Insights From Italy

We recently took a trip to Italy and met some of my husband’s long, lost relatives. God did so much in such a short time that it is taking me weeks and months to process the work that God did there. Everything you have ever heard about the warmth and openness of the Italian people is true. They have an understanding of and walk in a very natural grace for families. Through them we got glimpses of His view and heart for the generations.

Being in Italy and learning about generations of our family and seeing thousands of years of history really helped my perspective. This little snapshot that we call “now” is relatively insignificant in the big picture of what God is doing and creating. There have been times in the last few years that I’ve thought,”I should’ve raised tomato plants instead of children!” But our adventure helped me get a new vision for family and it helped me throw off the American pseudo-Christian lies of family perfectionism.

You know what I mean, the kind of stuff you get in many Christmas newsletters with photos of perfectly happy children and parents and only glowing reports of everyone’s achievements that make us mere mortals pause for a moment and think that perfect families should be attainable. Or even better, classes at churches that give the impression that raising kids and growing marriages is as simple as growing tomato plants and all you need to do is follow the instructions and you will get perfect families every time!

No, families are not do it yourself kitchen gardens. They are far more complicated than that and loads more fascinating! Families are made up of humans and humans are awesome creations, incredibly frustrating, always unique and never, ever have it all together! We can be free of the lie of perfectionism and lay down the expectations and guilt and condemnation that goes with it. I have seen people go to great extremes to hide their humanness. We have all done it at times. Our flesh is gross but trying to hide it is literally like trying to hide the fact that we have skin! The only thing we can do is face the fact that we are hopelessly human, impossibly imperfect and endlessly loved by a God who is so unafraid of our being human that He became one Himself. His perfect life, death and resurrection are all we need to cover ourselves and the only way to freedom.

If you are like me and have days that you look at your family and yourself and just shake your head and think, “Really, Lord?” then I have good news. You are part of the human race and it’s ok. God already knows how desperately we need Him. He already knew everything that would happen and has made provision to not only forgive and cover us but also to fully redeem everything! Don’t focus too much on the snapshot and never forget that it really isn’t about us. We are playing a small part in a very big, very exciting story that the God of the Universe is writing.

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9 thoughts on “Insights From Italy

  1. Loved this Kelly, especially coming from a large italian family. I’m glad you were able to travel to visit these amazing parts of yourselves and i wish you guys a very Happy Thanksgiving. We miss you all!!!!!!

  2. Kelly, your words are so full of truth. We wonder why others don’t want to become Christians and the answers are exactly what you wrote. Jesus is the answer and without Him there is nothing. God is the only answer for our 51 years of marriage. It was not picture perfect but it was founded in our Jesus and friends walked with us to encourage and help us along the way!

  3. Beulah, you and Larry are a beautiful picture of Christ’s love and redemption. I am so honored to know such precious jewels. I miss you both! xoxo

  4. Kelly, This is a wonderful post, but they all are. There is this tention in the admonition, “Be ye perfect as God is perfect.” and our fallen humaness. He is the one who is making us perfect and it is a process. My grandmother struggled with this and she did a study and found that it meant, in as much as we are able. Do our best and let God do the rest. He is our tranformer. I love that you have given the permission to be real. Otherwise we beat ourselves up because our families are not even close to perfect. All my righteousness and my strength is in God alone.

    23 I have sworn by my own name;
    I have spoken the truth,
    and I will never go back on my word:
    Every knee will bend to me,
    and every tongue will confess allegiance to me.[d]”
    24 The people will declare,
    “The Lord is the source of all my righteousness and strength.”
    And all who were angry with him
    will come to him and be ashamed.
    25 In the Lord all the generations of Israel will be justified,
    and in him they will boast. Isaiah 45:23-25
    Love you Dale

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