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lessons-from-crayonsThis week will be the anniversary of when my best friend Kathie lost her fight with cancer.  My life would never be the same after knowing her. As I was doing laundry today I was reminded of her.

One day, she called me crying.  She had pulled a load of laundry out and had found bright red stains all over her freshly cleaned clothes.

Kathie had a teenage daughter, and it turned out the daughter had left a lipstick in the pocket of her pants when she threw them into the laundry.

Kathie was so upset with herself for not checking the pockets before doing the laundry. It made her feel like a failure as a mom.  She cried “this wouldn’t have happen to you, you would have checked the pockets and done the laundry perfectly”

It turns out my husband at the time had been telling her how great I was, and she felt for sure that I wouldn’t make that kind of mistake.

I had to break the news to her and let her know about my own true life laundry horror story.

When the kids were little, I pulled clothes out of a dryer and found multiple colors of melted crayon all over ALL OF THE CLOTHES.  I thought they were ruined for sure. I didn’t check pockets before throwing my laundry in. I assume one of my kids left crayons in little pockets.  I’m pretty sure that after the initial shock, I cried that whole day.  I felt totally stupid.

Fortunately I wasn’t so upset that I couldn’t tell the story to my neighbor.

Being brave enough to share my shameful moment, saved my clothes from the trash. The friend I shared with didn’t judge me or laugh at me. She felt with me and told me I could contact “Crayola” for instructions on getting the stains out.

They didn’t laugh at me either.  They did however share with me their “recipe” for removing crayon stains that get set in from the dryer.  It turns out I’m not the first person whose had this happen to them.

It took several hours and some new cleaning techniques but I saved the clothes.  However I didn’t learn my lesson well enough, to check little pockets before throwing them into the washer.

It happened again a few years later.  And I felt stupid all over again, times 2.

Once Kathie heard my story, I wasn’t sure what she thought, but she seemed to feel better.

Eventually we became the best of friends and she realized that I’m normal, and normal means I make mistakes too.

It’s kind of funny and a little sad that we, as women, tend to judge ourselves so harshly against the perceived best of other women.  Especially after a hard day, like the one Kathie had.

Why do we assume other people are perfect when we struggle?

I think it is natural to look at others and admire their strengths, but I think it becomes damaging when we assume that someone else is “better than” us.

Of course we each have our strengths, and are better at certain things than others.  My friend Sarah makes better cookies than I do.  Susan is a much better photographer than I am.  Theresa throws the best parties around. Possessing different talents doesn’t mean that any one of us is less important.  No one is “better than” another.  We are just all different.

While we each have different talents we also each have our own struggles in life, but everyone deserves to be loved and accepted.

When we realize that we are each a child of God, accepting that He loves each of us, all while fully knowing our imperfections and our weaknesses, we should be able to give ourselves permission to be human.  God sent his son to us, and the gift of the atonement is real, and the very thing that allows us to make up for the mistakes that we will all inevitably make. Using the atonement and repentance when necessary is what will take away the feeling of “unworthiness” or “not good enough.”

We are all worthy of love and belonging. We belong to God’s family and His love is unconditional. But we also belong to friends and family right here.

Once we stop judging ourselves against the imagined perfect life (whether someone else’s or the one we think we should have) only then can we truly begin to live and love and engage with those friends and family who probably could use some connection themselves also.

Please enjoy this video and pay attention to the way Tiffany points out that we are all lacking or broken in some way, but we can be “enough” with Jesus on our side.

Be good to yourself today, you deserve it.

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