WDIDT: Got Excited #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?

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Everyone seems to talk about balance. Work life balance. Marriage and parenting balance. Selflessness versus selfishness balance.

It’s tiring.

The cultural conversation surrounding balance has frequently made me a crazy person.

The idea that having a balanced life, of being many things to many people, having it all – it is a cultural lie. One that shapes us.

A lie that keeps us from joy.

I’m trying to fight that lie in my own life. I’m trying to be present in the every day moments and experience them mind, heart, soul and strength as they are meant to be experienced.

That means today I got EXCITED!

At this juncture in my life there are a handful of exciting opportunities being presented to me…partnering with my city in city government, serving in my job as a visionary, championing growth and possibility in my community…it is all SO EXCITING!

In the past I would have been very meticulous and made lists of pros and cons for all these things. Really spent a lot of time mapping out possible future paths for each one. I would have tried to figure out how to say yes to each and every one just so I wouldn’t miss out on a good thing.

I would have sacrificed my right now reality for an undefined future ideal.

Now, now I find joy in the opportunity. I walk patiently and slowly into each one. I say yes with enthusiasm when it makes sense and no without guilt when it isn’t the right fit.

Let us find JOY in the daily opportunities!

What made you excited today?

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WDIDT: Class #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?

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Today I taught.

I gathered in a classroom with 20ish other moms of varying ages and stages, we opened up our study books about the sacred text of John and I taught.

I do this every week in the fall.  I spend days and hours reading supporting texts and mulling over what it is we should learn together.

I enjoy it. It is one of the things I do in life that just comes out of me without much work. As much as it is a pouring out of time and energy and words it is also a filling up of my own soul.

But here is why it really matters to me.

Often as moms we sell ourselves short. We fight the battle of “enough”. Our perspective is tainted by our own fears and worries. And many times, when opportunity presents it self, we say no. No, I am not enough.

We shouldn’t do that. I shouldn’t do that.

As moms, as women, let’s acknowledge our yes moments. The ones where we say yes to something not out of guilt or peer pressure but JUST BECAUSE our yes will make our soul sing…these are GOOD moments.

These moments are each of us stepping into a part of our true selves. The part that was created to mom but was also created to teach, to read, to bake, to create, to play.

Sure we do the laundry and dishes and car pool and homework. Some of us even pile on work, career, philanthropy.

But we also ARE! We are gifted, we have passions, we are life in our community. Our JUST BECAUSE yes might be the best yes we say all day…

What did you say YES to today that made your soul sing?

Saturday with 7

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Saturday’s…in America the day of rest before the day of rest. Saturday’s were made for brunch, sleeping in and casually catching up.

Until there are 7 of you. Then Saturday’s become about baseball, running errands, doing laundry and surviving.

Surviving the sibling squabbles that started before 8am, the to-do list that seems longer than the day and the internal voices telling you that everyone is having more fun than you are.

Until you reclaim it.

Reclaiming Saturday looks like running errands with one of the kids and making it quality time.

Reclaiming Saturday looks like sitting at the baseball field and calling it community.

Reclaiming Saturday looks like having friends over and making the most of every minute.

Reclaiming Saturday with Seven looks like counting your blessings (even if those blessings are crying constantly, leaving messes and following you around with non-stop chatter).

We only get to do today once, we might as well make it count, even if it IS Saturday.

Liking the “hard kids”

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Photo by Life & Peace Photography

To say we have been in a season of hard kids would be an understatement. Some day I hope my kids look back and see how much we loved them even when it was hard.

Yet, just because I am able to love them does not mean I am able to like them.

Hear me clearly, I LOVE my kids. I have an unconditional love for these little humans that live in this house. I do hard things with them and for them and don’t look back.

But just because I sacrifice and do hard things, doesn’t mean I always like it or that my heart is always in the right place. Sometimes I am just doing the right thing to do the right thing. It is matter of the will, not a matter of the heart.

In this very hard season it has not been enough to just do the right thing. A bit of tenderness was starting to fade when I looked at my kids and I desperately wanted to get it back.

I’ve been re-reading some underlined quotes from Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts and it has started to call me back into hope…

“I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”
Ann Voskamp

So I started a new practice, a new discipline.

Every day I am writing down 1 thing I enjoyed about each child that day.

This sounds relatively simple. Until of course you have a hard child, a hard day, haven’t had enough sleep, enough nutrition or you just can’t get your heart in the right place.

These moments I am trying to recall, to remember, aren’t grand but they are starting to make my heart more tender towards my kids, especially the hard ones.

I’m appreciating moments like a child angrily going the their room but choosing not to slam the door. A child quitting a game with their sibling instead of making it into a physical altercation. A child choosing to join us at dinner even if they were grumpy the whole time.

It isn’t a glorious discipline but perhaps by seeing a little joy in the dark places all our hearts will be changed.

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?”
Ann Voskamp

(#31Days) Those Days

  
Everything just went wrong. No amount of planning, preparation or thinking ahead could have made it better. Some times we just have “those days”.

With everything else happening in our life I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it. It was one of those days where I more or less stayed home and functioned hoping tomorrow would be better.

After having one of “those days” I was thinking about that lovely group of women who have taken the risk and been studying Romans together. We studied the end of chapter 7 where Paul reminds us that we are still human and life still happens.

There was a bit of a lively conversation (which is always so good for my soul) about what it means that Christ has died and risen and we are saved. That his salvation was a one time act, a once and for all done deal.

Sometimes I forget that.

Who yielded His life our redemption to win

The day to day of life can feel like a hard fought battle. To get all 5 of us up and ready and out the door by 8:20am and not forget homework, lunch or shoes, well, let’s just say I believe in miracles!

Perhaps it is that hard relational thing you are trying to work out with a friend.

Maybe it is the internal battle of pride or failure or fear we are fighting with ourselves.

Who yielded His life our redemption to win

Our struggle is real because our humanity is real but it isn’t the end of the story. We have been fought for and won. We have been REDEEMED. We’ve been promised purer and higher and greater.

Wherever we find ourselves, even in the midst of “those days”, we need to remember that we are recipients of grace. Since we are recipeints of grace there is always a reason to rejoice. Yes, even on “those days”.

#Write31Days

To God Be the Glory
Franny Crosby

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

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Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

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Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.

(#31Days) To Do

  

The to do list. We all have one. Even my most ADD friends have a list of things they would like to do!

Having a “to do” list is what helps me a lot of times. Many times I am the only adult juggling 4 kids and I have to think ahead about how we all are fed and clothed just to get through the day, enter the to do list.

Some days though, the to do list feels more like an unkind master and less like a helpful guide. I feel controlled and weighed down by what needs to be done. Trapped.

Through you my souls says I am free

What does your to do list say to you? Does it shout freedom or does it scream confinement? Does it reflect what you believe or what the world believes?

I’ve been wrestling with this a lot. This month as I consider the state of my soul and the many hard things we hear and say, I am convicted that my to do list is not freedom but execution. It may be slowly shaping my soul in ways I was entirely unaware of.

If my soul was truly reflecting the freedom I declare to know what would I do differently? Who would I approach that currently seems unaproachable? What risk would I take that seems impossible? What would my to do list look like?

Sure we all have things we need to take care of, our humanity requires it of us, but when our to do list begins to define who we are, the state of our souls, something has been lost.

I’m not one to get too celebratory when I’m singing but maybe if I believed the depth and breadth of the words coming out of my mouth, if they were changing the very state of my soul, perhaps the whole of me would change?

#Write31Days

I Am Free
Newsboys

Through You the blind will see
Through You the mute will sing
Through You the dead will rise
Through You all hearts will praise
Through You the darkness flees
Through You my heart screams I am free, I am free

Chorus
I am free to run (echo)
I am free to dance (echo)
I am free to live for You (echo)
I am free (echo), I am free (echo)

Through you the kingdom comes
Through you the battle’s won
Through you I’m not afraid
Through you the price was paid
Through you there’s victory
Through you my souls says I am free

Categories Joy

(#31Days) My Best Thought

  

Being a parent can be rough. Being human can be rough. Parenting another human being, well you get the idea.

Thou be my best thought, By day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

There is a part of me that I don’t quite understand. When I’m around adult human beings I have very little problem with my thoughts, feelings or words. Self control and being slow to speak and quick to listen come very naturally.

Around the 4 small non-adult humans in my house, this is not the case, I’m a live wire.

My husband will testify to my generally good nature, my friends will tell you I try hard to be kind and thoughtful and any employers would be shocked to see me when I “lose it” with my kids.

Perhaps it is that I am more guarded with adults. I know they have the ability to reason and also the ability to see through any junk I might try and pull. Maybe my more introverted self comes out around other adults and I don’t say as much so I don’t have to sift through my thoughts so much.

Does this mean I am both the best and worst version of myself around my kids? The best part being that I am totally uninhibitied, the worst part being that I don’t filter my thoughts and actions?

This is a hard pill to swallow on the parenting path, I’m not exactly thrilled to be telling you these things.

Yet,

Thou be my best thought, By day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

It seems that with humans of all varieties, adults and kids, I could use a heart check.

If my vision is Jesus and he is also my best thought, my best actions should follow. If my best actions don’t follow in any circumstance perhaps my vision needs restored.

It would be logical then to think that this hymn applies to me more than I ever thought.

This hymn isn’t one of pride declaring that indeed, God is at the forefront all the time for this author. No, this is a hymn of humility. Of begging, of admission. A hymn that declares please, Lord Jesus, be my vision.

Changing our vision changes everything.

Thou be my best thought, By day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

That phrase “thy presence my light” could have a two-fold interpretation, and it brings me to my knees.

First, the vision of Salvation and Grace and Redemption lights our way. It is what gives us hope. It is what carries us from day to day. It is what ushers us into eternity.

Second, when the vision is truly a part of who we are, we become the light. “Thy presence my light” is a declaration that the Joy and Love and Celebration coming from my being is not mine but a reflection of the Light himslef. It is the small bit of grace I am charged with giving to the world.

Parenting is still hard and yet, I sing with the author these words. May they usher in a more humble, more glorious version of Jesus to my chidlren.

#Write31Days

Be Thou My Vision
Dallan Forgaill

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou be my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.


High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Categories Joy