Marriage Parenting

Behind the Picket Fence

When we moved into our new home twelve years ago, the whole thing was brand, spanking new.  We had the home built in a town to which I never thought I would be moving.  Life had taken some unexpected turns and simultaneously we had found out the wonderful and long-awaited news that we were pregnant with our first son.  We realized we could stay in LA, where we were living, but more than likely I’d have to work full-time just to keep up with the demands of the economy there.  We decided to move to a less expensive part of the State and have a new home built (which was twice the size of our 1000 square foot 1950s home in LA that needed a new roof and more).

My first thought when we moved to our new home was how to make it look like the model home.  I know, I know.  Still waters sometimes do not run deep.  We found a new church within a few months and I got plugged into women’s Bible Study.  My prayer request at the time (hang in there) was that my husband would let me put colored paint on the walls.  He was being practical.  After all, the paint was new, why paint over it?  I was mortified to have all white walls.  Yep.

Looking back at that crazy season, I barely recognize myself.  We had our first new baby.  We had taken on a relative who was in foster care and were trying to go through the process to adopt her.  That meant we had regular visits from county workers and when her mom sobered up and started making attempts to get her back, we hosted {disruptive} phone calls three nights a week at 5:30pm.  Who comes up with the times of these calls?  Right at supper we would get a call from our foster daughter’s newly-sober mom promising her the moon so that when she got off the phone she would invariably have a major melt-down exclaiming something like, “I don’t have to listen to you because my mommy is taking me back to live with her!”  It’s no wonder I just wanted to paint the walls.  At least I could control THAT.

Well, I’m happy to say that over the past twelve years, my prayer requests have gotten meatier and more substantial (nothing wrong with praying for paint, but there are some more pressing things to bring before the Lord as well).  God has moved mountains and life has flowed forward.  We have a second son.  We home educate.  The paint needs repainting (really!) but I’m not fixated on it at all.  Probably I should care a little more than I do at this point, but it’s just not on my A-list.

And life is still super-imperfect.  My bushes out back need trimming.  Half my perennials out front haven’t come back in this year, so I have patches of dry ground which look like awkward bald spots in the garden.  My hair was going grey and I just now got time to color it.  Some nights the guys eat Mac-N-Cheese and Hot Dogs while I run out to Zumba.  They may add in raw carrots, but since Dad is cooking, they balance that out with a bowl of ice cream at the end of the meal.

And the other night, my five-year-old threw the royal fit of a lifetime for about a half-hour as we were getting a {too late} bedtime routine going.  He didn’t want his dad to be the one to tuck him in and he went ballistic.  He was overtired and we didn’t have our parenting coordinates lined up so things went kaflooie in no short order.  That’s real life.  After the fiasco, my husband and I regrouped and got a game plan for how we need to move forward with bedtimes for all our sakes — tightening up what had slipped for a while.

You may wonder why all of a sudden I’m laying out my “Augustine confessions” here.  I’m sharing these mundane and revealing facts just to show you this:  You just never know what’s going on behind the picket fence.  The wife may be adorable, the husband amazing, the kids look well-adjusted and the house appears like no one lives there because everything has a place and it is all put away.  But behind all that, what is going on?  Sometimes a whole lot of mess.  I’m all for clean houses.  I even like new paint (I’m getting an itch to paint as I write this!).  But really, the most important thing to know is we just never stop being human and we all sin and fall short – over and over and over again.

So no matter how you repurpose a room, or how many matching throw pillows are on your master bed (which no one but your kids see anyway), the bottom line is that we repurpose our hearts.  I just wanted to let you all know that there’s no form of perfect going on over here.  We’re real.  We mess up.  We get up and dust ourselves off and we seek God together.  There’s a lot of laughing, a lot of loving and a lot of hugging here at the Scott home, but you just aren’t going to find perfect over here.  And, come to think of it, I kind of like it that way.

Picture of Painting the Wall Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 28, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    Yes! You just never know what's going on behind the picket fence, and if there is Zumba I am making mac n cheese too!! This made me smile, especially the five year old at bedtime…I can relate! 🙂 Stopping by from Faith Barista.

  • Reply
    HeartsHomeward
    April 28, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Thank you, Michelle! Always good to meet another FaithJam (Whitespace) blogger. I so appraciate you popping by and commenting.

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