stuff was for the world! And I was putting that weight on myself, which is why I was exhausted! Jesus says, my yolk is easy and my burden is light! And the thing is because I was so afraid of being open with it – hiding in all of my pride, I sat in fear. The truth is, real doesn’t always sparkle. It isn’t always pretty! Some of the most inspirational, amazing people are the ones who tell the ugly stuff and are bold and raw enough to talk about it. Lesson one. Real doesn’t always sparkle, and man that is okay.

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