Category: Gratitude

Letters to B.

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dear bIn quiet moments, I find myself talking to you. I tell you about our day together, I tell you about the lessons I’ve just learned or the hopes I have for our future together. But in my inner ramblings, I’m not talking to the B with scraped knees, a button nose, and a gleeful giggle, but a vibrant and beautiful teenager, a young woman anxiously waiting to find love, a nervous and glowing bride, a swollen and radiant mother to be, and an exhausted, yet blissfully  content wife and mother. I imagine myself stringing together lessons, ideas, memories, and snapshots that can hang on your neck like a strand of pearls, giving you a piece of me, and helping you navigate the milestones of your life. I realize there’s nothing I can say that will develop the wisdom that is earned from bad breakups, betrayal, reckless love, and all the moments that mark how beautiful and sometimes how heart wrenching life can be.

I imagine myself stringing together lessons, ideas, memories, and snapshots that can hang on your neck like a strand of pearls, giving you a piece of me.
But I smile as I see you reading my words at sixteen and rolling your eyes, then again at 23, as you think you know better, and then finally at 34 and beyond, as you savor them, like the morsels of dark chocolate I keep hidden from you and daddy at the back of the pantry.

So while you nap soundly, covered in flecks of sand and salt from a morning at the beach, here I am with my laptop, putting off my zillions of chores to bang away at my keyboard, and try to distill all that I want to impart to you in the meager words I’ve been given. I’d like to think my thoughts to you could touch and benefit others, but maybe they’re intended for an audience of one–and that’s okay too. Because that’s the crazy way that God works, calling us to plant a seed that could fruit beyond our wildest imagination now, or lay dormant in the ground for years and years and then miraculously sprout up in a new and unexpected place.

My dear B as I share my thoughts with you in these letters I’m going to tell you what you’ve already figured out. I am only human. I’m going to fail you a million times before you ever sit down to read my words. Just last night, I kissed your face and my tears wet your cheeks as I apologized for raising my voice at you–you were refusing to go to bed and I was impatient and tired. But my dear, I hope by now you know that that’s what makes our world so beautiful–that God takes our shortcomings and messes, our half efforts and good intentions and wraps them up with lessons and forgiveness; He ties a ribbon of grace around them and transforms  them into the beautiful gifts that our lives are made of.

 

I’m Mediocre and Happy

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Blogging Barbies Move Over–I’m Mediocre & Happy!

We are surrounded by images on TV, in movies, magazines, and ads of women that seem to show no signs of “real life.”

Somehow in print, and on screen, celebrities have managed to avoid the ravages of child bearing and aging.

At 31, I have a pretty good self image, but I can’t help but notice the lines around my eyes, the stretch marks on my hips, and well, the other imperfections that come with babies and age.

But as if “keeping up with the Kardashians” isn’t enough, I find myself facing another group of women that challenge my sense of reality.

I will dub them the “Blogging Barbies.” Like Barbie, they manage to spin a reality of their domestic life that is shiny, and seamless, and pure plastic perfection. From their designer decorated homes, perfect pantries, down to their immaculate underwear drawers, these bloggesses (no auto-correct, not blouse, I’m inventing a word here!) seem to have every stitch in place of their effortlessly homespun life.–And don’t forget their gorgeously dressed and beautiful children with sweet and original names like Harlow and Dax–who also manage to put their toys back in the adorably labeled toy bins tucked away in their color coordinated closets.

I’m not dissing women who love pinterest, and are crafty, and have cute homes. I know quite a few, and I hope someday some of their talent will rub off on me!

But as I browsed the black hole of pinterest today, and fell deeper and deeper into my own black hole of negative thought, I’m so disorganized, my house isn’t cute, what do I do with all my time, why isn’t my bathroom matching down to the toiletry bottles?!

I decided to take a step back and celebrate that my house is relatively clean, my pantry is 65% stocked, and my kid and husband are fed, smiling and their clothes mostly match.

So today, instead of worrying about a reality on blogs that I will never achieve in my real life, I’ll celebrate giggles, sticky hands, and overall domestic mediocrity!

A Belly Full of Butterflies; A Heart Full of Hope

“Because butterflies mean God is doing a new thing…”

As we signed the final documents for buying our new house, I felt a flutter begin in my stomach. No matter how much I do to prepare for a changing chapter of my life, it all usually boils down to a moment where my new reality crystallizes, and I lose every grain of control that I’ve scraped and grasped tightly onto. With clenched fits, and butterflies doing their practiced flight within the walls of my tummy, I close my eyes and leap to the next blank page of my unwritten story.

“…although my life story isn’t written, He knows the ending.”

But as I walk to the bank to transfer our life’s savings into what feels like thin air, the familiar butterfly dance I feel, fills me with excitement. I remember the last moments I felt butterflies: when I found I was pregnant with baby E, when Bree was born, and when I vowed my life to my husband. These butterflies mark something new and exciting. I realize as a grown woman of 31, butterflies mean I’m still growing up, and I hope when I’m 85, I still get this fabulous and unnerving flutter in my stomach. Because butterflies mean God is doing a new thing, and although my life story isn’t written, He knows the ending, and He’s written my name on the palm of His hand.

” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” Revelation 21:5

 

Blessings Always Come with Responsibility

“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” James 1:17

Blessings always come with responsibilities. The greater the blessing, the greater the responsibility. When I was a kid, if my pockets were full of a few quarters and a couple cubes of bubble gum, then I felt blessed and other kids felt jealous. But when I got my first car, I quickly learned that cars don’t run on quarters and bubble gum. The blessing of a car meant the hard work of babysitting and odd jobs to earn enough money to fill the gas tank.

When I became a mom, the blessing of my daughter came also with the heavy weight of responsibility. Not only do I receive the pure joy and pride of being a mother to my gorgeous, stubborn, and independent little girl, but every time I look at her, I’m reminded of the great calling God has put on my life to care for her, to teach her, and to love her, even when that means the tough kind of love.

A person can respond to responsibility in a few different ways. We can resist it or even grow to resent the extra work that comes with responsibility. We can become a slave to it, allowing the responsibilities to run our life and become an obsession. Or, we can embrace it and lean on God to strengthen us in fulfilling our responsibilities.  When we remember the blessings that are attached to the extra work, it’s easy to see that it’s worthwhile, but our perspective can determine  whether we treat our blessings as gifts or burdens.

When we think of the James verse, it’s easy to think that a perfect gift means something that is lovely, flawless, and uncomplicated, like quarters and bubble gum, but in life we quickly learn that the most perfect gifts come with responsibility and sacrifice. We can choose to embrace God’s gifts and draw closer to him, or miss an opportunity for God to touch our hearts and lives with His call to greater responsibility and trust.