Category Archives: faith

On being gone, being back, and hating homework.

Standard

I just wrote my first blog post in over 3 months. It wasn’t that great, most likely, but it was done and I hit publish and I was happy. And it was time to eat a handful of dark chocolate m&ms and go to sleep, which is a very wonderful time of my day. I love bedtime. Then, I noticed that there was no text in my blog. Now, I know I’m not the best blogger in the world (I already mentioned my 3 month absence, right?) but I do know that text is good. And there was much angst when I realized it disappeared, but I have now devoured my chocolate and am fully prepared to recreate the messy thoughts I created mere minutes ago.

So, here’s the thing. I hate homework. Hate it. It was the bane of my existence as early as middle school, and I carried the torch with me through college. I actually ended up taking tons of extra classes in college and graduating an entire year early, because I simply couldn’t handle another year of homework. It’s honestly a miracle I survived that long, and I already dread the day my kids come home with homework of their own. It’s probably some sort of character flaw like laziness or lack of respect for authority, but therapy to overcome these issues would probably be way too expensive. So in the meantime, things that I really shouldn’t do are giving myself tasks that feel like homework. Things like forcing myself to blog 3 times a week. Because to me, that isn’t fun. It isn’t enjoyable, and it makes me dislike my blog.

Apparently in my absence, my blog still got viewed, usually by exactly 2 people per day. (Hi, mom!) So to those people: I admire your hope in me. It’s cute that you kept checking, even though I kept not delivering. I’d like to promise I’ll start posting more, but I think we can all agree that me making promises like that just doesn’t work.

I think the bottom line is that I don’t quite have my identity as a blogger yet. Without knowing that, it’s hard to think of what to write about. Am I trying to send a message? Am I trying to document my family in a day-to-day way? Do I want to capture the good moments without focusing on the bad? Do I want to include the bad, because there are certainly less than lovely moments in our family? And what about privacy issues–how much is too much? How can I be authentic without sharing too much? How can I encourage without being preachy? How can I be honest without being whiny? Do I need to be craftier if people read my blog? Funnier? Cleaner? More organzied? More spiritual? A better cook? Do I even WANT people outside of my family to read this blog? Do I want the responsibility of weighing my words carefully, of making sure I am being a light?

And what I have come to is this: social media is dangerous. I am sometimes nervous about the world my kids are growing up in, and what growing up in a social media obsessed world is going to be like. I think that there is a constant struggle to be present in the moment with my kids, to put away the phone and the tweets and the status updates, and I don’t want blogging to weigh me down and pull me further away from my life with them. However. I also think that as Christians we have a huge responsibility to be a force within social media–to understand it, to be part of it, and to help guide the direction it takes. I want to be part of that. I am happy to be part of it in a very small way, but I want my blog to be a light. I want to be honest enough that people can relate to it, and be positive enough that people are encouraged by it. But mostly, in my family, I want Jesus to be seen. And that brings me back to the same place I come every single time I think about this blog: I want to find the beauty. I want to live this one life that I have, and I want to find the beauty in the long, hard days and in the fun easy days and in the pain and joy that is life. I also love the community that is blogging, and I want to be a part of it.

I don’t really know what that looks like–maybe I won’t be back for another 3 months. But I’m hoping that I can find a way to share my life, and my life with my family, in a way that constantly points people up.

If I don’t succeed, the good news is my kiddos are super cute and sweet and these pictures of them should make up for all my blogging transgressions.

Advertisements

Living a {different} dream…

Standard

Soooo, anyone who knows me knows that I have seriously, seriously struggled with working full time and having small children. This has been especially true since Piper has been born and I’ve attempted to juggle wife-dom, motherhood, friendships, faith, and a super stressful management position. I spent many a night crying, whining, complaining, and being generally ungracious to people around me, but in the final months of my management career had really made an effort to behave more graciously. I was thankful to have a job, thankful to have FREE childcare from my mom (who better to take care of your children than someone who loves them as much as you do?!) But still, the ache in my heart was there; the longing to be a better mom to my kids, to not miss out on these precious moments I have with them while they are still so little.

So we began to really pursue this dream of mine. I make the majority of the money in our house, so me stepping back from work is a HUGE deal. We rented out 2 rooms in our house to help cover the mortgage, and began diligently saving so that we’d have a backup in case anything went wrong. Once our savings was at a comfortable level, we really got serious. I spoke to many people throughout this journey who said things like, “God will bless you for wanting to stay home, and he’ll provide” or, “Every month we think we won’t have enough money, and then He makes a way!” and, “Sometimes you just have to take a leap!” So, after one particularly horrible day at work which left me in tears, we lept. And we lept big–I told my boss I was going to step down from management and take a part time position–giving up my generous salary to work an hourly rate that is MUCH less. But we would be ok.

That same day, we began to pursue a job for my husband that looked VERY promising–and, da-da-da, made *exactly* the same amount of money we’d just given up. I was giddy, and began mentally writing the awesome blog post of how good God was to provide like this for our family. I mean, I gave up a salary and trusted his provision, and then he gave us back the exact.same.amount. The inspirational story practically writes itself. Awesome.

I had put in a month’s notice to my boss so she’d have time to figure out my replacement, etc. Over that month I grew more and more excited, and Geoff went on several interviews that went really well. All the pieces of our plan just fell into place perfectly. The Sunday night before my very last week of management, we were sitting downstairs watching TV, and one of our tenants came down. She told us she had found a new place to live, and would be moving out–ON FRIDAY. Yes, that was 5 days away. My heart sank, as I knew we needed this money to make ends meet. I wasn’t too terribly upset though, because Monday was the day we were getting the final answer about Geoff’s job interview. Feeling pretty confident he would get it, I tried to relax and not freak out.

Then Monday came. Waited, waited, waited for the call. It didn’t come. All day long I stressed and then finally, my phone rang and I saw Geoff’s number. I knew this was IT. I asnwered, and heard, “Well. It’s a no.” And that was that. It was a no. It was a “now you don’t have enough money to pay your mortgage and your bills.” It was a “better go look for new full time job again.” It was a “God didn’t do what I thought He should do.”

And I freaked. And I cried. And I was mad. Because, I mean, really, this was a PERFECT set-up for God to show off some of his goodness by answering my prayers exactly like I wanted him to. Bump, set…all I needed was that spike. Why wouldn’t he spike??

I remember feeling like this a few years ago. My friend David had a surgery and suffered horrible, unexpected complications. As he fought for his life over the next few weeks, we got a few “close call” notices that maybe he wasn’t going to make it. And I never, for a second, thought that he wouldn’t. I KNEW he was going to be fine, because that was going to be how God showed his goodness. He was going to show it through miraculous healing, because that’s the way it made sense. The doctors and nurses were going to be astonished; the praying people waiting for him to come home were going to see that God said yes. I just knew it. Until one day, I didn’t know it. I woke up and realized, he could really die. That was Thanksgiving day–and the next thing I knew, he was gone. And I was heartbroken, and confused. Because WHY wouldn’t God answer that prayer??

And I have felt that way so many times in my life. So many times I have known exactly how God should operate and exactly how he should provide for me. And you know what? A lot of times, he hasn’t. He hasn’t operated on my terms, he’s operated on his. And every.single.time, he’s been right. Sometimes, I don’t even know why–I have no idea why Dave wasn’t healed. I have no idea why I had a miscarriage. I have no idea why our life seems so crazy right now. But what I do know is this: He is still good. He is no less good than all the times he HAS answered my prayers exactly as I’ve hoped (which has also been often.) He’s not good because he does what I want or what I expect, he is good because he is God, and I am not. And this side of eternity, I may never understand death and disappointment, but I do understand redemption, and I know that these things will be redeemed.

This isn’t the post I expected to write about God’s provision. But it is about his provision nonetheless. A few months ago, I had it all–a house we owned; a high paying job with one of the most respected companies in the US; 2 beautiful children, free amazing childcare…the American dream. Today, I’m starting to pack up everything in my house so I can move all my belongings into my mom’s basement so we can afford to make ends meet.

But…I’m working part time. That was the dream to begin with. And I am thankful for every second I have with these kids–I am thankful that my attention is completely focused on my home, instead of being on my job. I am thankful for the stress I no longer have, for the energy I have now that I’m not gone so much. I am thankful that we have my mom who is so gracious and willing to share her home–and thankful that my kids will get the opportunity to spend so much time with their grandparents. I am thankful we get to downsize and figure out what’s really important and not be so caught up in STUFF.

And you know what? That sounds like a whole lot of goodness, and a whole lot of provision. And I think maybe everyone was right–if you trust and take a leap, God WILL provide. But he may not do it in a way you wanted, or expected. But he will do it in a way that sanctifies and teaches and he will do it in a way that leaves you thinking, “I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.” And that, to me, is the beauty of faith–that he is greater, and I am less. And regardless of where I am, there is beauty to be found–and I will strive to find it.

The Beauty of Faith

Standard

First, let’s talk about this. This is my baby and me on Easter, and she’s wearing overalls that used to be mine!! 😀

Been in a bit of a funk lately–rough couple of weeks at work, which generally puts my attitude in the pooper, and finding the beauty in life gets more difficult. But, finding the beauty in only things that make it easy doesn’t seem like I’m really challenging myself, so I’m not going to let as much time pass between posts again. I’ve been thinking a lot in the past few weeks about faith, and about living my faith out in my life, and I think I can possibly put enough of thoughts into words to be a post 🙂

I’ve been a Survivor fan for years and years. I was sitting on the couch watching the night that Season One aired, and now that we’re on Season, what, 18? I’m still on my couch every Wednesday night watching the tribes battle it out. In the past few years, it seems like nearly every season there is a token Christian. Someone who packs their Bible as their luxury item and uses every opportunity to throw in some Christian phrases, whether they fit with the circumstance to watch. I’ve cringed my way through many an episode, shuddering as various tribes claimed God’s grace or curse on them and wishing people would just stop making Christians look crazy. I think a lot of it also has to do with editing–overall, the people of faith on the show are edited in a way that makes them look a little bit crazier than they are.

So this season, when one of the contestants in the first episode was clearly someone who was a Christian, I assumed we were headed down the same road. I have been thrilled to be wrong! Watching Matt this season has been inspiring, encouraging, and convicting. Watching the show, it is literally like his faith is just pouring out of him. Some of the scenes have almost been awkward because it is SO clear that he is having intense conversations with a God he loves. He has been such a light to everyone he has come into contact with out there, and has been edited in a way that makes it obvious his faith is completely genuine.

And it’s made me wonder–why don’t we all have faith like that? Why don’t *I* have faith like that? Why is what people at work think of me more important than being a light? Why is it easier to get caught up in social networking than it is to get caught up in the word? I’ve been really convicted by how many times I’ve let go by that I haven’t spoken up when I should have, or times when I’ve gossiped when I shouldn’t have. So many times I look at the worst in people instead of just trying to show them Jesus. Because when that happens, it’s SO beautiful. And really, it’s what life is all about. I hope I start remembering that more.

Sacred

Standard

the children are sleeping/but they’re running through my mind/the sun makes them happy/but the music makes them unwind/my cup runneth over/i worry about the stain/teach me to run to You/ like they run to me/ for every little thing/ could it be that everything is sacred?/ and all this time/ everything i’ve dreamed of/ has been right before my eyes

–caedmon’s call, sacred

I found the lines above from one of my favorite songs running through my mind all day today. I kept humming them while I was thinking about the nice weather outside and how happy my little guy must be to finally get to play outside for a long time (he LOVES going outside–we let him take things out to the trash can a few times a day just because he gets so excited that he squeals about running up the driveway!) And I loved coming home and getting to take both my kiddos outside for a walk. But I keep thinking about this song because it’s important to my life right now. Sometimes it’s really hard to balance work and motherhood. I find myself challenged to manage my time well, to be a good caretaker of my home as well as play with the kids, in addition to being a good wife and a good store manager. It’s a daily struggle for me to let go of how I want things to be and focus on how blessed I am. This song today has been a great reminder of the fact that my life, both the work part AND the mom part, are sacred. They’re both parts of my life that I need to be thankful for; both parts that require sacrifice and hard work; both parts that I have the chance to impact those around me. And just like I am supposed to be a light for my littles and teach them about Jesus, I am supposed to be a light at work. Sometimes I’m not as good at remembering that part of my life. But I feel like God is working on me a lot these days, and I am excited to be part of whatever it is he has planned for me.

In the meantime…how can anyone not be happy when they get to come home to THIS??