I found this dollhouse at an antique market. I’d been looking for one for years because I had a metal dollhouse as a child. We found another metal house from a newer time period, in better condition. When choosing between the two, I chose this one.
It doesn’t look real pretty. It has rust. The front is faded and the roof has scratches. The inside is equally beat up, through structurally sound, except for that dip in the floor.
I chose this house not only because it was cheaper, but because of it’s character. The pitch of the roof and the chimney caught my eye. This house has stories to tell…of post war architecture, girls who played with it, and of being cherished for it’s beat up condition. Each one is a gift.
Houses have stories to tell.
You want your home to have good stories–of laughter, joy, and happiness. That’s the picture-perfect image you have as a bride and groom, of a first-time parent, of a new homeowner. Over time, though, the home’s story includes sadness and pain from a variety of circumstances. Your house gets battered like the one in this picture, sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally.
When your family story isn’t the storybook image, you usually don’t know what to do.
I celebrate this house with all of it’s rust and chinks and weathered look. It resembles life more accurately. At least life here at Life Beyond the Picket Fence–a ministry of life, faith, and parenting beyond the storybook image. It’s the core message I share through speaking and writing because you need hope, encouragement, community, and support when your home looks like the one above.
I have the privilege to share a reader’s story in an upcoming post. She’s been vulnerable to share her pain and experience as a mom who’s struggled. She’ll be honest about the judgment and loneliness she’s experienced as an adoptive parent of children with mental health and special needs. As I talk with moms across the country as a speaker and counselor, her story echoes those of many.
One filled with judgment, feeling alone, and hurt.
I’m honored to share her story. As you read it, consider five truths about real life beyond the storybook image.
1. As Christians, we’ll experience pain. It’s just that simple.
2. A Mother’s pain is one of the deepest pains in human experience.
3. There are no guarantees in parenting other than the redemptive truth of the gospel and the assurance of the Godhead and the attributes of each One–the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You need complete dependence upon them for your family.
4. We need to create communities where moms can be open, real, supportive, and life-giving to one another. By communities, I mean real communities, not just Facebook groups or chatrooms. This is a passion of mine. Sometimes it begins at a conference, retreat, Bible study, or small group. I often help a group get started by sharing my not-so-picture-perfect mom journey. If God is drawing you to develop an environment that can be open about a mother’s pain, contact me. I’d be glad to talk about ideas to help you get started, or to speak to your group, MOPS group, or at a women’s retreat.
5. We need to stop judging one another, and speak life and hope to one another. When I was in mom-pain, the shame, guilt, and stress was overwhelming. I felt alone. I needed a safe places where I could talk without judgement. I couldn’t find it. Because of that, I share so you and others know you’re not alone. Why don’t we do this more in our circles of influence? If you see or suspect a mom is hurting, reach out to them in humility and partnership, not in condemnation.
I’ll share more in a post that follows my reader’s story. The reader has asked to remain anonymous. Her hope is that her story will encourage and give life to others.
Watch for the next post. It will share her story.
How can we pray for you?