The Blessing of Crumbs on the Floor (Guest Post)

Forego perfection in favor of relationships. Listen, Love, Repeat Guest post by Kelly Smith at karenehman.com.

Today I’m welcoming Kelly Smith to share her Listen Love Repeat story. Kelly is the second of three guest post winners of our launch team contest.

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I’d like to tell you a story about the most powerful crumbs I ever came across. They are as precious to me as gold dust in a miner’s pan. By now they are long gone but their impact lives on.

Almost thirteen years ago, as I struggled through the early months of motherhood, an acquaintance from church invited me into a mentoring relationship. She always seemed put together and her four children were well-dressed every Sunday morning. She lived in a nice house on the side of town with the doctors and lawyers. When I considered where I wanted to be in ten years, I dreamed of her life.

She spoke to her children with patience and kindness. She loved Jesus and maintained a peaceful countenance–one of those women who glowed without any visible flaws. I felt honored to follow in her shadow and learn how to be so perfectly wonderful.

I walked into her immaculate home feeling intimidated. I passed the gleaming piano in the foyer and stepped on the plush oriental rug in the living room. We continued into the spacious kitchen to sit at her large oak table. A small plate holding an unfinished sandwich and pretzels sat neglected in front of an empty booster seat. Pretzel pieces and little O’s were scattered on the floor along with a bit of toast from that morning’s breakfast.

I immediately wondered why she hadn’t tidied up before I came over. Then relief poured over me like drought-ending rain. If this perfect woman left crumbs on her kitchen floor, then it is perfectly normal to have crumbs on my kitchen floor. Her crumbs ministered amazing grace to me. They opened my eyes to the possibility of serving despite my imperfections. She made it ok to invite others into my mess.

I experienced a shift in my thinking after that simple encounter with my friend’s mess. I won a battle in my war against perfectionism. My mentor continued to live a real life as I followed close behind. She didn’t hide her flaws but used them to teach me about God’s amazing grace. She showed me in practical ways that I don’t have to be perfect to be effective.

Blessing others doesn’t require big gestures. I think of this woman who made a significant impact through this simple gesture of inviting me over for coffee and mom-talk. In Listen, Love, Repeat, Karen Ehman says, “Even simple acts of service and offerings of time can have a monumental effect in the life of another.” Something as trivial as your crumbs on the floor can change someone’s perspective for a lifetime.

Forego perfection in favor of relationships. Welcome others into your home without concern for the “lived in” look. Ask a young friend to coffee and leave the crumbs on your kitchen floor. They just might turn to gold dust, too.

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Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man. They have three children. In the quiet minutes of her day, you will find her at the keyboard or curled up with a book–always with coffee. Kelly is also a proud member of COMPEL Training, a writer’s training program of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. Connect with Kelly on her blog at mrsdisciple.com.

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In Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World, Karen Ehman encourages us to to live alert, listening for “heart drops,” hints from those in our lives who need a helping hand or a generous dose of encouragement. Living alert lifts our own spirits, showing us that blessing others blesses us even more. Listen, Love, Repeat offers biblical teaching and suggests doable actions that are simple, heart-tugging, sentimental, even sneaky and hilarious. For a sneak peek at Listen Love Repeat, sign up for Karen’s How to Hear a Heart Drop five-day challenge. Also, be sure to join Karen and Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies for their upcoming study of Listen Love Repeat starting April 3.

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  • Such a great story, Kelly. I’ve invited friends over to my notoriously unkempt house. The untrue friends didn’t return, but the true friends did. I’d rather have friends who are OK with crumbs than have to keep up with friends who have no crumbs (or just do a much better job of hiding them).

  • Isn’t it such a gift when we walk into an imperfect home. It’s taken me many a year, but I’ve finally learned that hospitality has nothing to do with perfection. I still tidy up more than is probably necessary, but I’ve definitely improved. Lovely post, Kelly; thanks for sharing. ((Hug))

  • Beautiful post, Kelly. You’re so right – blessing others doesn’t take a lot of effort, and it’s often the little things (even as small as crumbs) that can leave the greatest impact on lives!

  • Great story, Kelly.

    “I passed the gleaming piano in the foyer and stepped on the plush oriental rug in the living room. We continued into the spacious kitchen to sit at her large oak table. A small plate holding an unfinished sandwich and pretzels sat neglected in front of an empty booster seat. Pretzel pieces and little O’s were scattered on the floor along with a bit of toast from that morning’s breakfast.”

    Love this because so often we assume things about others from the outside. You figuratively and literally got a peek “inside” this woman when you least expected. What a blessing.