Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Perception of Perfection...Duck Commander Wisdom

It's (seriously) late in the day and I just woke up.  I mean...I've been walking around and technically conscious since around 7am, but I just now woke up.  You get me?

I need some sleep.

My second article was just published in The Church Connection magazine, a free publication in a few counties in mid-Georgia.  Since it's in print now, I wanted to share it with you all.  It touches on my new-found Duck Dynasty obsession.

If you haven't seen this show...get on it.

It makes life better and brighter, and somehow more logical...in a redneck sort of way.

And they totally love Jesus.

Perfection.

Ephraim, y'all.  ;)

The Perception of Perfection


I have…oh so many…faults, and I don’t mind admitting to them or talking about them. I find a lot of freedom in owning up to my shortcomings. In fact, I think it adds to my charm…at least that’s what I tell myself. I suppose it was sometime in my late twenties, I decided it was time to “get real,” if you will. Let me give you just a few examples:

No, I am not naturally cool. At all. I embrace this. I am the absolute opposite of cool, and I don’t mean hot.

No, I do not look beautiful and dewy when I wake up in the morning. In fact, I don’t miss hideous by much.

No, I am not athletic and/or coordinated. There is nothing graceful about me. I can’t even jazzercise.

No, I am not perfect. I do not do it all right or have it all together, nor will I…ever. As it turns out, I’m a bit of a mess.

Yes, I am fine and dandy with all of this.

I believe there is a lot of strength and peace in being comfortable in our own skin, warts and all. Admittedly, I have a long way to go in this quest, but it’s a journey I choose to invest in. I realize I am probably speaking more to the hearts of women at this moment, but I believe men have this same struggle. So, in our quest for perfection, what is the true desire of our heart? Are we really looking simply for perfection, or are we searching out something more, something deeper?

I fell in love with a new TV show this past weekend, Duck Dynasty. It’s a reality show based on the family behind the Duck Commanders. And if you don’t know what the Duck Commanders are, never fear. Neither did I and it has not curbed my fun one little bit. The joy it has brought into my little world…well, it’s probably a little sad.

The Duck Commander, Phil Roberston, and his brother, known by all as Uncle Si, are by far my favorites. In one particular episode I caught, Phil was asking one of his grandsons about a little girl he had been seeing.

“How much makeup does she wear?” Phil asks.

“Not much,” the boy replied.

Phil then responds with something along the lines of, “Good. A woman can hide a world of evil with that makeup.”

They call these little tidbits of true wisdom “Phil-osophies.” I’m obsessed.

Phil then proceeds to tell the poor boy that if he found a woman that could make squirrel dumplings, that’s the one he needs to go after, no matter her appearance. Now, that’s neither here nor there, but I felt like you needed to know.

I digress.

“A woman can hide a world of evil with that makeup.”

I’m not here to pick on women. I am a woman, and I love being a woman. However, I do think the Duck Commander has a point. Women can indeed be known to hide our insecurities with beautiful homes, cute clothes and shoes, and maybe even lots of makeup. Likewise, a lot of men hide their issues and fears with muscles and money and big boy toys, but they’re always there. Don’t get me wrong! No one loves cute clothes and shoes more than me. I will always color my hair, and I love a good facial or pedicure. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these things in moderation…but we have to admit there comes a point that those seemingly innocent and fun things can become all too important. Why?

Perception is everything.

I know in my own life and in my own family, I have been known to work myself to death to make sure everything is as (I feel) it should be. I want to see that everyone has what they need, along with a smile on their face and joy in their hearts. I want there to be contentment, security, and peace at all times…and I’ve been know to do what I have to do to try and manipulate these things. Because maybe, just maybe, if everything looks okay…then it is okay. Right?

“What we manipulate to get, we will never keep.” –Beth Moore

I’ve had to learn that nugget of wisdom the hard way. I can’t orchestrate my life into perfection and peace. Perception is not truth, and the truth is that none of us have it all together and we can’t get it together. We don’t have all the answers, and we won’t always make the right choices. We all mourn over failures, fear something about the future, wish this or that was different, are sure we won’t measure up in one thing or another…and we will all mess up. Again.

It’s why Jesus had to come, and the redemption of my life that He bought on that Cross is the most beautiful thing I know. So, it’s time we learned to let go, and let God.

I don’t have to have it all together to walk in confidence about myself or my future, or the future of my family. I don’t have to hold it all in place to secure my dignity and worth and peace. I don’t have to do it all perfectly to make it all work. I can’t do it all perfectly. I need Jesus to do that. Only Jesus can take all the messes I’ve ever made or will make, all my failures and shortcomings, all my insecurities and fears, and exchange them for a life full of blessing, wisdom, peace, and joy…complete abundance and a journey I wouldn’t trade for the world. And all He asks from me…is the surrender to trust Him to do it.

I don’t have to be cool. I don’t have to be beautiful in the mornings. I don’t have to be coordinated. I don’t have to have it all together…or a beautiful home filled with lots of cute clothes and shoes and makeup.

I just have to have Jesus.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” –Proverbs 31:25.

Now that’s an outfit I can get used to wearing.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Rich Woman

Well, as you may be wondering, Little Miss Mia did indeed make her debut on her sweet momma's birthday...and she is indeed just about the sweetest and prettiest little thing God ever did make.

And I'm not a bit biased, thank you very much.

I went to see her on Monday night, then left to go to Chad's grave.  I told him...she is perfect in every way, planned by God from the beginning, and her momma is loved and cherished by a man that takes wonderful care of her.  It's just what my brother wanted.

God is faithful.  Even when it makes you cry...He is so faithful.

(deep breath inserted here)

I have more big news.  My Papa Jack turns...drumroll please...90 years old today.  Independence Day!

He may be old, but he is NOT as old America.

For those of you who know my PJ...well, you're welcome, because he is certainly a pleasure to know.  There isn't a phase of my memory that doesn't include PJ.  He has been with me from my first breath.  He was always Chad's big buddy, and I was my Mimi's girl...but as I have grown older I have learned to appreciate PJ on a much deeper level than doting grandpa. 

I am a rich woman.

Not in that way...in the traditional sense I'm actually quite poor, BUT...

In the sense of richness of relationships, which is far more valuable than money and can never be bought with cash, I am a seriously rich woman.  I have been born into a legacy that is generations old of godly individuals.  Men and women that honored God and His Holy Word, lived humble and generous lives, loved their neighbors and one another, raised faith-filled, responsible, and honest children, and whose kindness extends grace and mercy to all they meet.  Not perfect people...

Redeemed people.

And if you can't same the same, let it begin with you.  Today. 

I'm sure if you asked PJ, he could name a list a mile long of things he would have done differently a second time around.  But, I'm here to declare, my grandaddy has made me a rich woman.  He blesses all he meets with his sweet spirit, he has shown me how a man should love a woman and his children, he demonstrates generosity to those in need, he has forgiven me time and again without question, disciplined me when it was necessary and for my good, and he has loved as unconditionally as any person I know.  Simply put, if I can pass along half the legacy to my children and grandchildren as my PJ has passed along to me, well, then our family's wealth continues.

Wealth of eternal blessings, not temporal blessings.  Wealth that lives on, even after the cash is long gone.

Wealth from Jesus, our Savior.

Thank you, PJ.  I owe you more than I could ever pay, but I will do my best to honor your legacy, and pass along Jesus and all you've ever given to me on...and on...and on...

Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
- Joel 1:3


Ephraim.