Fully Known

You know how your mom, friend or spouse just know you.  Like when they buy you the perfect gift or call you at a moment you needed it most.

But, sometimes it’s annoying, right?  Like Jesse in Full House, when Rebecca had figured Danny out and even when he was trying to do the opposite of his personality she knew what he’d do.  He was exhausted trying to be someone he wasn’t.

It’s good to be known.  But it doesn’t always feel good.  It feels vulnerable, exposed.

Tauren Wells sings in his song “Known” that, “…it’s not one or the other: its hard truth and ridiculous grace to be known, fully known and loved by Him.”  I’ve been on one side of that line.  The hard truth.  I knew who I was.  I knew the depth of my sin.  But to sit there was too much.  It was too heavy, like a boulder on my chest.  Sin was debt I knew I could never pay no matter how hard I worked at it.

Freedom is to accept who you are, human, unable to do anything to save yourself, plus receiving grace that is absolutely ridiculous.  Grace completely engulfing our sinful selves.  God gives us grace upon grace because He knows who we are, how fallen, utterly dust humans.

James 4:6 says, “God gives grace generously…opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Proud and humble are the opposite.  Admitting you have faults, you are broken, you are in need: humility.  Because we all have faults, we all are broken, and we are all in need of saving.  Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  None of us can do it.  Think about the greatest person you know, yep, they are sinners in need of God’s ridiculous grace.

But you don’t understand, Tara, you don’t know me.  You are right, but God does, and He paid for all that you are hiding.

1 John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves…”  Isn’t that the truth, we think hiding and saying we don’t struggle with this or that sin somehow validates we are saved.  But God says confess your sin to be forgiven.

Grace balances the scales, in our favor.

So, let God know all of those completely empty places you carry, so that, grace can enter.  And know that it is both.  It is our admission of sin and God’s act of extending grace to us.

Grace- it overflows so that our sin is no more.

We are His, complete and whole.

Ending nicely

Yesterday, I was looking for inspiration.  A passion to read something, and I was looking through my books ready to pick up a new one for July.  I remembered I had gotten 7 Women by Eric Metals.  The tag line for the book is “7 Women…and the secret to their greatness.”

I felt like this would be just what I was looking for.

So I’m reading Susanna Wesley’s biography, chapter 2.  I’m reading, and thinking wow, this lady had it rough.  She lost two sets of twin babies along with other children, her husband was really terrible with money, he abandoned her at points in his life to raise their kids on her own, and their house burned down twice.  Her kiddos suffered great loss in their marriages.  Not a story with much good.

I was really wrestling with it last night before I went to sleep, letting God know I did not like her story.  Like it is my responsibility to like someone’s story or not, my first problem.  The second was that I wanted her story to be a fairy tale: she followed Christ and everything turned out great.  But that’s not how her story goes.

However, at the end, what she did have left, her most prized possession, her faith.  It was intact and so were her kids’ faith.

I felt last night I was asked, what do I want for my life and my kids?

Do I want that cushy perfect looking life, or do I want a faith for myself and my kids that will last and will never falter no mater what we go through in this life?  Both might be possible, but if I had to pick what is my heart wanting.

I want the later.  I want a faith so deep, that whatever this world tells me is the worst I could endure and still keep walking after.

We aren’t promised perfect lives.  But we are promised a perfect God who rests within us when we believe in His perfect Son so that we can endure.

What do you want?

Making room

Talking to mom friends this morning and realized motherhood is just absolute insanity.  We never know what we will get for the day.  It is a little out of our control and sometimes at the whim of our kids moods and behaviors.

It swings back and forth, back and forth.  I’m constantly tempted to follow the lead of my kids for the days, answering all their calls, meeting their needs first.  Sometimes I’m just flat worn.  It’s too much.

There has to be moments that I take to rest, to recharge, to stop.  Stop all the dish drying, towel folding, juice filling, snack getting, picking up the toys, and shoes.  And I have to sit, be still, take a bath, listen to music, sleep, read.

Whatever it is that grounds me that day.

The days I feel most overwhelmed are the days I take my kids lead and set little boundaries for the day.  This is an excuse, but I’m not great at boundaries.  If we fall into two categories: one who sets strong boundaries and one who isn’t even sure what a boundary looks like, I fall into the latter.

Summertime is hard, I want to entertain my cuties.  I want them in activities.  But there has to be a limit at some point.  Because there are little boundaries in summer.  We don’t have school.  But there are a lot of opportunities.  We have vacation, weeks where my husbands gone, camps, church activities.  I get swallowed up into them.

I’m learning ever so slowly people.  How to ground myself.  Grounded for me is standing firm, confident, having worth, and joy.

Today I am fighting the temptation to clean my entire house before we have to leave at four-thirty.  Instead I’m writing, because that is a goal I’ve set.  And I’m taking time to slow down, before I serve others in an attempt to better my attitude and to feel refreshed.

Margin.

Making this room in our lives to check in on ourselves.  To see how our family is doing.  To maybe even sit down to eat, not on the run.

I’m challenging myself with this today.  And if the day is slow, it’s not because I’m not doing anything it is because I’m making room.

Making room for us to live, to breathe, to be.

And that’s okay.

How are you making room today?

Splash

This morning, I gather my three little ducklings (I called them my evil stepsisters yesterday, and I was obviously Cinderella) to head off to a local splash pad.  Energy was up and we need some time outside and in this heat water must be involved.

I’m driving and talking to my mom asking for prayer because not only were we going to go to the splash pad I was going to try and walk through Old Navy with three kids five and under in tow.  I know, it wasn’t essential.  Sometimes I just like to test out if we can make it.  It’s like an obstacle course or something.

As we were enjoying the splash pad, I felt the *pause*.  That moment where you can evaluate how things are going, how you are feeling, and you are able to be present.  And I was filled with gratitude.  Two years ago, this trip would have felt like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro but today it was peaceful.  It wasn’t perfect.

I did get my kids a cookie before battling Old Navy, I’m not stupid.  I bought two shirts, and then made it to Barnes and Noble.  I’m pushing it, I know.  The kids played and then we hit that wall, you know the one that if you climb over it there’s no returning.  We were starting to act a little crazy, we had a poopy diaper, and tears for more stuff.  It was time to go.

And off we went.

We made it.

So mom, new mom, you can do this.  What seems impossible will be a breeze one day, then slow down just enough to celebrate.  I took a bath.

Reminded today: we are all on a journey and sometimes we don’t know where it’s taking us, but we can trust that we are being prepared for it.

Writing

Writing and procrastination go hand and hand for me.

I like to wait and wait and then just bust something out in like twenty minutes.

Anybody else?

We can dream and do the thing that we are dreaming about, or the bigger temptation for me is to just dream and leave it on the table.  To have good intentions and then just stop.  Ending whatever I thought was amazing because it got difficult.

So, today my oldest two are happily water coloring a cardboard castle and I want to stay, play, and distract myself from what I really want to do.  And I think I’m distracting myself, because I’m not sure dreams do come true.  I see people and they have “arrived”, they have done what they set out to do.  And I feel myself just sitting here twiddling my fingers wondering when my turn will be.  Ooo the comparison game.

I’m reading books, and being inspired by different authors and how they write.

But I know there is something to be done with that inspiration.  My hands can create.  They can create because a story has been placed on my heart, and I want to tell it.

What are you dreaming about today?

I’m taking my next step.

What’s yours?

Play and rest

Play and rest.

My default is to feel guilty when we are resting.  Watching a movie, tv…maybe because there are better ways to rest.

Isn’t this true of us all.  How are we resting?

Yesterday, my oldest and I played at a local trampoline park.  I climbed, I jumped, I fell hard a lot.  So today.  Rest.

I had an absolute blast spending time with my oldest.  He is growing so fast, and I know these times will end abruptly and without my wanting.  So for yesterday, I embraced the crazy and climbed right beside him.

There’s a beautiful feeling not caring, especially what others think.  I squealed, flipped, hit my back, and laughed hard.

Today, my body is screaming at me.  My arms and legs hurt.  And I’m tired.

Sometimes I need a push and reason to play, and sometimes I need the same for rest.

Brene Brown talks about this idea in The Gift of Imperfection.  That to work on anxiety means to play and rest.

Childlike.

Joy.

The Bible talks about this too.  Childlike faith.  The Bible also talks a lot about rest and doing work.  It’s both.  James 2 talks about our faith working itself out in good deeds.  Matthew talks about Jesus’ desire for us to come and rest and lay our burdens down.

This life is meant to be lived in this in-between.  Not in perfection, but in this place feeling a little uncertain, because there are two parties vying for our attention: one that rests all the time and one that works all the time.

So, find ways to do both.  It’s important soul work.

Slow…

It’s hard to be grateful when you’re going 90 to nothing. Exhaustion. Bitterness. Fear. They all flow freely. I tend not to slow down because I don’t want to feel these things.

But as I slow down, the feelings leave and gratitude is left. That deep sense of worth, unending worth no matter what you’ve done. And the truth surfaces and you realize you are not the one keeping the world moving.

Whether it’s watching your kiddos slowly drift to sleep or listening to birds chirp outside. Or even in the chaos of kiddos screaming and laughing in the pool. Joy.

A pause. Sabbath. Rest. When we trust in the commandment of Sabbath, we know and believe Who is really in control, God himself. Freedom. Deep. Unending freedom from a God who is so good. Kind. Loving. Gracias.

The lie is that we can’t rest. That we do not possess the ability to slow so we say things like “it’s just who I am,” I’ve said that before. But it’s a lie. I was made for rest, to be restored. So I could know and believe God is for me and not against me.

I think this is essential for life, for actually living.

So how are you resting today?

To be a daughter

Oh my sweet girl. She’s a delight. I enjoy sitting and looking at her. It’s a delight just to be in her presence.

Even when she’s ornery I still delight in her. All sides of her are wonderful because they make her, her.

When she smiles it’s from ear to ear. When she talks she has something to say. She’s strong. She’s sassy. She’s kind. She loves helping.

I’m in awe most days we get to have her and raise her.

Today I’m reading Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray and she’s talking about God naming us.

My name is Tara and it means a crag in a tower. I don’t know what that means. But it sounds cool. It makes me think of how I’ve tried to be a tower for so many people, strong, steady, keeping it all together. I didn’t know they really didn’t need me to do that, but I found significant worth in doing everything for everyone.

Then slowly a couple of years ago, God started to call me by a new name. Daughter. A name that made me feel vulnerable. Uncertain. Delighted in. Loved. Cherished.

Similar to how I feel about my daughter.

And it’s been a process to let myself sit there a little longer each day. To sit and be loved. To sit and be cared for even when I don’t deserve it. To lay and have peace because His love for me has nothing to do with what I do but what He’s done for me.

So what’s your name mean? Is God whispering a new name? Let Him, it’s a good one.

We all can be brave

“We all can be brave.”-my five year old.

Last night I was scrolling through instagram and read a little blurb about Kate Spade committing suicide, how sad and lost she must have felt.  And the person quoted from an article stating that we tell girls to be perfect and not brave.  I thought “oh man, I can’t wait to tell Elle tomorrow she is brave.”

So we wake up, I’m doting on my daughter telling her how brave she is as I put in her pink bow and a shirt that says “girls run the world.”  Wow, might have come on a little strong.  I was really feeling it this morning!

And my five year old chimes up and says, “yeah, mom we all are brave because we are humans.”  I mean this kid.  He is insightful without knowing it, which makes it the best.  I’m learning this balance between speaking life over all my kids and not just one.

The truth is we all can be brave.

We all can ask for help.

We all can speak up.

We all can show love.

We all can forgive.

Men, women, boys and girls.

There’s this inclusiveness that we can begin to breathe over our people.  I want my boys to be okay with their feelings, but I also want them to be brave and courageous.  I want my daughter to be brave and stand up for whats right, but I also want her to be kind and loving.

We can have both.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

What are you speaking over your people today?

 

Letting fear lead

Most of my life, fear has lead.

Even after becoming a Christian in the seventh grade, I have journals of asking God to make me brave, to relieve my fears.

To no avail.

It was a way of life before I was a Christian and continued.  I wasn’t sure I was “saved” because this struggle seemed so deep. And a lot of my prayers and faith depended upon God answering these desperate pleas for freedom from fear.  I was asking God to take something away, but it was something that needed tended.

Maybe some of you are like me, I want all of the “how to-s” to do it the same way as so and so and be free of fear.  Because what I’ve always wanted most was that exact thing, freedom from fear, the end result, perfection, Heaven really.

With the help of my counselor, I can sit with my fears a little longer.  I can let them settle so I can see clearer.  Fear was a defense, a way of protection.  That is a correct connection.

There were areas of my life that needed defending.  Needed a voice.  A person to stand up and say I got this!

And His name is Jesus Christ.  When I listen to my greatest fears and hurts, I treat myself with kindness.  And then that kindness can flow out to others.  But the truth is if I sit just a second longer, Jesus, the Holy Spirit is able to come up and the whirlwind clears.

God is a whisperer, not a screamer.  If something within you is screaming by all means give notice, but you don’t have to respond immediately, unless your arm is falling off or something.  If there’s no blood, you got a few minutes to breath and see something different.

I read an article recently, and thought oh crap this is me right?, I have to fix this right now.  I can’t live this way.  (An old response.)  But once I sat a few minutes longer, I realized there was something for me to learn.  A piece for me to take away.

I can sit back and think.  Things are changing, slowly.  Progress is happening.

Fear might always be my knee jerk response, but my guess is it will become less and less my immediate response.  As long as I give it enough attention to listen, let it speak, and choose wisely.

Fear is a means of protection.  We shouldn’t go running into a fire, the fear of it hurting should be enough to stop us.  Fear is purposeful.  But sometimes it has grown so loud, it has drowned out all the other voices, like God’s.

This isn’t easy.  I still fail in this.  But in the failing is where I grow the deepest.  The “oh-yeah I forgot this doesn’t work anymore.”

So don’t let fear lead, not by ignoring it, but by giving it a seat at the table so it no longer has to yell like a toddler in your ear until you listen.

Let a trusted mentor/counselor walk through some of those fears.  Pray that God would show you something knew as you sit just a little while longer until the calm comes.