We went to a baby shower today. It was a family shower, so there were families there, moms, dads, and kids running around everywhere. In this group of new friends in our new church, we are the only homeschoolers. No one else has ever been exposed to the homeschool subculture. We are novelties to them. I don't mind. I've never felt so at home and so not judged before in my life. I like it. I love the people. They've opened up their hearts and homes to us before they even knew us and the love of Christ is so very evident in their lives.
But as I was sitting in the joyful chaos of that shower, a thought that has been bouncing around in my head for a while suddenly landed with a thud. Did you know that the only people who expect perfect behavior from small children is the ultra-conservative Christian subculture?? And did you know that the rest of the developed world doesn't expect this nor judge you as parents if your children aren't perfect little obedient angels all the time? When my kid throws a fit, no one looks down their nose at me. They just smile and nod knowingly...kids will be kids, after all.
It's so relaxing to realize. The unrealistic expectations of the culture I grew up in are just that: unrealistic.
Probably most of you are thinking, um, yeah? like this is something you've always known and Darcy must be slow. But see, I've never really shared my life intimately with anyone who has not had a similar background as me. I've always hung out with the same crowd and only now am realizing what most of the world has known and taken for granted. That the expectations and standards of the ultra-conservative crowd are unique to them and not indicative of the rest of the world.
Do you know how freeing that is for me? For the first time in my life, I feel like I can let my defenses down. I can be flawed and it's OK. My kids can act like, well, KIDS and no one thinks I'm a slacker parent. These people love me for who I am, not for what I believe or how I perform. They love my kids and accept my family without strings attached. It's amazing.
I think God has me in the place I'm in, sharing my life with these people for a reason. I think He knows I need it. My husband feel it too. It's like a breath of fresh air.
So this is what Grace looks like.