“Why didn’t she smile at me? Do my friends still like me? Did I say something dumb?”

“They must think I’m the worst parent ever … look how my child is behaving!”

“I can’t believe I let my daughter go to school so mismatched. Her teacher probably thinks I’m a mess.”

“Oh goodness, my car looks like a family of monkeys has been living in it … for years.”

Do you worry about what other people think?

Golly, have I struggled with that!

I used to want to appear like I had it all together, always. I wanted my children to behave and look good, my house to be neat and clean, and for me to be put together on every level. I wanted to be involved in the right things, serving where I should be (or thought I should be), be invited to things (who am I kidding … be invited to everything), and basically be known as your all around great gal.

Things have changed a bit.

When my marriage shattered very publicly and I had to deal with the fallout of being the abandoned wife, I learned a valuable lesson about who I wanted to be and who I really was … am.

I was so devastated by the events happening in my world that I leaned heavily on my Savior, praying and reading His words of love to me.

I’d lost my identity as wife. I would soon lose some other identities–homeschool mom, stay-at-home mom, Bible study teacher, care group host, children’s ministry leader, worship team member. That list doesn’t seem like that big a deal in some ways, but it was such a big deal to me.

Instead of those things I added new things: single, divorced, working mom. And with those came more exhaustion, sorrow, and overwhelming moments than I can recount.

But along with the change in my circumstances and my definition of me, I learned some valuable lessons about what was and is important. I gained clarity.

I learned that no matter how many things vie for my attention, God has to be my priority.

As long as I keep my focus on Him, I’m not as easily overwhelmed by my circumstances no matter how difficult they are. And with His perspective, strength, and joy I know that I can move forward confidently.

I learned that my children are my blessing, my joy, and my main concern. It was okay to focus on my children more than anyone else. It was okay if they went to school with mismatched socks and clothes. It was okay that we didn’t keep up with the Jones on pretty much anything! It was okay that my house wasn’t perfect … it was happy and fun! I’d choose happy and fun any day!

I guess it doesn’t matter what other people think; it matters what God knows about me.

And He knows it all – the beautiful and the horrible. He knows everything about me and loves me completely! What a blessing!