Monday, February 29, 2016

Growing up

(1980s with my mom)

As women we still find it hard to grow up. We want our moms to be the moms of our childhood. To forgive, not show their hurt feelings, hold us and love us. But do we let our moms be human? Do we let them be women? This is such a challenging relationship for most, a struggle and a joy tangled together. We want our moms to not have feelings, to not ask anything of us and to think we are the best. I promise your mom does think all those things. But, she is human, she is also a women and she has emotions; they range every spectrum just as yours do. She has expectations, she gets her feelings hurt and she can't turn off her desire and need to protect you. As we grow from girls to women and we ask our moms to allow us this freedom we have to give them the freedom to grow from a mom into a woman.

As I got married I pushed away to form a new family with my husband. But, I hurt my mom in many ways and I didn't communicate well. She gracefully walked in hurt for many years. Consistently praying over our relationship, pursuing me, listening to me and waiting. Waiting for me to hear her hurt, waiting for me to see her deep love and waiting for me to know the strength of a woman that comes from a little girl who was well loved, loudly cheered for and boldly released to God.

As I became a mother I saw so many ways my mom celebrated me and sacrificed for me. I realized with embarrassment how I will never fully grow up in my mom's eyes. My mom will be one of the few that knows fully how amazing I was created and how sinful I am all at once. Despite that combination she will always be the one cheering the loudest or crying the hardest over my accomplishments and hurt.

Growth hurts. Staying the same does too. Giving up on relationship feels easy when they are difficult. When there is hurt or loss of expectation or misunderstanding. Sometimes relationships need to be finished and sometimes they need to stand still. I stood still with my mom for awhile, both of us  waiting on each other in silence. When the dialogue began there were hurt feelings to wash off and tears to wade through. What came after was a clearer understanding that the relationship was not what defined us but, the women God created us to be and how we effect each other.

That truth survives far past our mother's lives or the hurt we have encountered from other women. God created His daughters to love well, fight for reconciliation and to hold up the truth that we were created as His image bearers. I'm grateful for my mother's continuing to pursue me, I am thankful for her slowly showing me that if  I let her be more than my mom in my eyes, there is a wealth of knowledge and truth I can learn from.

So, on the day my only daughter turns four; during a week when I have been screamed at and pushed away. I am celebrating the relationship I had with my mother and praying for the relationship with my daughter. I am praying that it is one of deep vulnerability and value in her life. That is has truth and love at it's root and that God gives me grace to forgive the screaming and patience to love her well, to teach her and  to boldly release her to God as my mom did for me.




Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sing your song



“I will sing with the voice that He’s placed in my soul


So the world will hear what He was done


We must sing if our hearts have been changed by our God


Let the whole world know that he has come


Come and sing with the angels to the king


Come and bring Him your song”


-Jeremy Quillo


This song has been bouncing around in my head for a while. The idea of bringing Him my song has made me question: What is my song? I spend time thinking about what I am not, how I do not measure up or what I should be. God has given us each a purpose, we each reflect His beauty and glory to the world and we should build on the areas where we do this well. We should use them with a kingdom focus for a purpose: to “let the whole world know He has come”. We have different roles but I think the song we should sing, the gifts we should use are strengths that carry over throughout all those roles.

My biggest role right now is being a mother and it is very hard for me. I am much more aware of my own sin than I once was  and believe God is using my kids as refining tools in my life. But, I have to walk in the truth and rest in the beauty that I am someone He is refining. I am someone who He has given joy to show, love to give and a song to sing!




So, I will sing loudly to my kids proclaiming the truth:
I will snuggle and read books for hours, I will paint your fingers and toes all different colors in your version of a “rainbow”. I will let you dig up my yard and cover yourselves in mud and write on me in sidewalk chalk. I will  forgetfully lick Orajel off my fingers and suffer the numb mouth with you. I will rock you and sing to you and sleep sitting up. I will not sleep in your bed all night long but you can cuddle in mine all morning. I do not buy everything organic but I care deeply about how much sugar you eat, or what color vegetables you are eating, or how many crackers you consume in a day. I may not bake bread from scratch, or have chickens running around our backyard but we can plant an herb garden and watch it grow! I am not a runner, I will not run a half marathon, I will not run 3 miles a day, I will not replace my running shoes every six months but I will race you down the side walk, I will chase you around the back yard until we can’t stop laughing and we can’t breath.

And I will sing loudly to all you moms out there who need to hear it too:
I am the mom who rolls around on the floor while my kids tackle me, I am the mom who says "I love you" a million times a day, I am the mom who takes the slobbery, snotty kisses because after all they are still kisses. I am not the mom who wears heels to the grocery but I am the mom who takes 2 walks a day and plays chase in the back yard. I am not the mom who showers every day but I am the mom who runs through the hose. There are so many things I am not. There are so many things you aren’t. There are reasons why I need you in my life, to encourage me, motivate me and remind me pajama days are great.
We will never nurse as long as other moms we know, read as many books, sing as many songs. We will never cook the same definition of healthy meals. We will always define sleeping through the night differently or have different amounts of date nights. Our friends will come and go with seasons of fussy kids, sick kids or busy calendars. But you are the mother God gave your children. You are the wife God gave your husband. You aren’t meant to be like your neighbor, your best friend, your sister or your mother. You bring life and joy and rest and strength to your household.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Just Be.



I spend so much time trying to change things, trying to not feel something that really hurts or forgetting to settle into what is truly satisfying. I get distracted or I choose distraction. I don't allow myself the space to reconcile the emotion, to understand the emotion and to communicate the emotion clearly to myself or to others. I think I am not alone. Am I?

I am being challenged in this in many areas of life. Challenged by defining myself as "someone who is not sensitive"...but I am. Challenged in my desire to push away from conflict, to ignore feelings until they disappear, but they don't disappear. They alienate, they lie, they disguise themselves as other feelings and cloud my thinking, my reactions and my beliefs.

So I am asking myself "what if I settle in?". What if I settled into the hard season or the hurt feelings and explored them? What if I finally admitted  what reality was like? It would be ugly, it would be vulnerable. It would reveal some of the silly things I do not choose to get over and it would reveal some of the deep hurt I pretend I don't feel. It would reveal what my fears our, what stresses me out and what motivates me. It would show me more deeply who God created me to be and how sin twists truth in my heart and mind.

I don't want to settle into bitterness or self-protection. I think that is what happens if there is no exploration of our emotions. I want to settle into God and the life of today and what truth says to us. I want to let that truth change my future reactions and emotions.

This seems logical, the idea of understanding ones emotions. In reality, though, it is messy and painful and requires vulnerability. It requires a settling into God, into the mess as opposed to a pushing away from awkwardness and discomfort.






But, rest is found in truth. rest is found in authentic friendships, humility and honest interactions. To just be takes effort and work but it is work that brings with it great rest and great community and great knowledge of who I am in relation to God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Frozen


Are you ever paralyzed by fear, anxiety, indecision? I am often. Typically about silly things, but they never feel silly. EVERYTHING feels significant. These boots for instance...I needed a pair of functional boots: run errands in wet weather, play in the snow, keep my feet warm so I can keep up with life boots. However, the decision on what boots left me frozen. I couldn't make a decision. I wanted to be wise, I wanted them to solve multiple problems and I also wanted to like how they looked. Last night I found 3 pairs of boots and 1 pair of fleece boot socks sitting on the floor of my bedroom. Some had been there for 2 weeks! My daughter voted, my mom voted, my sister voted and my husband voted...enter silliness here! This morning I picked, I put them on and I walked outside in the snow to take out the trash. THERE, can't go back now! 

I realized as I stood in the snow in my new boots that fear and anxiety held me back for weeks from enjoying this new gift of boots. This fear of making the wrong choice creeps in often in my life. Should I fold laundry and put it away or work out? Should I cook dinner during nap times and re heat or later in the afternoon? Should I go to the library the day our books are due or a few days before? Should I have play dates every day this week or just two? How many times a week should we have people over for dinner? How many times is too much stress on kids to travel to see my family? Is the sugar in yogurt healthy for kids or should we avoid it? 

As I write this list I see the unimportant details of life that wage war on my heart and mind. I see the answers a little more clearly. I want things to be black and white. I want them to be wrong or right. I want a schedule, a routine and a task list that works every day or every week the same! It feels safe and I can be protected by routine. But, it imprisons me from experiencing much spontaneous joy in my kids idea to play freeze tag in the snow before breakfast! It holds me back from loving a friend who has had a hard day and needs to use my kids nap time to sit on my couch and cry and find community.

The truth I loose in these moments of indecision is that in Christ there is freedom to not be perfect. There is grace for mistakes and the ability to try again. There is a community of people to help me. But, if I don't ask for help, if I maintain the routine that protects me from mistakes and others than I am missing out on the joy God gives us in community, creation and life. If I refuse God's free gift of grace then I am missing out on Jesus and refusing to live a life changed by Him. Changed by truth!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Truth for the Trenches

“‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, you servants of the most high God, come out and come here.’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walked out of the fire. And all the princes and the captains and governors and the king’s counselors gathered together there and saw these men against who bodies the fire had no power. Not a hair of their heads was singed, nor were their clothes burned and there was no smell of fire upon them.” Daniel 3:26-27


We read this over breakfast by my 5 year olds choice. I thought it was an odd morning reading choice but then this passage spoke loudly to me. I started reading it loudly and as I read the excitement grew. God is powerful! I love that King Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to walk out of the fire. But that wasn’t enough, he also commanded them to come to him. He wanted to not just see but to smell and touch the clothes and the men who survived a fire no one else could.

I found myself thinking of things I have survived; seasons of hurt in marriage or difficulty in parenthood, depression and loss. I found myself visualizing walking around those “fires” that refined me and hearing God say “Curry, come out, it is time.” How joyful those words are when God calls us out of the fire. But when Nebuchadnezzar called them out of the fire he was in awe at their appearance. Ours just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is protected if we have Jesus. He is our hiding place even in the fire. So, when God calls us out we might be exhausted or hurt but we are also strengthened and have seen more of Him. “Not a hair of their heads was singed, nor were their clothes burned” This is going to be my chant in those times that defeat me, that bring me to my knees. I might feel like I’m suffocating but I am protected and I will walk out. So, if you are in the fire right now, take a deep breath. God is there with you and when the time has come for Him to call you out He will fully restore you.

I have started fresh on this blog with the feeling that we are in the trenches. We are living in this world but this world is hard. Lots of days we have to fight for joy, fight for obedience, fight for rest. Following Jesus isn’t easy, it requires discipline and running to Him for strength. I forget this a lot and try to muster my own strength in perfection and approval. I need scripture on my walls and hymns sung throughout the day. I need truth screamed at me from every side or I get distracted. Truth gets lost in piles of laundry, whiny kids, full spectrum emotions, lack of time and task lists. So for me this is a battle cry, sung during the hardest times and sung during the joyful ones; with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. Truth for me, truth for you, truth for the trenches so we can fight well, love deeply and worship in the midst!

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