Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yes To God - Chapter 2 Ms. Perfection

Lisa's quotes are in purple.

It's week 2 into the study and God's really been working on my heart through this. I have pages of journal notes (don't worry breathe I'm not going to put them all down). Our Bible verse these chapter is "Even perfection has it's limits, but your commands have no limit." Psalm 119:96.

In her book Lisa shares with us the exhausting role we have when we try to present ourselves as perfect and why she writes, "But while its not possible to achieve on this earth, perfection is perhaps, the most common characteristic that women impersonate. We get caught up in the trap of trying to appear perfect to others Society sells us pictures and symbols of perfection in the news media, print ads, and gossip magazines. They have pitched us an image...and we've fallen for it. We are buying into the notion of perfect wife, perfect mother, and perfect package, at the expense of ourselves and our loved ones." pg 27

I love Lisa's story of the Great Sunday Morning Fake Out. I hate it too, why because I saw myself in it. Why do I keep hearing Gollum from "The Lord of the Rings" in my head "FALSE - TRIXIE", probably because it's true - we want people to see our lives a certain way not one that necessarily shows the truth. We put on or image like we put on our clothes, and trick people into believing it. We have an outfit for different circumstances, one for church, one for work, one for school, one for even friends and family. Depending on where you go depends on what outfit you where.

Lisa asked us is this wide spread? Truthfully I never gave it much though. Based on the fact that our family had the Sunday Morning Fake out down to an art form for 4 years, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this.

It goes along with what I shared in Chapter 1- Up until the time Brett hit recovery we were co conspirators in our Sunday morning disguise. All though we were playing the roles so well we didn't realize each other were fakes.

We would get up, Brett and Brinn would eat breakfast I'd have coffee (a big cup) and get ready. Then I'd get Brinn dressed- while Brett got ready. We'd drive to church with our Christian music on and talk about nothing. If it was one of those rough mornings we just listen to the music louder. Once at church Brinn would get hot chocolate, and we'd wave to a few people go in and sit down. Brinn by this time had usually spilt hot chocolate on herself especially if we were going somewhere after church or she was wearing white.

The worship would start and we'd stand and sing, Brinn would sit then we'd force her to stand (she's not a morning girl) because good Christian families had children who stand during worship. (Perfect Mom syndrome slips in) We'd listen to the message, and after church we'd go and say hi to our pastor. Now here is the funny part our Pastor would say here's the perfect family. (we were good) After service it was outside for pastries or bagels and small talk. Now I was usually starving by this time, because I hadn't eaten breakfast, but I didn't want to eat to much, but make sure that everyone knew that we didn't eat this stuff normally. (Perfect Package) Then we'd head down to pick up Brinn from the Kids program and leave. Church was done it was time to go home and change our outfits.

All this time I was covering the truth from myself and from others, and Brett was covering his own truth from everyone. We had everyone fooled but God.

No one knew that Brett had only professed faith because that's what I needed to hear but I knew he was in church physically and that was it. We'd hold hands and nodded, just like the couple in Lisa's book. He'd participate, I couldn't let people know that my husband didn't have a deep spiritual side (perfect wife syndrome). I didn't know that my husband was sometimes so loaded up on 10 to 12 vicodines during the service he couldn't really absorb what was going on. Or that when he was on call for work he'd pretend to get a call and leave church to "fix something" and then come back just in time to pick us up. Of course as the "perfect wife" I would always had the excuse that he had to go to work.

No one knew that we spent our lives living in the same house, but living different lives, struggling financially and feeling very inferior to all the people at church. Why would they we were the perfect family. We were masters of deception. I can say this, because when we finally did tell people about what was going on they said we would have never guessed.

We want people to think of us in positive ways, we are afraid of being judged or out casted if we don't appear to have it all together. One of the things I always heard in Recovery has stuck with me. Don't worry about what other people are thinking about you, because they don't think about you as much as you think they do.

It's important to recognize that perfection is not humanly possible, there has only ever been one perfect human and that was Jesus. "If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come." Hebrews 7:11 NIV If we could attain perfection we would not have needed Jesus to come and give his life for ours. Jesus died four sins and imperfections mine & yours.

There is so much more in my heart right now. How I strived to be the perfect package for years and years. That's been one of my biggest battles. I'm praying Lord please help me to see myself as you see me. I don't have any deep words of wisdom, I guess I do better just telling my story. God has changed Brett and I. I'm working on not falling into that same role on Sundays. If Brinn wants to sit let her sit. It's easier when your husband is really on the same path towards God. We don't have frivolous conversations we talk about the message after ward. We try and go up to people we don't know and say hi and introduce ourselves. I want people to see us as authentic, not this cute sweet couple that sits in the second row.

God placed us at our church, Brett and my stories are full of pain and destruction, before we meet and all that got dragged into our marriage. We are an against all odds couple. We shouldn't by societies standard even still be married. But we don't live according to Society's standards we live under God's standards, and that means we look to him and "through him all things are possible" Philippians 4:13. So it's my prayer that as we stop playing the charade that maybe someone will see us for who we really are and God will use that to His Glory.

I'm sure I'll have more over the next week, like I said I have pages of notes. Love to you all.



Connie said...

I praise God for you and being real. Marriage is hard and it's a testament to both of you that you are making it work. Love what you shared. COnnie

Cindy said...

Thank you for posting such honest and raw feelings and events.

I appreciate your heart and willingness to share.

Paula said...

A great post Carol, and one that I'll be re-visiting, no worries about that.

Isn't it great how this study is showing us that we're not the only ones! We're not alone in our struggle, and our purpose is to be there for others. God is amazing how He blesses us like that.

In Him, Paula :-)

Laura said...

Your story just grips me, Carol. Because you are making it. By God's grace, you are making it. I know it hasn't been easy. And the hard days are not over, but look at you! I am so proud of you (and I don't even know you). I just want to give you a big hug.
Your story will bless so many lives, friend. there are others with this same struggle who are tired. They want to give up. But God has put you here for a reason!
Thank you for sharing your story.

Liz said...

Good morning, Carol! I am rejoicing with you as your are being real and look forward to getting to know you - the REAL - you through your blog.
Your honesty touches my heart. Although I have not lived your story, I have lived similar aspects of it: family alcoholism, the marital and family abuse in a close friendship where I pretended a lot, and just the plain old family fake out.
Prayers and hugs to you! ~Liz

Regina said...

Carol, Thank you so much for this post. It seems that we have much in common. Your words have been an encouragement and light of hope for me. I'll be back to read how God is working in you and your families life. He is so good to lavish us with His mercies.

If you don't mind I would like to add you to my blog list at my sight. Let me know.

LynnSC said...

Wow Carol!
I knew the moment that I first saw your cute little picture attached to a comment that I wanted to get to know you. I was not wrong.

Thank you so much for sharing your life in such an open way... I know that it is a blessing to me and others. I am awed by your testimony.

I could really relate to so much of your post...

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Your story tugs at my heart. I praise Jesus that you are Brett are marital survivors. It is just so disheartening to see marriages end in divorce, any marriage, but especially Christian marriages, like my own. I do not share about that on my blog as I share what and how I believe God has led me thusfar. However, I do share my story with anyone interested via email.

I'm humbled that you so honestly reveal your story. I wish I could. Maybe someday when I see the results of my prayers...however God does that.

I love what you said here:
"Don't worry about what other people are thinking about you, because they don't think about you as much as you think they do."

I have heard that many times and how true it is. I worry over what my local friends are saying about me. (The ones who've since abandon me half way through my trial and when I changed churches.) That is a heart break also.

Thank you for your very sweet comment on my blog. Just to be called a "my dear friend" is so precious to my heart. I've been embraced and loved by so many wonderful bloggy friends. I just wish they'd all move close to me, including you. Are you sure you like Sunny California? haha

You have me at every word and I just cannot commend you enough for sticking with your marriage. God is going to continue to do great things in your life and marriage BECAUSE of your obedience to your vow.

Oh, email me directly anytime.
dierkesp (at) hotmail (dot) com
Love ya,

Lelia Chealey said...

I loved how you shared your own story and laced it with the syndrome's. This life is so tough. Somedays I just think Lord, I'm done. This walk with you...not so great at times. Then that's when I run off & try life without Him & realize how much I need Him. Tough...but worth it.
We'll learn together through the pages of this book study sweet friend.

Tammy R said...

As I was reading your story,brought back memories. Our marriage was a'fake' for 12 years until we allowed God to take hold of it and us.

Your story was so honest and transparent!

Darlene said...

Your post has given me the chills.

It delights me to see that you are giving God the glory for all of your pain AND your restoration. Every time you tell your story, and point to Him... it will be suffering for Christ's sake. Your pain means something, and is glorious to Christ's kingdom. Thank you for authentically pointing to Him. Your story is one of HOPE!

So glad to be on this journey with you,

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Carol, thank you for sharing your story! You "beat the odds"!! What a wonderful testimony here.


In His Graces~Pamela

Anonymous said...

You are gloriying God already. Your honesty sees to that. You obviously have some so far, and kept your family intact by being faithful to God - this is so wonderful! Our families are worth making the effort it takes to be vulnerable, so we can learn from each other and bring glory to the King. Have a wonderful day. With love in Christ... Naomi

Anonymous said...

I meant "come so far"...

The Fry's said...

Oh my Carol, I was very captivated reading this post... I can just feel your pain. I was sitting there reading and nodding my head about the husband part. My husband doesn't talk much about his faith. He did tell me that he believed, and while that is all I really need to know, it would be nice to have more from him. He casually attends church with me, and fidgets most of the time there. I never thought about how I wanted people to perceive us when we walked in on Sunday morning. Thank you so much for posting this eye-opener and for the blessed powers that sent me to your blog.

Have a wonderful day!

Leebird said...

"Don't worry about what other people are thinking about you, because they don't think about you as much as you think they do."

Boy, if I could let that truth sink from my head down to my heart, I'd be in a WAY better place than I am today!

You are a beautiful person, and your scars are what make you that way. Love you sister, Lee

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks for reading my post and commenting. I loved your insight there and here. It's hard to take it all it. There is such a pressure to be perfect. I'm just glad that God doesn't expect that. I look forward to getting to know you better.


Pat's Tuesday said...


I wish I was there to give you a big hug. What a job God has done and is still doing in you. I love what you said about " Don't worry about what other people are thinking about you, because they don't think about you as much as you think they do." and how true that is even in my own life. Thank you for sharing you story and letting God be real in your life so that your mairrage could be one for him and not one the enemy got. I am praying for your sweet family.

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