Faith, Grace, Life

The Promise of Perfection

Perfection by Joel Bedford on flickr

My shampoo bottle is an indictment of all that is wrong with me.

Or, at least, the wording on my shampoo bottle boldly lists proof of the inadequacy of my hair.  It tells me that it is a special product for ‘hair that is limp and stressed’.  My hair is stressed.  What about the rest of me??

But that’s not all. The conditioner describes hair like mine as ‘dry and lacklustre’.  Really – this again?  Now my hair is ‘lacklustre’???  I think my self-esteem just oozed down the drain with the second rinse.

In fact, if I look around at my cosmetics and ‘beauty’ products, they’re all blaring loudly about the problems I have that they promise to correct.  All these products we buy, they sell us an idea – and, when you stop to consider it, it’s not a positive message.

Face cream jars promise to ‘fight signs of aging’ – telling us that we need to take pains to avoid a face with wrinkles.

Pantyhose packages advertise ‘controlling and smoothing’ abilities – telling us that a bit of tummy roundness is unsightly (and to hide the embarrassing evidence that we’re sporting knickers, it promises to ‘hide pantylines’, too!).

Even yoghurt containers spread the joy; our regular diet, they claim, is likely deficient in ‘healthy flora’ – therefore we’re probably undernourished and flatulent.  But the good news is that we should be belly-dancing with well-flowered tummies by the end of our trial of their product.

Leave it to me, these products promise, and I will take all that is wrong with you – and there is a LOT – and make it perfect.

It’s pretty hard to feel good about yourself with these ubiquitous messages proclaiming your flaws.

Lucky for us, we don’t have to accept these assertions, no matter how slick the wording or how pretty the packaging.

We don’t have to believe that we need those things, and that by having those fixes we will achieve perfection.

We have the Bible, and the message of that good book gives the lie to those other claims.

.

It is a message of affirmation:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God deemed us worthy of his love even before we knew or loved him.

.

It is a message of wonder:

The Bible tells us that, in all our imperfection, we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.

God created us with care and purpose.

 .

It is a message of love:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son; that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God made us perfect through the blood of Christ, and heirs to his inheritance.

Unlike the message on the bottles, the Bible affirms us.  Through it, God assures us that we are works of wonder, loved wholly and sacrificially by him, and purposed for holy things.

.

.

Perfection isn’t found in a bottle, or a jar, or a package.

Perfection is being seen with eyes of love, through faith, and in grace.

This is the true promise of perfection.

“…the God of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation.

Standard
Motherhood, Parenting

Glamourmom

The Glamourmom is a rare type of bird with attractive plumage.  Some say its origins date back to the time of the Egyptians, in which pigments and powders were used to great effect in creating an attractive display.  There are those who claim that this bird no longer exists (see Dodo), or indeed that it never has (see Unicorn); but, in truth, examples of this exotic species may be found throughout the world.  One may find a Glamourmom by nosing out its heady cloud of perfume or by following the envious glances of the Common Dowdyfrau (this latter species exists in abundance around suburban areas, in particular).  A theory exists, although as yet unsubstantiated, that (under rare circumstances) the Lesser Gymbunnikus (itself an exotic) may in fact transmogrify into a Glamourmom with some considerable pain and effort, but that – should it take place at all – this transformation is temporary, at best.

–          Excerpt taken from A.Kratt-Rick’s A Rare Bird, Indeed

I saw a Glamourmom with my own eyes the other day.  She was dressed in a crisp flight attendant’s uniform, the snug jacket and short skirt neat on her slim form; she wore heels and bright red lipstick (no smudges!), and she was waiting for her Kindergartener to emerge from class.  I must admit, I stared a bit.

There are plenty of pretty Mammas around our school – many of them neatly dressed, even when conforming to the West Coast uniform of motherhood; yoga pants (crusty toddler-prints optional) – and I would never disparage the natural beauty of these lovely ladies.  But the Glamourmom is altogether another breed.  This is the woman whose hair, when long, is smooth and lush – never lank and frumpy; when she wears a short style it looks pixie-ish – not mannish.  Her makeup is always impeccable and she may even go to such lengths as applying false eyelashes and having regular manicures.  Undoubtedly, inside those stylish heels, her feet are also uncalloused and her toenails well-groomed.  In short, this is a woman who Takes Trouble.

Me, on the other hand?  Well, I remember a time when I used to Take Trouble – although I never achieved the kind of cool elegance of a Glamourmom.  To begin with, when I went through phases of being especially careful about my appearance, I didn’t have any kids.  The last time I flew internationally (just over a year ago), I was packing up all the necessities for the flight – and I had to chuckle at how times had changed.  When I was kid-free, I’d include in my carryon: Breath-freshener, Visine, moisturizer, make-up remover, make-up, eyecare stuff, perfume, hair-styley things… (the list goes on).  But with kids, it has been all about Gripe water, Tylenol, kid snacks, breast pump, bottles, Rescue Remedy, extra outfits, entertainment and novelties for the boys, etc. (another long list – but almost none of it for me, and especially none with the aim of improving my appearance before disembarking).

Before I’d go away on holiday (holiday? Ha!), I’d spend weeks exfoliating, layering on self-tanner, moisturizing, waxing, grooming and otherwise preparing to look my best in all the vacation photos.  These days, if we do get away, I expend more energy on finding co-ordinated outfits for the boys (easier to organize, and cute in photos) and preparing them for the inevitable upheaval from their regular routines than I do on my appearance.

So, life has intervened: four kids, a recent shoulder surgery (putting paid to any efforts at fitness during my convalescence), and general exhaustion have taken their toll – and I have discovered that I have now become a perfect specimen of the Common Dowdyfrau.  Things just got a bit too tricky, and I forgot to care.  Until I have a night out, that is – and then I scramble around, trying to figure out what fits and what I might have worn to the previous night out (so long ago it was) so that I can just throw that on in a pinch.  The last time we went out I settled for a silky tunic with microsuede leggings (supposed to look like real suede – wishful thinking) and threw on some earrings, which I promptly snatched off when I realized that they looked clunky next to my decade-old glasses (my contacts are bugging me, but I’m not ready to bite the bullet of replacing them) – I was not going to spend the whole night squinting at West through red, rheumy eyes.  So it is clear that I am no longer practiced at looking my best.

However (and this is a big however), we birds are a resourceful bunch.  I have looked in the mirror (as it were – I *obviously* don’t often actually look in the mirror) and realized that I have let my plumage fade.  It’s time to fluff those feathers and make some changes.  Now, don’t go expecting any miracles – my life isn’t an episode of ‘What Not to Wear’ (sadly) – but I think that a few tweaks are in order.  Decisions need to be made:

Hair – too long to be flattering (on me), but just long enough to stick in a ponytail.  So maybe just a touch-up on the highlights and leave it at that

Makeup – yes (that one’s easy.  Have lots, just need to apply)

Clothes – will be ruthless in culling old maternity things from my wardrobe (even if they are ohsocomfy) – keep transitioning into leggings; not ready for pants with zips

Shoes – polish/replace/consider a heel (considered it – not happening)

Self – smile more (doing that) and do a bit of running again (have begun.  Just need to keep going.  Maybe tomorrow)

OK, so maybe not big changes.  Still, all my boys want at this age is a Mamma who can keep up with them and give them cuddles.  That might be hard to do in heels and tailored clothes – right?

Standard