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March 9, 2011

When the cracks get in...

Tiffany shared this quote with me and I wanted to share it with you.

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.

I love that. When she told it to me that day, I knew I had to write it down and talk about it here. It's so true and it really resonated in my heart.

Sometimes cracks can cover our lives, and what we wanted to be our perfect idea of life seems to fade away. But, it's in those moments that God can really use us to our fullest potential.

I have some confessions to share here today. =)

I'm a bit of a perfectionist with certain things in my life.

I know, it probably seems hard to believe. And to be honest, I had just recently become this way.

I get a little over the top about how my boys are dressed, and can't stand it when Eli insists on wearing his green rain boots with every single outfit.

It bothers me when they get one little stain on their clothes, and I constantly carry wipes for their faces, and hair gel for when their hair gets out of place.

I become a "crazy" person when I'm planning their birthday parties, because I think every single detail has to be "just right."

And when it comes to my house, I love everything to be exactly in it's place, and I get overwhelmed when one thing gets disrupted.

Yeah, pretty bad right?

But in my defense I have to say, that I most definitely have started to change my ways.

Now, I don't mind if things get a little more out of place.
It doesn't bother me as much to see toys laying around the house,
because I know that I still have the sweet children who love and adore those toys. And one day soon, I will miss seeing them beneath my feet.

I don't mind as much if the boys hair gets messy, for I love the busyness of childhood that messes it up. If they stain a shirt now, I try to smile. For I know that I can go home, and try to get that stain out.

I'm different.

The reason why is because I've realized that the things I really thought were important in life, really don't matter at all.

Now I soak up every moment with the things in life, that are precious and everlasting, and those things are the precious people in my life.

So what if we eat on paper plates sometimes? I'd rather spend time with my boys than and hour in the kitchen washing dishes.

So what if I need to sweep my floors 3 times a day?
I'm just glad I have sweet children who are here, giving me messes to clean up.

So as I think of these things, I think of that quote.

Before Madeline passed away, I don't think I truly was living life to the fullest. I didn't truly ring the bells that still could ring. I was always worried about a "perfect" offering, instead of just giving my best.

I was holding back. I was looking at life all wrong.

Do I want my children to remember me yelling at them for muddy footprints on the floor? Or do I want them to remember Mommy laughing and playing with them in the sweet moments of their childhood?

Oh Lord help me, for this is something I have failed at so often in my days here.

Just being there.

Soaking up the precious moments of life and just being there...

I remember back to the day I delivered Maddie Grace. My doctor stopped me in the middle of all the excitement of the delivery, and in the moments shortly after. He reminded me to look around; to look at the faces of everyone there and really take in the moment. What wonderful advice.

I remember watching Rick as he held and adored our precious new little girl. I remember the faces of our sweet parents as they welcomed their adorable new granddaughter. I can still see the faces of Maddie's sweet Aunts, who planned on spoiling her rotten in the coming days.

I just sat there, and watched.

I remember the smiles and adoring eyes. I remember the laughter and comparisons of who she looked like. I remember her, and the newness of her perfect newborn skin and how she just kept smacking those little lips together.

I remember it all, because I was truly there, cherishing every precious second.

Oh I'm thankful for those memories. They are so vivid in my mind, and I'm so glad that my doctor reminded me in the middle of that moment, to just stop and take it in.

So what am I saying here today as I ramble on and on? =)

Well, I'm saying this.

It's okay when the cracks get in.

Life isn't perfect and it never will be. We can't write the story differently, as hard as we may try.

There are going to be cracks that come into our lives. There will be holes and ripples and tears. There will be moments of "that's not how it's supposed to be." And that's okay.

Because when the cracks get into our lives, then is when the light gets through, and the joys of life are truly revealed.

Through Maddie going to Heaven, I've learned this and everyday, I'm reminded over again.

I find myself constantly repeating these very words,

"Natalie, its not up to you."

I'm not in control, but the Lord is.

And yes, this life may try to break me down when the cracks get in, but it's in those moments, that the Lord is revealing even more to me.

He is showing me another life who was touched because of my daughter.

He is helping my family to grow more in strength and love.

He continues to show the revived hearts in the life of our Church members.

He is allowing us to see more souls come to Him.

And, He is pulling me closer and closer to Him.

Her sweet life was not in vain.

And yes we are enduring the cracks in our lives created from her passing, but look at the light that is coming in.

I can't help but see the beauty that is shining all around me, because of her beautiful life.

And so for now as I struggle, and am convicted to follow the very words I've written here today. I most definitely will,

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget my perfect offering.

Embrace the cracks in everything
and watch the light come in.

What a reminder of just living in the moment and trusting the Lord with all things in my life.

Lord, please use this life of mine for your glory, and help me to embrace the heartaches I am enduring, so others can be touched by You.


  1. O wow..this is beautiful Nat, I think you applied it sooo perfectly. What a great quote, I'm going to write it in my Bible. so glad Tiffy shared it! You encourage me today & for days to come to do this. To be reminded of what's really important! thank you for sharing, as a matter of fact...I think I'll post it on my fridge, so that I can be reminded through out the day as the messes continue from little precious people running about through my house! Love you!~heidi

  2. Thank you for posting this. I have recently been struggling with a similar issue and that quote and your understanding of it has helped me so much. I like you, sometimes get overwhelmed with all the details and making sure everything is "perfect." I let it go a few months back but have been struggling the last week and this just reminded me, its ok!

  3. Beautifully written Nat!! This very post reminded me so much of myself.... I like everything perfect, I find myself picking one toy up as soon as he puts it down and wipeing his face 100 times a day and the clothes have to perfectly patch and be stain free etc.. Well since I started reading yours and the Staats blog, I have calmed down and just started soaking every moment I get with him in. Life is too short and we just never know... Like i said before, your blogs really help me to be a better person and mother. I feel like God speaks to me through you. I really do!!! Thank you! I tell everyone about your family. I have tons of friends and family that read your blog now 2 b/c I have spoke of it so much. Life does have cracks but like the old saying, if we could throw all of our problems in a pile, we would want our very own back. I know this is tragic for your family but I can see the wonderful things that has came of it. God is still so good to us! I tell myself daily as i stress of work,bills etc. God bless sweet girl! Still in my prayers!!! ((((HUGS))))

  4. That was absolutely wonderful!! Thank you for sharing. So very true...we so often lose sight of what really matters.

    I heard a preacher say this and I thought of you.... "The Vine dresser is never nearer the branches than when he is pruning them.”

    I can see the pain you are going through...but also that the Lord is right there with you!

    You are in my prayers.

    ~Kristina Watt

  5. Simply wonderful Natalie! I really needed to read this! I struggle so much with being overwhelmed when the house is a mess or when I have to clean the same room 5 times in one day. So often, I lose sight of the important things! I am so guilty of getting after the kids for little things that don't really even matter. Thanks for this have helped me!

    It also made me think about how the Lord doesn't choose the "perfect" vessel, but He chooses the broken one. Because when we are broken, that is when we can be used of the Lord. He needs us to be at a place where we cannot do things on our own. If we have "cracks", the Lord's light is able to shine through. Your cracks have poured out the love and light of the Lord a thousand times in the last 2 months.

    Love you!