Deep into the wee hours one night, spring came ferociously roaring through our small town. And it took our trampoline with it.
Once the major threat of tornadoes had passed and the agonizing should we or shouldn’t we wake the kids up to hide in the almost-just-as-scary-as-a-tornado storm shelter decision had been made, there was only one thing I really prayed about: that silly trampoline.
Lord, please spare it.
We found it tangled in the woods near our house the next morning. Having cleared a fence and several trees, the thing was still in surprisingly good condition. But for this big ol’ pregnant momma with four young kids already nipping at her heels, having that trampoline (ahem: free babysitter) out of commission for any amount of time was close to devastating.
It would take some unbending and finagling and adjusting, my husband said. But it could be fixed. There was hope for it, he said. Just don’t count on it ever being perfect.
Yep, I thought. Same here, buddy.
It was following an argument he and I had several weeks ago when I realized it.
He had hurt my feelings deeply, and I considered myself pretty justified in really letting him have it. For once, he was in the wrong, I was in the right, and we both knew it. Sweet, sweet victory.
Only it wasn’t.
After days of stewing over his infraction (despite his many apologies), God had had enough of my antics. His reminder to me was gentle but firm.
Hannah, stop expecting him to be perfect. He cannot be. There is only One who is and ever will be the Perfect Spouse. Let your husband be free of that burden.
Ouch. And now I was the one having to apologize.
My victory was cut painfully (but mercifully) short.
There are several relationships in my life that have needed some untangling over the last few months. They’re bent up and wonky and require some careful adjusting. And though they’ve cleared some hurdles, there’s still more work to be done.
But God has been kind to show me in each of them just what it is I was wrongfully requiring, even demanding of those I loved: Perfection, where perfection wasn’t humanly possible.
I realized that when I expect others to fulfill me or to satisfy my needs for love or friendship or for provision, then I am holding mortal, fallible, broken humans up to a standard they never can and never will conform to.
It’s not fair to them and it strips from Christ the role only He was meant to play.
Because if Jesus calls the Church His Bride, then we already have a Perfect Spouse.
And because God calls us His beloved children, then we already know the Perfect Parent.
And when the Holy Spirit joyfully, unfailingly ministers to us, guides us, and comforts us, then we already possess the Perfect Friend.
Thankfully, that means we can release ourselves and those we love from the burden of being only what only Jesus can be.
And that’s such a good thing.
When we inevitably make mistakes in our parenting, we can point our children to their Father in heaven instead. My darlings, don’t look to Mommy to be perfect. Look to God! See how His love is never failing. See how lovely His grace is.
When we let down friends or feel let down by others, we can run to Christ. Look how Jesus loved others. Look how He loves me!
When our marriages feel mangled, we can forgive our spouses (and ask them for their forgiveness) as our precious Savior has forgiven us. Look how kind He is! Look how He gave Himself up in our place.
So while we may still be a little broken, our relationships a little bent, our sin nature in need of some serious adjustment, Jesus has taken the burden of perfection from us and from those we love.
Praise God, we are free from that role.
For His grace is sufficient for us. His power made perfect in our weakness.