Gratitude

Oh my gratitude has grown tremendously in this season of life.  Gratitude for creation, for small moments, for quiet, for swinging, and reading.  Gratitude typically slows me down helping me stay in the moment.

I get joy just thinking about all these moments of deep deep gratitude.  A lot of those moments have little to do with me.  But they are an exhale to my Savior for gifts that are 100% from Him.

Peaceful moments with my husband on stressful weeks.

Surprise flowers blooming out of the ivy.

Quiet moments as my sweet babies are asleep in their beds.

Music while I’m cooking.

Counseling moments that worked out something deep.

Writing.

Getting wrapped up in a good book.

Summer rain.  

Rainbows after the rain.

Most of these moments of deep gratitude have little do with something I’ve done.  Gratitude isn’t about being happy all the time, but about realizing even in our worst moments goodness still abounds because it has less to do with us and more to do with Him and His goodness.  It has to do with our Father who loves to give good gifts to His children whether we’ve been good or bad.  He draws us to Him, and tells us we are still loved even when we’ve totally mess up.

At the heart isn’t this what we want to tell our children?  When they’ve hurt their sibling, told a lie, or yelled something in anger.  We want to draw them close and remind them of the good around them and how little is has to do with them.  That they are loved cherished and adored.  We want them to feel it and more importantly believe it.

Oh deep gratitude. I’m asking God to open my eyes to the things I can be grateful for.  Past, present, and future.

What are you grateful for today?  Don’t let it rest upon something you accomplished today, look deeper and ask God to open your eyes, slow down.  Smell the roses.

 

Good book reference: 1000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp.

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?

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.

Embracing it all

I have all sorts of emotions, at any time of the day.

I’m joyful.  I’m sad.  I’m happy.  I’m mad.  (This sounds like a children’s book.)

But to say all this, you already know it.  We are human.  We feel.

I got overwhelmed by all the feels this past week.  End of the school year.  Excited to be with all three kids.  Overwhelmed to be with all three kids, all day.  I need a schedule.  I’m terrible at following schedules.  I need freedom.  I felt so frustrated.  I was quitting before I had even started.

Comparison has been a slow killer these past couple of weeks.  Friends doing new things, working, not working, teaching their kids, organizing their homes, and I’m here killing it.  Or so I thought.

Life looks different for all of us.  One area we may be flourishing, and another not so much.  We all have those glamorous sides where we are rocking it, and those areas we sweep under the rug or push in the closet for one more day, laundry anyone?

With this heart of comparison, I had to take a step back.  What was going on?  Comparison was killing my joy and making me exhausted.  Because I cannot be the best at everything, in every area.  It’s not possible.

I’m realizing it was comparison as I write this.  Sometimes getting it out, brings new light.  

So our goal for the summer, I made this up last night, is to play, rest, and relax together.  Because we love being together.   

I’m okay that I compared my motherhood to someone else’s motherhood, because this is where I get to write from.  A place of truth, authenticity.  In that I want to remind myself and maybe you, we don’t have to be anyone else, our people in this case my kids don’t want anyone else, they want us.  All of us.  Present.  Whole.  Completely imperfect.

Lord help us embrace ourselves.

Acceptance

I learned young you should push back on areas you don’t like about yourself.  For example, I don’t like that I get overwhelmed easily, so I’ll pretend I don’t feel overwhelmed.  Then struggle and toil against that overwhelming feeling, that is one hundred percent human, and typically make myself more overwhelmed.

So I’m writing this for me today, I hope you get something too.

I think at the heart of the gospel is acceptance.  I think of the woman who had bled for years without any relief, I think of the man with leprosy who was not accepted by society, both completely accepted by our Savior.  And the Samaritan woman at the well who had five husbands and was living with another man, she was cast aside by her community, but totally accepted by her Savior.  Embraced.

We can’t surrender what we haven’t accepted has happened.  But when we believe we will be accepted by our Savior, we can accept some hardships ourselves.  Because He accepts us today, tomorrow, forever.  That acceptance is what can change this heart of stone into something beautiful.

I believed for a long time that I just had to “look good” for God.  That’s not what He wants.  He wants me to come, be seen, and known for exactly who I am, a sinner-then I can leave accepted, loved, cherished, whole. And this isn’t just for me, but for my neighbor too.

I don’t have this all figured out, but I know the times I resist accepting help, accepting truth, accepting love, accepting grace, or accepting joy I make my life harder.  It’s like going against the current.  It’s hard to withstand.  Until you lose your grip and you’re sure you’ll drown, but all of the sudden those truths pull you up and you accept them.

Then they move into your heart, and they start to come out of you.

He’ll do that- He will accept you, all your faults, failures, all the good things you think you’ve done.  He accepts it all.

Is there a piece of your past that you cannot accept?  It will not kill you.  Freedom comes from being freed from something.

Is there a part of yourself you distain?  Trust me, it’s the part that can makes you real to others.

Is there a part of your family that hurts too bad?   Accepting it can make it hurt less, because then you can move beyond yourself and into love.

Acceptance doesn’t mean condoning.   Acceptance means once we do, we can ask for help.  We can move.  We are no longer stuck.  We can use our resources.  But there are very few resources to the one who “has it all together.”

Don’t be the one who “has it all together” its a lonely place to be.  Real matters.  Real is the best way.

You are accepted.  Live out of that truth.

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You are not alone

My husband’s favorite band, Emery, released an album called “You were never alone.”  My husband got a poster with this album cover on it and I can remember the very day I opened it those words washed over me.

You were never alone.  Alone.

Yuck.  I hate that word and honestly avoid it most days.  However, I’m on a new journey of inviting others in.  Like letting a handful of ladies in to read my blog before I post it.  Because I know for sure I cannot do this alone.

You know those people in your life you can ask anything of and they’ll help you.  The ones you fight for and the ones that fight for you.  The people who make you feel better after you are around them.  They challenge you, but also love you.  Those are the people we need to let speak over us.

God created us to be together, in unity.  Sin broke that, but Jesus restored it.  And He wants to continue to restore that unity through us.  For us to be a part of His restoration.

I’m pretty selfish, especially as a mom.  I feel like my time is already so split that I withhold from friends sometimes because I’m not sure I’ll have the energy to be with them.  Anyone else?

Yesterday, I’m cleaning for our connect group buzzing around picking up toys and wiping down tables.  My first reaction is to immediately think this is too hard.  Cleaning is a tough job.  Taking care of my kids is enough to do.  Which most days it is.  But when Wednesdays roll around, it’s time to spread myself and allow God to use me.  A clean house makes my husband more at ease.  I can love on people instead of thinking about the things I should have gotten done.  So I clean.  Hopefully, next week I’ll remind myself of this.

See it takes work to be with people.  But that joy at the end of the night when we are all sitting around eating dessert and laughing and listening to each others stories is enough.  That’s what I clean for.  To be heard.  To be seen.  To be known by a group of college age students that mean so much to us.

Who are you letting in today?

I was reading through Thomas Merton “No Man is an Island” and I love this quote he gives by John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”  We need each other.  So we can say to ourselves and others “You were never alone.”