Fake, Fraud, Farce

One of my favorite holiday movies is Christmas in Connecticut.

While I’ve seen the one from 1992, my favorite is the one made in 1945 starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan.

In the movie Elizabeth Lane played by Barbara Stanwyck has the original old fashioned blog, she’s a famous journalist, and she is one of the country’s leading food writers.  Her column runs in a nationally syndicated woman’s magazine.  In her columns she describes her perfect Connecticut farm life, married with a child, and boasts of her excellent cooking.  She posts her recipes for all to try.  She’s appears to be the Martha Stewart of the forties.  But, the truth is she is a single New Yorker, living in a one room apartment and she can’t even boil water.  All of her wonderful recipes come from her dear, uncle figure, friend, Felix, owner of a renowned restaurant.

The war hero Jefferson Jones played by Dennis Morgan is recovering from several days stranded at sea.  His nurse is set on getting him to marry her, while he goes along with it in order to get good meals; he has no intention of tying the knot.  The nurse in her determined state to get a ring, contacts the publisher of the magazine that Elizabeth Lane works for.  She concocts a scheme which would allow Jefferson Jones to visit Elizabeth Lane at her home in Connecticut for a down, home, traditional, farm, Christmas with all the trimmings, all along hoping that a wonderful warm home will entice old Jeffey Boy to pop the question.

The publisher of the magazine Alexander Yardley played by Sydney Greenstreet is a stickler for truth.  Trying to dig herself out, Elizabeth visits Mr. Yardley explaining that she can’t possibly have Mr. Jones for Christmas.  At the end of the meeting not only is Jones coming for Christmas but so is Mr. Yardley.  Through several series of events, Elizabeth manages to get a Connecticut farm house, husband and baby with which to keep up her ruse.  When Jones and Yardley arrive all begins to unravel especially when it is obvious that Elizabeth is falling in love with Jefferson.  In the end she is exposed as a fraud.  I won’t tell you the ending but it does end very nicely.

As I watched the movie this year, I felt very much like Elizabeth Lane.  Now don’t get me wrong, I truly am an unorganized, discombobulated, stay-at-home wife, mother, homeschooler, small business owner and SHE (sidetracked home executive).  I really am married and I really do have five kids (17 – 3).  What I mean is this.  Often when we are out we get lots of comments on how well behaved our children are, what a beautiful family we have.  If one of the kids goes some place with out me or the Director, we often hear back how well behaved the child was, or how respectful they were, or what a delight it was to be around them.  As I begin to help head up our churches VBS program each year, I will hear how well organized I am or how they can’t possibly imagine how I do it all, stay home with ALL five kids, homeschool them, and volunteer too.

As I listen to these comments I keep a calm demeanor, smile and often reply “thank you, please pray for me”.  When asked how do I do it, I want to scream out I’M NOT DOING IT!!  My kids while most of the times are great in public (for which I’m grateful) are banshee’s at home.  Often, I’m disorganized, overwhelmed, frustrated and angry.  My marriage has ups and downs; my home is not the calm, peaceful serene environment that I wish it was.  And I am not the Proverbs 31 woman that I long to be.  I am NOT doing it, most of the time I’m hanging on by a thread.  I had a friend once describe it this way, I’m like a duck, on top of the water I appear to be gliding along peacefully, but under the water I’m paddling like there’s no tomorrow to stay afloat.  I feel like a FRAUD!  I feel like Elizabeth Lane!

In the end of Christmas in Connecticut all works out well, everything is wrapped up nicely like a beautiful Christmas package.  But reality isn’t a movie, life often does not get wrapped up beautifully, time and again it is as Professor Hinkle from Frosty the Snowman says “Messy, Messy, Messy”.  So how do I ensure that all will work out when I am found out?  I don’t think there are any guarantees that it will all work out, but I can spend a lot of time on my knees praying for the grace to let go of my false beliefs.  Grace to accept that the current events in my life are not just messes, it is part of God’s plan to grow me, groom me, and bring me to the person I am called to be.  Grace to know when I have messed up and grace to know when to ask for forgiveness and grace to know when to change my ways.

With grace comes acceptance.  Acceptance that this is how it’s going to be right now.  Acceptance that I need to change my attitude and my behavior.  Acceptance that I am loved by the King of Kings regardless of the messes I’m in or the messes I make.  I’m not sure that the end of my life it will be wrapped up like a beautiful Christmas package.  However, I do hope that my family, friends and mostly God will recognize that I tried, I messed up, apologized and tried again and again and again a thousand times over.  Because without prayer for grace, grace for acceptance and acceptance of what it is right now, this very minute, I don’t think I have the gumption to try over and over again.  It is only by God’s grace that I am able to see through the mess and seek His will for my life, again and again and again.  It is only by God’s mercy and grace that I can clear my name and not be a fraud!

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.  Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
 Romans 12:1-2

(Pictures taken from still shots of the movie Christmas in Connecticut)


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