Friday, September 2, 2016

Being Sick Sucks

Being sick sucks. Being a mom and being sick really sucks.

Seriously, sisters, can I get an amen?

I’ve been coughing for about 5 weeks now. Bronchitis was diagnosed 2 weeks ago. This week it became pneumonia and a sinus infection.

Awesome. Just awesome.

Being forced to rest is hard. Really hard. We just don’t live in a world where rest comes easy. It is not valued, not appreciated. The lives we lead and the stuff we pack them full of often drag us along.

Life is so full of stuff. Full of obligations. Full of work. Full of activities.

Not so full of Jesus, rest, or balance.

But, honestly, I don’t know what we do about that. The things I have in my life that make it so very full are all necessary right now. Church...yes. Work...yes. Kids....duh. Foster Parenting….yes Kids activities...well we paid for them, so yes.

All good things, but they add up, and fast!

Between the schedules and the meetings and the 4 voices that seem to get louder each day. I’m overwhelmed. I hate to admit it, but I am. My body is revolting and I’m being forced to rest and it sucks. I want to be doing activities with the kids and cleaning and cooking and all the things I usually hate but I find that I’m so worn out by the time I get home that I can’t. I’m so thankful Hubs can step up, but I miss my role.

This is the 2nd time this year I have been forced to rest. The first was when I got mono and was sick for a month in January. 30 has been a banner year of health for me (all the side eyes) and still I hate it. I hate resting when I should be doing.

Isn’t that the theme of my people pleasing perfectionist persona? Should be doing… All the shoulds, coulds, and woulds that have graced my thoughts and plans drown me at times like these. I should be able to push through this. I should be healthy by now. I should be…

There is a quote I happened upon whilst trying to find a quote about not trying so hard….gotta love the irony.

“Embrace the glorious mess that you are!” Elizabeth Gilbert.

Yes! Embrace that mess. Wear it like a proud badge of honor. Your life is full, Mama, and mess is a product of a full life.

Join me, will you? This week I am going to  try to embrace the crazy, chaotic, messy life I live and not fret so much over the small stuff. Sure, I’m still sick and the house is a mess and I am wracked with guilt over all the slack I’m leaving in my wake of sickness...but I can’t  change it. So, I’ll embrace it.

God, teach me how to embrace this life, just as it is, in all it’s glorious messiness. Help me to find rest where I need it, and strength for each day. Would you meet us here? In our chaos? In our crazy? Would you meet us in our vulnerability? I pray you would remind us over and over that your burden is light and you give rest with open arms, we only need take it.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Standing in Freedom

Do you ever feel bound by rules and regulations? Tied to expectations? Chained to cultural and societal ideals?

Sometimes, just sometimes, does it feel like the weight of all of those things is just to heavy to carry? That the rules and the should be's and ought to be's outweigh the haves? Do you every feel like you are drowning in insecurity and bound up by feeling like you are just too much and not enough all at the same time?

I do.

All. The. Time.

God has been using fostering, friendships, wonderful women authors, and lots of life and faith shaking transitions to teach me about his grace and freedom. It's been a theme that has emerged in the last few weeks. One that seems to keep rising to the surface no matter how many times I try to stuff it down or tune it out with life's busyness. You know, when you randomly see a title of a book called "Wild and Free: A Hope Filled Anthem for the Woman who Feels she is Both too Much and Not Enough" you know God is trying to tell you something.

Am I enough? Am I too much? Am I doing everything I should be to be a "good christian."

I can't. I'm not. And Heck NO!

I can't live up to those standards, no woman can. From Pinterest to Facebook to Instagram to advertisements. It is absolutely crushing to try to be the "perfect" woman. And for the idealistic perfectionist with a plethora of insecurities you have a recipe for disaster. Utter disaster.

Be fit...but not too defined.
Be nurturing....but not smothering.
Get up early....even if you go to work at 5 am. Figure it out. Get up at 3! (Because everyone loves to get up 4 hours before the sun!)
Work.,,,only if you don't have kids...
Have babies....lots of babies....even if you hate kids or can't have kids.
After you have those babies...bounce right back to your size 6 jeans.
Manage your entire household, even if you and your husband both work.
Have pinterest perfect parties and don't forget to do a science or math focused craft or experiment every day.
Be meek, don't speak up too much or we will label you as a "strong woman" or and we all know what that can are out to usurp men's authority over you and you are most definitely not "submissive."

The list goes on and on and on.... Maybe you don't struggle with all of these. Or any of them for that matter. But we all feel it don't we? This feeling of comparison, of needing to live up to the expectations we feel have been set before us?

And then I got to thinking...But what does Jesus say? I know what books say and I know what prominent Christian pastors say, and I know what my own husband thinks...but what does Jesus think? How does he see this woman who likes to talk too much and can be awfully opinionated at times? Whose passion runneth over her cup like a toddler carrying grape juice over carpet.

This is what Jesus says...

Woman,.. I have set you free.
You stand in Grace. Not in shame. Condemnation is no longer your master. Stand tall!
You are where you belong no matter what other women (or men) may think,
I've given you a voice and a fighting spirit for a reason. These are gifts. Use them well.
Rejoice in the HOPE you have been given. (Romans 5:1)
No one is justified by rules (Galatians 3:11)
You are no longer a slave, but a daughter and an heir (Galatians 4:7)
For FREEDOM Christ has set us FREE...Galatians 5:1
Love covers a multitude of sins...Spread LOVE (I Peter 4:8)
Be a good steward of God's gifts... he gave them to you to use not to hide! (1 Peter 4:9)

And finally....the creme de la creme of all womanly verses...Proverbs 31.. Lets look at her, shall we?

v 10: She is precious. (Not unwanted. Not unworthy. Not too much. Not hidden)
v:11: Her husband trusts her...he is built up by her.
v. 13 She works hard at whatever God has called her to.
v. 16 She is cunning in business
v. 17 She is strong.
v. 20 She is generous.
v. 21 She is fearless.
v. 25 She is clothed in strength and dignity (notice this is the second time "strong" is mentioned)
v 26 She is kind.
v. 27 She loves her kids and they love her.
v  31 Let her be rewarded for her hard work.

Does that seem like a quiet, meager woman?

No. She is strong. She is brave. She is seen and known. She is worthy of praise and affirmation for her hard work.

She is free.

See, I am convinced after reading Wild and Free that if we got this, if we really understood it, comparison and jealousy would be a non issue. Feeling of unworthiness or obnoxiousness would be dissolved and we would be living the lives God intended for us from the beginning.

Standing in the rain of grace overcome by joy in the truth of freedom.

I think I'm going to try it...will you join me?

Also. Go...Buy this book now. Like yesterday...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Foster Love

Hello world, I’m back. Well, for today. Who knows when I will have a brief moment to write again. My world has been turned upside down since I last blogged. I’ve been changed, our family has almost doubled in size and I’ve begun to view the world in a whole new light.

We became foster parents. I thought I knew what I was signing up for. I thought I knew the system and I still think I do in some respects. However, I am seeing a whole new side to the world of foster care that you simply cannot know unless you have lived it.

I have watched children sit in a car that they had never seen and know that they are heading to a home with people they have never met.

I’ve watched that reality sink in day after day. I’ve watched it hit them and crush them at the most unexpected of times. I’ve listened countless times to the unanswerable question of “when will we go home?”

I’ve listened to a monitor while a child prayed and sobbed to Jesus begging him to go home.

I’ve listened to that child’s sibling proclaim “I can hear God, he’s in my brain” while the other cries that they can’t hear God.

I’ve watched as anger bursts forth and the words “I hate it here” erupt from a broken heart.

I’ve watched as professionals and those most involved in the justice of this case listen and learn and try to do what’s best. I’ve also watched people who seem to forget that these kiddos have just experienced likely the biggest trauma of their lives.

I’ve watched my kids go from calling them the “new kids” to talking about how much they love them.

I’ve been allowed into a family who may often see me as an extension of the people they feel they need to fight to get these kids back. But, I’ve been respected and welcomed even so.

I’ve watched myself grow and struggle and fight to be a gentle parent who uses calm words instead of loud words.

I’ve felt like I was going to drown in my insecurity and fear and I’ve been more bold than I ever imagined.

I’ve fought fear harder, and felt love deeper.

I’ve been changed.