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Grace, Please

I suffer from excellent self-esteem.

Really, it’s a problem.

I believe that there are 2 Kates:  The Real Kate, and The Kate In Pictures who, unfortunately, is sorely misrepresented.  I don’t imagine myself to be Kim Kardashian-caliber-hot, I’m just always giving myself the benefit of the doubt.  I’m naturally inclined to believe that my clothes are fitting awesomely, not awkwardly; my hair is falling fabulously, not flatly; and that everyone thinks that I’m way too young and hip-looking to be a mother of two, like the lady in the minivan commercials.

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I have been fortunate enough to live virtually every day of my life feeling remarkably, confidently, okay with myself.

Until last month.

In case you missed it, I am living in a college town.  I’m also three months pregnant with my third child.

I’m just going to throw this out there:  Big sweeping life-change + first trimester hormones doesn’t bring out the best in people.  Or at least it hasn’t brought out the best in me.

If I’m being very honest, the last place my tired, harried, frumpily-dressed pregnant self wants to be is in a town full of college girls jogging around in their Nike shorts.

I believe that rock bottom occurred the other day as Dan was walking out the door to work.  I caught him, and with tears in my eyes I begged,

“If you see a girl who is skinnier or prettier than me, remember that I am carrying your child.  Remember that I’ve carried all your children.  And that I’m smart, and I write, and that I love Jesus a whole lot.  Remember that you love me.  Okay?”

Yikes.

I am in such desperate, desperate need of grace.

I need grace because recently, I’m not the Kate that my husband signed up for.  She is joyful, magnetic and the victim of chronically excellent self-esteem – and she is lost somewhere inside of me.

I need grace because I’m myopic, weepy, and self-absorbed.

I need grace because my dishwasher is broken, giving me the pathetic excuse I need not to cook anything, ever.

I need grace because I can’t keep my eyes open after 2:00pm.

I need grace because I have absolutely no interest in making friends, finding the library (or post office, playground, or coffee shop), the internet, writing, or emptying the last 5 boxes.

 This week I’ve personally asked each of my family members for grace, out-loud: “Madeline, will you please show Mommy a little extra grace today?”

I know that I need God’s grace indefinitely, like air – but I need people’s grace too, and that is much harder to swallow.   We all need God’s grace because we all need forgiveness and purpose and love and stuff.  It’s very clean cut.

Needing grace from people is trickier because it bucks against my natural inclination to think that I’m irresistibly likeable.

Shauna Niequist wrote in Bittersweet,

“I hate to think about the fact that the people who love me show me grace for all my faults.  I prefer to believe instead that the math works: that there are good things about me and hard things about me, but that they’ve checked the math and because I’m funny enough, they can let go of how terrible I look most days, or that if I’m interesting enough, the fact that my house is dirty isn’t such a big deal.  But that kind of math is specifically anti-grace.  Grace isn’t about netting out on the right side of things.”

I’m not sure that I’ve ever netted out on the right side of things, but this month I’m so far in the red that the only way out is to file for emotional, relational bankruptcy.  I need grace.

Years and years ago, I was talking to my most wonderful Aunt Mary about marriage.  She recounted to me a time she’d said something snide about another person, and about the way her husband looked at her – caught completely off guard.  She said, “I’ll never forget the way I felt; it was the first time he’d seen how ugly I could be.”  She went on to say that her husband’s love for her was bigger than her own ugliness in that moment; that he showed her grace.

I am humbled and thankful to say that my husband’s love, too, is bigger than my ugliness, and that he has shown me grace.

Please, decide to be a giver and a receiver of grace today; we all need it like crazy.

 

 

  • http://twitter.com/Brandyrlee Brandy Lee

    Great post, Kate. Thanks so much for this refreshing reminder!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rose-Jackson/55705815 Rose Jackson

    ooohh, ow, ow, ow… what you’re saying sounds so familiar, it’s hard to hear. i’ve been avoiding having my picture taken at all lately, because what i see doesn’t match the person in my head.
    and can i just say: living in downtown orlando can also make a woman feel really ugly. especially since right up the street, on my husband’s way home from work, is an outdoor volleyball pit. and every day it’s packed with tan girls in bikinis jumping all over the place and bending down to get the ball. it’s super fun to drive past when you’re sleep deprived, haven’t showered in 3 days, and can’t remember how to put on makeup. oh, also when you are the palest you’ve ever been and haven’t shaved your legs in months.
    I, too, beg my husband to love me the most out of all the hotter, prettier ladies.
    I, too, come up with pathetic excuses not to cook.
    You are SO not alone.
    Thank you so much for being brave enough to be so honest about your life. It means so much to me to know that I’m not alone.
    Tears.

  • Allie Pilarczyk

    Oh Kate, I love you :-)

  • Katie

    This is beautiful. I love a good honest post, from any writer, but especially here on the message of grace. Your words will stick with me today!
    Also, remember to show yourself grace. Remember to go easy on yourself, you are allowed to be human and have weak spots in your life. Your husband married a human, he wants you that way. Sometimes we have to be willing to accept the fact that we won’t always feel like having all of our crap together. There will be brighter days! It’s just a season. (:

  • Samantha

    Amazing and loving – you are a beautiful example of a mother. This is what I feel daily, but you eloquently talked about it. Love it. xo

  • Natassia Butler

    You are simply amazing! (and beautiful) I love what you said to your husband before he left for work!! Its so cute!! Now me.. I would have probably been so hormonal I might have said something like “You better NOT be looking at any of those younger, skinner, prettier girls out there. I’m carrying YOUR child.” Then I would have cried. ha

    I loved this post. I could very much use some extra grace now too.
    Thank you so much for sharing and being so honest. I love posts like this!

  • aleks

    wow. what a great post. we just moved off a college campus and too a “grown up” city. all the women have children and dress fabulously professional and i have a closet full of college kid wear. so i feel ya… but in the opposite way.. i think..

  • Sarah Harmony-Powell

    You are beautiful! Thanks for sharing so humbly… I think this is something we all struggle with from time to time and grace is a truth we all need to remember! Thank you!

  • Faith Konrath

    This is absolutely what I needed to read Kate. Thank you! I have been dealing with those pregnancy hormones and I think I’ve bouncing on rock bottom for the past few weeks! I have said VERY similar things to my hubby:) Thank God for grace and I’m so thankful for my husbands grace as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501316378 Christine Trevino

    I’m so glad you’re back! I love your posts! This one was exceptional!

  • Tara Fraser

    That is so true. I am so blessed to have a husband who has grace on me and loves me even though he has seen me at my absolute ugliest. Praise God! :)

  • http://www.iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com/ Laura

    Although I can’t quite relate to the self-esteem you talk about (I sorely lack in this area), I can relate to being pregnant (7 months!) and feeling so completely unlike myself. We all need grace, and it’s important that we ask for it. Love this post. Thanks for sharing!

  • Andrea

    Aww, Kate :( I hope your husband gave you a Huge hug & spoken reassurances with that plea of yours…!
    I totally get not wanting to go out & do anything, but when you DO, I’ll bet those skinny college girls out running will be really happy to see you & your little ones, so it’ll be an easy way to make friends/connections. Babies are chick magnets- it’s true! :) I remember when I was in college, it was so refreshing to see kids (& families) on campus b/c the student body was so mono-demographic!

    And here is a blog post I really hope you get the time to read – It. Is. HILARIOUS. (I nearly woke my husband with my stifled laughter!) Hmm, on second thought… I remember reading a post of yours a while ago saying that you’re not interested in people’s kids’ bodily functions, etc. Well, this is a woman telling her own terrible story about an experience with her & her kids. It’s a little gross but yeah, I’d still recommend it…
    http://www.rantsfrommommyland.com/2010/03/public-display-of-morning-sickness.html

  • Jen

    I think you are fantastic, Kate. I absolutely love reading your blog. You are funny, talented, and spot-on. Thank you for putting words to how I feel, and for the reminder that we need to give and receive grace. I just had back surgery and I have 3 small kids and an amazing husband, and they have all had to put up with more of my grouchiness than should be allowed. Thanks for helping me to fee less alone. Hope you feel more like your funny and energetic self soon!!

  • Hope Lauren

    Thank you for being so honest and transparent. God is using you in peoples lives, mine included!

  • Jess

    I empathize with you now, sista! I am walking this road too, learning to choose joy over circumstances daily and WILLING myself to be the person God called me to be. I was invited to do a guest blog on “embracing chance” that I think you might appreciate at this point in your life… http://www.jordylizblogs.com/2012/08/guest-blogger-jessica-its-okay-to-be.html#.UDr4CqO6nK0
    Praying for daily grace for you… and sanity ;)

  • http://twitter.com/star2019 Adeline Gonzales

    Yeah, I’m in need of some major grace myself. I’m two months pregnant with my fourth (surprise pregnancy) and I am an emotional mess. I feel like I’m locked in a house staring out the window watching everyone else live while I attempt to just “get by” each day of sickness and dealing with working full-time and coming home to 3 lovely drama-filled, emotional, talkative girls at home; two of them being toddlers. I haven’t written in a month, can’t bring my brain to muster anything! Please pray for me as well!lol

  • Jennifer Washburn

    LOVE this post Kate!!

  • Belinda

    OMG…that was powerful! I had an emotional meltdown lastnight and my husband showed me grace and I woke up this morning thinking ‘why’…’why does he not think I’m crazy and hit the road’…and it reminded me of what my core struggle is…I don’t trust God’s grace; which is an expression of his love and that is why I question Grace when it’s bestowed upon me, especially in my madness. Wow, I love this journey of revelation and manifestation of God’s love despite the emotional ups and downs.
    Thank you for sharing, that reassurance that ‘It’s not just me’ is so pertinent.

  • julie

    what a beautiful post. So much of this is so very true to how I feel. Thank you for your honesty and openness. (I am sure I spelled that wrong. I am asking for grace. :) )

  • http://pinklaundry-kelli.blogspot.com KelliCox

    WOW! What an awesome post! Thx for sharing- I love the way you write and i love the glimpses into your sweet family

  • Harry Wheeler

    Kate, I have read several of your posts this morning and I have to simply say thanks!
    I just noticed that I am the only guy that commented on your blog. I wonder what that means?

  • Chris Johnson

    best blog post I have read in a long time… brutiful! (brutal yet beautiful) Thank you for your openness!

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  • Jessica Ponder

    I’m huge pregnant right now and God brought this post to my mind, because I have been both versions of myself in the last week–The “yes my hair is wet at Target but I make it look awesome cause I’m hot self,” and also the I missed church and freaked that my husband was approached by 2000 pretty women who have not had his children self.

    Thanks for the words. I’m desperate for grace right now.