Thursday, May 29, 2014

Doing

It's funny what we spend our days on. The things we think are so important in the moment. The ways we get consumed with doing.

God has been showing me a lot this past few weeks about what is truly important to Him. And the conclusion I am facing, is that all my doing just spins me further from Him--even when it's things I think are FOR Him. The doing that requires it to be about me. And my desires. The doing that keeps me too busy to sit and seek His voice.

Just over 2 weeks ago, I entered a contest to go to Rwanda and part of me was hoping to win so I could change the world. Sounds silly now when I put it on paper, but I REALLY wanted it.  I realized this morning that the contest ended yesterday. Obviously, I did not receive enough votes to even be in the running.

But I'm okay with it. In fact, the thought of leaving the country and my family right now fills me with angst.   Because, while a worthy thing, it's not what God is doing through me right now.  It's so easy for me to "save the world" but ignore my family. I'm embarrassed to admit that. That I let myself get caught up in the plight of orphans in another country and am not as accessible to my own children as they want/need.

But God, in His grace, gives wake up calls and second chances. He reminds me of my calling as a wife and mom.  He pulls me up and gives me a glimpse of His perspective. And it's not always what I thought it was.  Or dreamed it would be. But it's oh so much more beautiful!

And through it all, He loves me. And calls me His. And never disowns me. Or berates me. He just shakes His head, smiles and opens up His arms wide. Waiting for me to stop doing and just be. To be still. To be with Him. To be comforted. To be loved.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Broken Beautiful

I know that I don't bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of a broken heart
There's days I wonder if You'll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart?

Would You remind me now of who You are?

That Your love will never change,
That there's healing inYour name
And that You can take broken things,
And make them beautiful

You took my shame and You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things

...and make them beautiful, oh-oh
And make the-em beautiful oh-oh...
And make them beautiful-oh

I'm better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heartache, oh with all Your grace

Remind me know that You can make a way

That Your love will never change,
That there's healing inYour name 
And that You can take broken things,
And make them beautiful 

You took my shame and You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things

...and make them beautiful, oh-oh
And make the-em beautiful oh-oh...
And make them beautiful-oh

You say that. You'll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness and cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing

That you can make the broken...beautiful

Cuz Your love will never change,
And there's healing in Your name
And You will take broken things
And make them beautiful

You took my shame
And Youw allied out of the grave

So Your love can take broken things...

...and make them beautiful, oh-oh
And make the-em beautiful oh-oh...
And make them beautiful-oh

You make us beautiful oh-oh
You make us beautiful-oh

The Broken Beautiful by Ellie Holcomb



Friday, May 16, 2014

Birthday Love

It's not even 10am, but it's already been a fabulous day!  It's the day we celebrate my birth--42 years ago.  And I have a secret to tell...even though I don't always act like it, I REALLY like gifts.  In fact, it's really embarrassing how much I like them.

And I got a great one from my family this morning--a charm bracelet I've wanted for years.  I can't wait to get my first charms on it and start adding to the collection.  Charm bracelets tell stories and if you know me at all, you know I have this deep love for stories!

But, the charm bracelet wasn't my favorite gift. While it's a pretty hard one to beat, I realized how much more I loved the words/non-words I received from my favorite Royal people.

Caroline wrote me this note:


I know it's hard to read (surely I don't need to remind you of my lack of good picture-taking skills), but I am the shell to her turtle.  And for those of you who don't know, turtles are her most favorite thing in the world.  And her hands were covered in marker afterward--be still my heart!




After a rough start to the morning that began with tears (those of you with pre-teens who don't like to get out of bed in the morning will totally understand), my Hope, who never posts selfies with me, posted this on her Instagram:
And if that weren't enough to have me in puddles, my hubby, who hates making lunches and only does it when I'm stressed and running really late, got out of bed before me and helped the girls to make theirs so I didn't have to.  No pics on this one because he doesn't like me to make a big deal out of the little things like this he does and snapping a pic would have ruined the moment. 

And, not to be left out, my sweet friends who I ADORE working with, snuck in to Tin Star earlier this week and decorated "our" table before I got there.

And yes--that is my favorite flower--beautiful hydrangeas!!!

Throughout the morning, my phone has also been blowing up with facebook messages.

Words bring life. 

In the past couple of years, I've not made it a priority to tell those I love "happy bday" and celebrate/mourn with them as intentionally as I have in the past.  I've got lots of great excuses that I tell myself when I feel that Holy Spirit twinge to reach out:
  • I'm too busy
  • They won't even notice if I don't say anything--everybody else will cover me
  • But what happens if I do it this time and forget the next time--will they read into it
  • What if I didn't say anything on their best friend's birthday--won't that friend feel left out?
It's crazy!!  And yes, that's just a snippet into my narcissistic mind--scary, huh?

Anyway, my socks have been blessed off and it reminds me that when kindness is shown to you, it makes you want to show it to others. 

So, it's time for some intentional and spontaneous life-giving words to start coming out of my mouth...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What I wish I'd have said

So I got this wild hair this morning and entered a contest for a trip to Rwanda with Jen Hatmaker, Jenni Allen and a bunch of other really cool people.  I thought about it for a few hours, but when I sat down and did it, I was impulsive.

I wrote a "funny" piece about why they should pick me.

I posted one of the most unattractive pictures of myself for the entry.

And, after I posted my plea for votes on facebook, I immediately regretted it. 

I had 350 words to sell myself.  And for those of you who know me, I'll spend the first 500 words of a conversation apologizing for not being "enough", dropping the ball, being mean, etc.  So, only giving me 350 words to tell why I "deserve" a trip like this is crazy--like there's a way to deserve something this amazing!

After I hit send and almost broke my arm reaching back to pat myself on the back for putting myself out there, I read some of the other admissions. 

And I looked at THEIR pictures. 

And I realized, I am the longest long shot there is to win this.

Really. 

This is not just me being humble.  I'm a bit embarrassed and feel the need to apologize to them for wasting their time when there are so many others who have a bigger platform and would probably do more with it after a trip like this.

I wish I would have told them about my heart for Lovepacs and how I KNEW God wanted me to take a step of faith to send that very first email to friends--the email that others were just waiting for because God had been stirring in their hearts, too. And that now I'm along for the ride while He does amazing things through community.

I wish I had told them that I have this far-fetched dream of writing and traveling the country to advocate for those less fortunate for me.  To explain WHY I feel the need to be a voice for others--even though I do a poor job of it for myself. 

I wish I had told them I lead a ministry of kids and adults and students who all change the world each and every week and that I get a front row seat to watching God work in and through them.

And I sooooo wish I had sent in a better picture.  Really--a double (maybe triple)-chin picture of me holding a chicken???  What was I thinking??? 

But I didn't do any of those things.

And I DO really want to go (along with the rest of the country, I'm sure!). 

So, would you help me out and go vote for me--if for no other reason than that you don't want to see me sitting there with 5 votes while all the others have hundreds and thousands.  Yep, after all I've done today, I'm not above asking for the pity vote. 

Here's the link:  http://www.noondaycollection.com/styleforjustice#view/23056/2105489.

If you vote, would you leave me a comment below, letting me know you did.  I feel the need to apologize to you in person the next time we cross paths. 

Much thanks!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Texting for Love

I read another blog post this morning with advice to younger moms.  And while I agreed with it, I can't help but wonder why we think we need to pass on things to people who are not asking for them.  Is it arrogant to think we have mastered something enough to tell others how to do it?  Or is it really just a blessing to people?  Will it give them hope or make them feel like a failure?

Often I think I have things to pass along, but I usually stop myself.  Will others roll their eyes and skip over it?  Will they wonder why I feel like I'm better/further along/more qualified to tell them something--something they already know and think it just plain common sense?

Obviously, I think about this too much!

Anyway, the last few weeks I've been doing this random thing with Hope that seems to be working.  It's not original--I'm sure I read it somewhere and didn't come up with it on my own, and you may already know it as well.  Maybe you've written a blog on the best way to do it and it went viral.  Maybe you taught a class to middle school parents and told everybody how to do it.  Who knows? 

Before I tell you what it is, let me give you a bit of background (how's that to keep you in suspense--and don't skip the next paragraph to get to the bottom and see if it was worth your time to read the paragraph before it--not that I've ever done that...).

I love my girls.  When I am away from them, I seem to love them more than my actions and tone of voice show when I am with them.  It's a struggle I've had since they were little and I would be so ready to put them to bed, but after an hour of solitude, I'd sneak in their room and look at them sleeping.  Somehow, I tend to react to them when we are together instead of responding.  I take things personally.  I lose my patience.  I yell.  I ignore.  I say snarky things. 

But, as I think about them when we are apart, I regret that I wasn't kinder.  Or more loving.  Or compassionate and empathetic.  Or engaged in what they were saying.  So I make plans to change that the next time I see them.  Sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate.  And, of course, I pray and ask God to work through me and push me aside.

In that moment that I am thinking about her, I've started texting Hope.  I apologize so much that I decided not to make the text about that.  I tell her I love her.  Or that she's beautiful.  Or that she's a daughter of the King.  Or that she's amazing.  Simple little words that elicit a response @ 50% of the time.  But I don't do it for the response.  In fact, I kinda like when she doesn't respond because I know that it moves her and she doesn't have words or emojis to explain herself. 

Maybe all it does is ease my guilt and give me a "paper trail" for when she's in counseling years from now.  But, as I send the text, I pray that my actions show her that I truly mean what I just wrote.  And I pray that it gets down deep into her soul and she believes it.  And, selfishly, I pray that it serves as a bridge in our relationship that will only get trickier as she enters these teenage years.

It's not 32 things to do or the best thing I ever did, but it's working in my house.  It may not in yours.  Feel free to try it if you think it will.

What 1 thing has worked for you in restoring/building up your relationship with your pre-teen/teen child? 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mama Who?

After almost 30 years, you'd think Mother's day would be easier.  Especially since I have daughters of my own and have never struggled with infertility or losing a child.  But I find myself on edge the entire day.  No matter how great my life looks--both from the outside and the inner circle--Mother's day is one I can't wait to be over.

This isn't a pity request.  We all have hard things.  We've all been let down by a human at some point in our life and have probably done our fair share of letting others down, too.

But it affects us.  To be rejected by someone close to you, just skews the way you view yourself--no matter how many times others tell you and even more importantly--you tell yourself the real Truth.  Because our minds are so finite, we attribute these human feeling of neglect and abandonment to a God who would never do that. 

I saw a verse posted today that I had never seen before:

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands"
Isaiah 49:15-16
 
 
God won't forget.  Not on Mother's Day or any other day of the year.  He SEES!  He KNOWS!!  And dispite all of our fears to the contrary, HE LOVES!!!
 
So whoever you are that is reading this--if you're the mom who left or the child who is still wondering, no matter where you live, or what you do, or how kind you are, or how mean you are,  HE WILL NOT FORGET YOU. 
 
Or me. 
 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

#Morning Mom Fail

Today started out like most mornings.  I had good intentions, but mixing the muffins took longer than I thought it would so I was 9 minutes late waking up the girls.  Then I remembered it was trash day and as I was going to pull the overflowing bag out of the trashcan, I saw muffin wrappers and gum on the floor around it.  So I griped at the girls about the grossness of it.

Then I made lunches and griped at the girls because their lunchboxes weren't on the counter ready to go for me.

Then I heard the dogs whining, so I complained that nobody but me must love our dogs because they don't feed them.  After which, Caroline jumped up and got their food for them...and then left their cups on the kitchen countertop instead of putting them back in their rightful place.

Then we all headed out to the backyard to let the ducks and chickens out of their houses and give them fresh water--amidst my rushing the girls so they wouldn't be late for school.

It was time to walk out the door, but I was still trying to cut an iris and wrap it's stem for teacher appreciation week because I forgot to pick up a flower at the store last night.  Did I mention that I didn't see the note of what all we were supposed to be sending this week until yesterday--after I dug for it because I saw another mom in the grocery store (yes--I know, that would have been perfect timing to pick up a flower, but I was too busy searching for the tortellini in the deli section to make this amazing pinterest recipe I saw--which I never found so now I have diced tomatoes and sausage and am trying to figure out something else for dinner tonight).  As I was trying to pull the dead parts of the iris off, one of the blooms fell off.  No worries, there was still one left, so I cut it and made it work...until I was walking out the door and it broke off, too.

Caroline was outside instead of brushing teeth or hair so Hope made a run for the bus stop while I yelled at Caroline for being pokey and not having her priorities straight--which made her cry and go even slower, trying to wipe tears as she brushed her teeth.  We made it to the bus stop literally as Ms. Tina pulled up to the corner.  I yelled, "I really do love you!!!" out the window to the girls and headed back to the house. 

And felt like an utter failure.

I hate yelling.  And griping.  And nagging.  And laying guilt trips. And causing my beautiful daughters to cry.

But I do it more often than I like to admit. 

As I sat down with my own muffin (whose wrapper DID make it inside the trashcan), I saw this Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oQqnKm0jqM.

And to nobody's surprise, I cried.

I know I failed this morning.  But I wonder how many of these people's moms felt the same way most mornings?  How many of them worried their kids would grow up feeling unloved or unworthy because of the craziness of school day mornings.

And I wonder how many of my other mom friends feel the way I do today?  How many post the pinterest kitchen d├ęcor ideas when they have gum stuck to their kitchen floor and something sticky on the fridge handle that they are just too tired to  wipe off for the 4th time today? How many started out the day with a picture in their minds of the family sitting around the table smiling at each other over breakfast, saying please and thank you to each other (ok--I may have gone a little far on that one).

I have no wise words for you.  I can't tell you it will get easier.  Or that you will miraculously never yell again.  Or gripe.  Or lay a guilt trip. 

What I am clinging to for myself is the promise that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23) and I get a do-over (Thank you Karen for posting that verse this morning--it's my favorite)!

And that fills my heart with hope and peace and gratitude.