With the exception of Mary, I don’t think I’ve even once thought about the women in Jesus’ family tree. What a horrible thing to be true about a Christian and a feminist.
But a few weeks ago I came across an artist named Tricia Robinson, and was really moved by her work and especially her words about The Four.
Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba have something in common. They are grandmothers in Jesus’ family tree. Some were prostitutes, involved in affairs, some lied and were truly not the starry-eyed perfect princess. But God chose them…these four broken women. And that’s why I gave them crowns. A symbol of grace and love from our Creator and Redeemer.
I knew the stories of these women, but it never occurred to me that they were part of the lineage of Jesus. And it struck me that I have harbored a secret belief that all the people in His family were and are people who meet a high standard of perfection.
I know that I can lean toward perfectionism and I thought I had identified all the thought patterns that needed redirection, until my reaction when I saw this artist’s work and her words. The bad and the ugly is that I still expect perfection of myself, and that’s not an attainable goal.
I am very disciplined about setting realistic goals at work, but I am not-so-disciplined in my personal life. Particularly as it relates to setting realistic expectations of myself in my most important job: mom. I guess maybe a lot of moms fret about whether or not everything they say and do is enough, but I really feel that weight more in the last few years because my girls need and deserve a parent who is focused above all on them and who sets a good example.
I may not be out sleeping around, but I certainly drop F bombs and can get my judge-y on. Translate: I’m far from anyone’s definition of perfection, including and especially my own.
I also love the words of Ann Voskamp, which Tricia Robinson shared in her packaging with the print:
Four broken women – women who felt like outsiders, like has-beens, like never-beens…women who didn’t fit in…And Jesus claims exactly these who are wandering and wondering and wounded and worn out as His.
I feel like an outsider regularly. Depending on where I am, I may be the Christian who’s not a Republican, the Mom who asks uncomfortable questions of other kids’ parents, the one who won’t come to something if I can’t bring my girls with me, or the opinionated divorced lady who makes people uncomfortable because I am not afraid to stand up for myself or to encourage women to stand up for themselves. I’m a girl who doesn’t care about hair and make-up. I’m not a “single-pringle” looking for fun, but a woman committed to peace. And I’m not good at keeping up with friends and I don’t go on girl trips because in my non-working hours I hang out with my girls, cook with my father-in-law, or yell at the news and my Twitter feed.
I am also wandering and wondering and worn out regularly. There’s a never-ending list of things I feel like I haven’t done (and that I actually haven’t done!). There’s a never-ending list of things I need to do with and for the girls, and that I need to teach them about and to talk to them about. There’s a never-ending list of things I’ve missed and of things that I never even thought about needing to cover until a situation arises and I think How did I not think about and plan for this conversation??? Which brings me back to: I’m far from anyone’s definition of perfection, including and especially my own.
Maybe I should redefine “perfection” as simply doing the best I can. Because grace. But can I do that? Maybe it’s brave to accept a radical notion like my best is enough. Because grace. But is that crazy?
As I was pondering it all tonight, Audrey fell off her bike and skinned her knees. I ran to grab the bin of materials to get her all cleaned her up, and when I opened the gallon Ziploc bag of Band-Aids – which are the leftovers from dozens of boxes and themes we’ve had over the years – the one she pulled out said Brave.
The family of Jesus is filled with imperfect people and followers. I’m one of them.