I was born with the gift of a desire for excellence. Picture me at age six crying because of pressure felt to rush through assignments I wasn’t allowed to complete. At least not the way I thought I should. As a teenager involved in 4H, spending hours meticulously grooming my animal so that it was presented at its very best to the judge. Spending even more time studying for a showmanship class to be sure that I was prepared to answer any question asked of me. In my twenties, as a surgical technician, I could be found taking painstaking notes, on my breaks, so that I could efficiently set up my table for any possible surgery. I aspired to hand the doctors what they needed before they even asked for it.
Some things however don’t earn you an A+, a blue ribbon, or the respect of a surgeon. Marriage … Parenting. For years I struggled with the lie that nothing I did was good enough in these roles. No striving ever amounted to “excellent mother” or “excellent wife”. Depression and hopelessness soon took up house in my “unexcellent” life. I felt as if I had an incurable disease called “perfectionism”. I made some poor choices from that joy-less place. What did it matter? My efforts were never enough. Then, in God’s mercy, he enrolled me in His school of grace. He led me into a community of hope, of understanding, of love and acceptance. I was reminded that no matter what, no matter the striving, no matter the result, I have value. I am loved, without condition — agape love. By His grace I see the truth in the statement, “The devil knows your name, but calls you by your sin (or your weakness). God knows your sin, but calls you by your name.”
By His grace I am learning to embrace who I am, Jeanne, beloved daughter of my loving Creator. I am made uniquely — purposefully. I am made to strive for excellence, and I get to freely — with joy, without fear of failure for an audience of One, who will always be proud. Who already has a crown awaiting me.
Jeanne is married and mother of two. She and her family are currently attending the YWAM Discipleship Training School in Chico, California. YWAM is a Christian missionary organization that seeks to empower others to know God and make Him known. Jeanne sees this chapter of her life as a time to get grounded in who God is and who He created her to be. Soon she will spend two months overseas serving in a variety of ministries such as caring for the homeless, ministering in refugee camps, and encouraging unity of the body between Catholics and Protestants.