Monthly Archives: June 2012

#shereadstruth

Standard

So, generally speaking, I’m different than most people. I think about things differently, I handle things differently, I’m just kind of a weirdo. Sometimes this is because I’m just weird, sometimes it’s because I’m probably just more sinful than a lot of other people. (Most people, even.)

A little over a month ago, a whirlwind came through Twitter and I watched as hundreds of women joined together to do a massive “group devotion” together. What started as 2, and then 4 girls, turned into HUNDREDS of people who were following the same devotional plan, posting pictures of their notes, tweeting, emailing, facebooking and sharing this journey. This is great, right?

Sure. Unless you’re me, because I have to first be all cynical and sarcastic and negative about it first. So, I watched and I  got annoyed and I got uncomfortable. And I thought, “Look at all these girls, posting all these pictures of their perfectly manicured nails and pretty journals and pretty backyards and pretty pools and pretty decks. Look at them bragging about how good of Christians they are and how pretty they can make their notes.” And I thought, “I’m certainly not doing that. That’s just a bunch of girls wanting to jump on the latest bandwagon and be “cool” like all the big time bloggers, and I’m not falling into that trap.” (In addition to being cynical, sarcastic, and negative, I’m also judgey. Do you want to be my friend yet?)

So, I was better than #shereadstruth. But, I wasn’t actually doing devotions or getting into the word. I told myself I was going to do it, on my own, and of course I was going to do it better because I wasn’t going to be all caught up in appearances like all these other girls. I had another friend who shared similar concerns and feelings, so we decided we’d do something together. us:1, #shereadstruth: 0. There were only a few problems.

Problem 1: One of the founders of #shereadstruth is someone that I love, and ISN’T conceited, and ISN’T fake, and isn’t all the things I was wanting to think about all the participants. I had to deal with the fact that maybe, just maybe, it was possible that all of these girls were genuine–because if she is, why can’t they all be? Maybe they don’t set up perfect pictures before they post their notes on insta.gram, maybe they just *actually* have nice handwriting. Maybe the reason I think all of them care so much about what everyone else thinks is because I care so much about what everyone thinks.

Problem 2: God likes to work in ways we don’t expect.

Problem 3: It actually looked cool. The community they were building, the growth they were experiencing…it all started to look a little intriguing. But, I’m also stubborn (seriously? How do I have any friends, and more importantly, how did I get someone to marry me???) so once I committed to not liking it, I couldn’t possibly admit I was wrong. That would just be silly.

Then I was chatting with my friend one day, and we were discussing the growth of the #shereadstruth website, and as we were talking, we realized that God was doing something in both of our hearts–that he was making us wonder if maybe THEY weren’t the problem, maybe WE were the problem. And maybe we were missing out on something great He could do in us, simply because we were being stubborn. So we agreed to start the same plan as they were–Soul Detox. 35 days of figuring out what are the toxins in our lives and in our hearts–what they are, how they play out in our lives, why they are so hard to get rid of, how to get rid of them. Being that I’m negative, and stubborn, and selfish, and judgey, you probably already realize that this is right up my sinful little ally. And it was. God started working in my heart, and still is. I’m only halfway through the plan, and I never tweeted anything about it or wrote on the site, though I have faithfully read it, because I was too prideful to do it.

But, let me just say…I was wrong. And it. is. awesome. I really am thankful for this. I am thankful that God chose to work in me in a way I didn’t want him to, but that I needed him to. I am thankful for a community of women rising up together, committing to make a change. I am thankful for the motivation to make spending time with Him a priority. He is moving in this. He is. I have seen it and I have felt it, and tomorrow when they start the new plan, I’m going to be an active part of it. I have to think that there might be others out there who felt similarly or felt weird about jumping in–tomorrow is a super time to start. What a chance we have to take the social media world and use it for good! I am quite certain that if MY heart can be touched by this, anyone’s can.

To find out more, check out http://shereadstruth.com/ or on Twitter, @shereadstruth

This time? We’re doing it together 🙂

Advertisements

on loneliness.

Standard

This is kind of a hard post to write. Not because it’s difficult for me to get out these thoughts, but because it takes a certain amount of bravery to post something that you’re pretty sure will make you sound like a pathetic loser. (Do I have everyone’s attention yet? I know everyone loves a good “I’m a loser” blog, right?)

The thing is, I don’t even mean to make it sound like I’m pathetic or that I cry myself to sleep at night or that I’m depressed and sad all the time. But the thing is: I struggle with loneliness.

I’m hoping there are lots of other girls out there who feel (or have felt)very similarly. But maybe not. Because see, the thing is, I have lots of friends. I don’t mean that in a show-offy, I-bet-I-have-more-friends-than-you sort of way, just that I’ve been blessed with having a lot of friends in a similar phase of life as me that I get along with really well and live close by. On any given day, there’s more than a handful of people I could call to schedule a play date with. I have friends I could call for shopping or coffee or if I’m having a bad day. I have girls nights and dinners and get out plenty.

Soooo why am I posting theft loneliness, then? If you have friends, you aren’t allowed to be lonely, right? That seems to be the general message that girls give and receive–your feelings can’t be validated if it looks like you’re popular, or if you’ve hung out with too many people recently. You just aren’t allowed to be lonely, because that’s only for girls who have zero friendships and lots of cats and no family. Then it’s ok. Otherwise, you shouldn’t talk about it.

I think this isn’t true though. (Or else it is true, and I’m about to get a bunch of negative comments.) See, my whole entire life, I have had a best friend. For my entire pre-college life, it was the same friend and we were inseparable. It wasn’t a question of IF we would hang out, it was how many nights we could convince our moms to let us spend together. Our friends knew that you didn’t save just one seat for us, you saved two, because we would always be together. Our names pretty much just ran together, and we lived our lives together. During school, after school, weekends, holidays–nothing off limits. When we weren’t together, we were probably talking on the phone. Then life happened and things happened and when we went to separate colleges and grew apart. Thankfully at that moment, I was blessed with the best college roomie E.V.E.R. And immediately, I had a best friend again. And again–we lived life together. We talked all the time, we didn’t have to make plans because we just assumed our plans were hanging out together. And we talked all the time and we shared all our stories and it was one of the best times in my life. She is, to this day, at the top of my list if you asked me to list out my friends. After college, I moved home and we were still best friends, and I also had another friend that I talked to AND worked with basically every single day. And she made me mixed tapes of music to make me cooler. It was true love.

But things happen and life happened again and we all have jobs and husbands and friends and churches and babies (or babies that are being grown :)) and of course things have to change. No one is at fault when these things happen, it’s just the stretching and growing that is life, but it’s still sad for me.

I guess I got used to having that best friend. Not the kind of friend you have to coordinate with for playdates through facebook after it had been 3 weeks, though those friends are wonderful blessings. Not the kind of friend you keep having to catch up on a months worth of information, even though that’s most of my friendships and I wouldn’t change them for the world. Not the kind of friends who live far away, though they are some of the most important people in my life. I just miss that we-talk-every-single-day, I-can-stop-by-unannounced-just-because-I’m-having-a-bad-day, first-person-I-tell-everything-to kind of friend. And sometimes it’s hard. And sometimes I feel sad that even though I have a lot of friends, almost all of them have a better friend, or friends, and sometimes I feel a little forgotten.

I’m not writing this so that my friends read it and feel bad, or feel like bad friends, because that isn’t true. My friends are amazing, funny, sweet, women that I LOVE and I know they love me, and they’ve all been there for me through millions of times when I’ve needed them, and provide me with so much support (and hopefully I do the same…) I’m mostly writing it because I have a hunch that a lot of people feel like this, but are scared to admit it, because it seems silly. And maybe it is, and maybe I should just be grateful. And mostly I am! But sometimes I just feel lonely. And I think that’s ok. And I think it’s ok to let each other feel these things. I had a brief conversation with one of my close friends about this, but then I said, “But I guess you wouldn’t understand, because you have so many friends.” And her jaw dropped and she said, “No! I feel EXACTLY the same way! But I feel dumb saying it!”

So, here’s hoping I’m not just making myself look like a loser, because goodness knows I obviously don’t need less friends. Also, I’ll be taking BFF applications for the next few weeks, so just go ahead and drop off essays and presents at my door. (Maybe more presents, less essays.)

Ordinary Fun

Standard

Today was an ordinary day. We woke up, we did a few errands before Daddy had to go to work, we had naptime and playtime and movie time and lunch time. And we were juuust entering that “how many more hours of entertainment are there to provide before bedtime” stretch of the day when my phone buzzed and I read this:

Free Menchies today from 2-4. Going there soon if you want to come.”

That, my friends, is my love language. Free yogurt, friends, and an activity. So I loaded the troops, manuevered my giant double stroller through the teeny tiny yogurt shop (at least 4 people offered to help me. This makes me realize 2 things. a) there are still good people in the world & b) i do not make parenting two small children look easy.)

Image

 

I met a few friends there, and we let the kids run wild along the sidewalk and eat messy yogurt with messy toppings and have a blast. Someone else brought wipes, because I don’t remember things like that, and a stranger brought Sam back to me after he ran too far away and I was chasing Piper in the opposite direction. I got the stroller stuck in the doorway while I was carrying 3 cups of yogurt (1 cup was help by my teeth, because I am simply that awesome.) Generally speaking, I’m not the mom who has things “together.” Only one of my children actually had shoes on during this adventure, and they weren’t even real shoes, they were water shoes.

One of the girls there had her brand new baby there, and in a phenomonon known as Baby Fever and which I have to believe was created by God to encourage procreation, I felt my uterus flutter a little bit, I completely forgot how 30 seconds earlier I had been mumbling something under my breath about “too few hands…too many children…can’t stay in the same place for a freaking second…why is yogurt so messy…” and I squealed “eeeeee! I WANT ONE!!”

Image

At least a hundred times I day I think to myself, “this is hard!” And I think about all the moms I know who make it look easy–the ones who remember diaper bags and cook nice dinners and have clean houses and have taken a shower since Sunday (wait, too much? is that too much information?) But, despite my forgetfulness and my disorganization, I freaking love this life. I love that they squeal about ice cream; I love that it dribbles down their faces and they don’t notice. I love that they think it’s funny to tickle each other, and I love that they’re becoming friends. I love free frozen yogurt, and I love friends that I get to share this crazy parenting adventure with.

An ordinary day, with ordinary fun. So thankful for this sweet life!

Image

On face.book: Why I’m back, and here to stay!

Standard

So, this month I didn’t use my face.book account. At all. I deactivated my account (which, by the way, fb turns into quite a dramatic event. When you click “deactivate” it begins to show you pictures of your friends with a message that says, “This friend will miss you” and “so and so will miss you” as if that will change your mind. Cute. Ineffective, but cute.) A lot of people have asked me why I did it, and I’d really like to say I had a well thought out and coherent response. Usually in my life though, that isn’t true, and I babble and ramble until hopefully, eventually, something comes out that makes a little bit of sense.

I knew I needed a break. But I feel like taking a break is pointless if there isn’t a goal or a reason or something at the end. I knew I was spending a little too much time on fb, but I didn’t feel like it was out of control or terrible. I think what it came down to is that I was allowing my computer/phone/social media become a priority, and in my brain, it isn’t as high as my actions were saying. Does that make sense? I guess I just felt like I was getting to the end of my days and saying, “I didn’t have time to run” or “I didn’t have time to fold that load of laundry” or “I didn’t have time to start a craft with the kids” or “I didn’t have time to do devotions.” But I wasn’t getting to the end of a lot of days thinking, “Man, I just couldn’t squeeze in ANY fb time!” or “Wow, I didn’t look at insta.gram once today!” It just wasn’t happening. However my days were going, and whatever I was doing, I always got to the end of them having used social media in some form. Which means that somewhere along the way, it became a priority above things that I actually WANT to be my priorities.

When I deactivated, I wasn’t 100% sure I was even going to come back. I thought maybe this would be a freeing month, and I’d realize how much time I wasted and how unecessary it was, and I wouldn’t want to do it again. That definitely didn’t happen–there were a lot of things that I missed. Turns out when you deactivate your account, things don’t stop (inconsiderate, yes? I figured I should probably unfriend anyone who had a significant life event in my absence.) People had babies, adopted babies, got engaged, had birthdays that I completely missed, and had loved ones die and I missed the services because I didn’t know in time. I felt a little left out of all these things (as of starting this post, I STILL haven’t seen pictures of some of those babies that were born!) and I realize what a huge part of every day life it has become. Despite having a little more time and focus, I actually saw people less because I realized how many of my playdates were scheduled through fb. I missed seeing pictures of my friends kiddos, reading interesting news articles.

I learned this month that I’ll probably never deactivate my account permanently, and I don’t really think that I should. Like it or hate it, social media is part of our world. And it’s part of the world my children are in, and I feel like as a Christian, I need to find a way to use this avenue in a way that gives him glory. To cut out the parts that pull me away from my faith and family, and to use this as a gift that points myself and others always up.

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not social media is destroying real relationships. And, as a texting addict who fell in love with her husband over the wee morning hours on an old school, non full keyboard phone, I say that is FALSE. I have close relationships with friends that I love and have encouraged me through mothering that I barely knew before we started communicating on fb. I bonded with women who also had preemie babies; I got advice and help from other moms who had 2 littles close together. I got advice on how to feed my kids, how to discipline my kids, and how to be a better mom. Also through social media, I have found a huge, humongous, crazy blessing in my friend Ashley. She has become a part of my daily life (mostly through texting marathons!!) and is truly a kindred spirit. I don’t know what I did before we were friends–she is my go-to “Holy cow I’m having a terrible day” or “Oh my gosh, look at this video of my kids” or “Is it ok my kids eat mac and cheese every night?” and most importantly, she gets texts pretty often from me begging for her fashion advice, whenever I need to look presentable and can’t pull it off on my own. It still baffles my mind to think that the ONLY reason she and I even met was because we were both fans (fans? is fans a creepy word? is it a nerdy word?) of Raechel’s blog–such big fans (Rae, do you feel like a rock star yet??) that we both flew hundreds of miles to stay with (and run. run far. run very, very, far) this woman who we had never met, but had followed her life, and admired. I 100% believe that is God. I believe that he gives us friends and relationships in unique ways, and that he provides opportunities for it to happen, and that to cut out social media would really limit my chances to see him work. He can work in many, many awesome ways, but I truly believe He is choosing working in social media in many ways.

But I think as Christians, we MUST make our social media usage different than the world. We must be uplifting and encouraging–I have been convicted that fb is not an appropriate outlet to complain about my children, or my husband, or my job, or even the weather. I am convicted to find the beauty not just in my blog, but in every aspect of social media that I use. And I am convicted to put my time with Him ahead of my blog, twitter, insta.gram, and fb. Because He IS more important, and the more HE is my priority, the more everything else will fall into place.

To many reading this, this entire post probably sounds really, really dramatic. Some of you are probably thinking “Geez, a month isn’t that long. I wouldn’t have any trouble doing that.” And to you–I truly admire you. I admire those who can use this as a blessing and not a stumbling block and I am hoping that will be where I end up as well. I feel like I made really good progress this month, and there are exciting things happening in the social media world right now that I feel are going to be big in my life, and big in the social media circle that NEEDS christians to rise up.

I’d LOVE to hear anyone’s thoughts on this. What are some ways that you have made social media a part of your life without letting it take over? What do you think that we as Christians can do to spread our influence in this world? Have you had experiences with friends that you met through this avenue that you feel God gave you?