By Hyacynth Worth
Some days we had a hard time parenting two children. So adding two more children to our family seemed ludicrous.
I vividly recall asking my husband why he thought we were qualified to parent two more children — two more children who had suffered the trauma of being parent-less, nonetheless.
I mean, I had said, there are moments we lose our cool.
Moments we lose our patience.
Moments we lose our heads in the midst of chaos.
How could we parent more children, add to the chaos of our family when our days are already so messy sometimes? And our family? We’ve got hang ups. We’ve got issues. We’ve got … a lot of real life going on in this house.
We are so far from perfect.
I don’t remember what my husband said, and my fears definitely weren’t quelled before our oldest daughter had arrived for hosting last winter. My fears of imperfection and the mess that ensues in its wake were active, live embers threatening to ignite into burning flames and set my dreams for what family life should look like on fire.
And then, they did.
When our host daughter arrived this image of what family should be — what made a family good and right and closer to this standard of perfect I’d created in my mind — went up in smoke.
And I’m so glad it did because I didn’t even know how entrenched we were in this striving for perfection until the whole image of of it sizzled away.
Within in a week of her arrival, I felt like we had lived a hundred years in seven days; there was only a small honeymoon period of getting to know each other slowly. We were thrown into situations only God himself could have ordained that brought about real conversation about real hurts and hang ups and real hardships.
None of it was perfect at all. But it was good. And it was real.
Every bit of our first week of hosting was drenched in the perfection-flame dousing waters of real. There were tears. There were confessions. There were deep emotions shared. Because of the circumstances that ensued, we found ourselves having to navigate the deep waters of grief and pain and in that navigation we found the opportunity to be real in the midst of real life. And in the grief and the pain, we also found connection and healing. In the midst of the hardship, we found that the joys that resulted were deep and lasting and connecting.
We found that in real there are no perfect people or perfect families; in the midst of real, we found there are just willing people and willing families.
And this is what makes the difference: showing up and showing up in love.
Though we were far from perfect, our host daughter saw our willingness to stay the course in the midst of hard, and it wasn’t long before she asked to be part of our family forever, and we then were able to welcome her and her younger sister into our home as permanent family members. Since arriving home, we’ve watched our entire family change and grow. We’ve seen the standard of perfection slowly burn away, and we’ve watched how all of the children and adults in our home have began to grow and blossom rooted in the safety of love in spite of our imperfection.
Our counselor has since shared with us that failure in parenting our four children won’t come from a lack perfection in our actions and in our deeds and in our words. Rather, it would come from proving one prevailing thought true in the mind of a child who has suffered trauma: that all adults are unreliable people. The only real failure comes when we decide to stop showing up. Perfection and the pursuit of it are pipe dreams that end in smoke; doing real life together, however imperfectly, and committing to pursing love in the midst of it. That’s the only way perfect shows up — in us being perfectly imperfect.
There’s no perfect here and there never was. And now there’s no expectation of perfect here either any more.
There’s just a lot of I’m sorrys.
And try agains.
And I’m here; I’m listening now. Help me understand.
This perspective shift has brought a lot of joy, a lot of healing, a lot laughter. And it’s brought us a lot of beauty amidst the very real mess of one very real life. And I’m so glad we didn’t let perfect and my standard of perfection rob us of the blessing that comes from embracing a this very beautiful and very messy real life.Matching for Winter hosting ends TODAY. There are still many children waiting for families. To view available children, click here.