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.”