Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Patience produces friendship

I am finding that I am in a new season of cultivating relationships. Continuing to foster life-long friendships, repair some, let go of others and create new ones. I had expectations of living next door to my best friends as we raised kids together. Cooking out on weekends as family, girl weekends to the beach and our kids becoming best friends as well. As I find this to not be my reality I’m finding it hard to picture what place friendships hold in this season of life. I am surrounded by 3 little people all day who need and want my undivided attention making play dates difficult for me and more of a parenting exercise in kid socialization than coffee with a friend for me. I moved away from 30 year friendships and there is no replacement from that. I was pregnant or nursing for the past 5 years and that put challenges on friendships. Life happened and friends moved away or choices drew us apart.
But what I was so lovingly reminded of by my husband is that as great as having girlfriends is that is not the only definition of a friend. Having a sister, a mother and a husband who know me well are friendships that are life-long, share deep memories and will not change with distance!
As I watch my three children grow I have a deep desire to help them become friends. Not just siblings who share memories and gather on holidays but friends who share in daily life, speak truth to each other and learn to love each other well.
In our family afternoon rest time is serious, it happens every day, on vacation or at home and life is scheduled around it. The last month though I have found my oldest two asking to play together more during rest time. My answer was no for a long time. But slowly it has grown into having solitary rest time for the first hour and then allowing them to play together for the second hour. They are still in one of their bedrooms with the door closed and are aware that rules still apply. But, I have seen them grow in their desire to play together and their ability to interact well, work through problems and share ideas!
It has helped me grow patient in my own friendships realizing that time will produce long lasting friendships in this new place. It has encouraged me for how our family will continue to grow together. It is true in all things that through hardships growth does occur but things have to be broken away first and that hurts. IT is painful to die to our sin, change our expectations or talk about disagreements. But as we continue to choose each other, to learn and talk we will grow! I tend to want to force it, to find the formula to make it all happen but it happens naturally over time, I just have to be patient…and that is what is hard!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Finding Beauty in Beige

These walls need painting, they need new plaster and pictures hung. But, inside these walls hold echoing laughter, squeals of delight from 3 small kids. These walls have seen games of hide and seek, kids jumping out to surprise daddy’s homecoming, new siblings brought home, a family being formed. They have held secrets of tears, hurt feelings, loneliness and heartbreak. These walls are ours. They form our home. Our home to raise children, to love children, to fight for reconciliation with each other regularly. This home is not perfect. It is old, crumbling and in need of life. But, I am too. I need life and I am called to give life to others. To invite them into these walls. To sit around the table in the room with orange walls. To make pancakes and sing birthday songs in the room with beige walls. To bathe squishy new babies in the room with pink rose tile. It is not the color of the walls that makes the home.

 As my husband holds our almost 2 year old “eating his belly button” squeals of laughter bounce around the room. I hold my daughter tightly nuzzled against her face watching and laughing and I realize what has faded. The beige walls aren’t as depressing, the mismatched cabinets that need painting aren’t as urgent. The urgency is being present. Present not in how to renovate, present not in the latest decorating idea and present not in the color chart that regularly swarms in my head. But, present in the moments these walls hold. Present in the home these walls protect. To be present is to be undistracted. In a 100 year old home that we have a 30 year plan to renovate being distracted is easy. To play the “what if” game and the “then/when” game takes little effort. I easily dream, plan and design, forgetting what is in front of me now! I’m the only one in my family who cares what color covers the walls and by caring so much about that I miss out. There are kids making Lego movies that just want me to sit and listen. There is a baby laying in his bed waiting for me and asking me to climb in his crib and snuggle. There are stacks upon stacks of books to be read. There are quiet early mornings to celebrate the view from the windows. There are yards to be played in instead of gardens to be planned or plants to be pruned. My heart needs pruning. My priorities need weeding and my little girl’s fingernails are what I should be painting.

Decorating is just dressing something up but it doesn’t dress me up. It doesn’t make me a more intentional friend, a more serving wife, or a more present mom. I want to show people I have it all and I can do it all. Look at my style, my walls perfectly balanced between calming neutrals and happy colors. I can be organized and styled and modern. I am a good housekeeper; a good homemaker because this is a home anyone would want to be in. But, is the state of my heart reflected in my home? The few rooms with my perfect paint color remind me of a crazy nesting stage in pregnancy where my parents  spent way too much money to have our walls painted or the curtains which coordinate perfectly that I spent hours upon hours at night making just to be exhausted the next morning and never found the time to hem. They are meant for enjoyment but a lack of those aesthetics shouldn’t change the wonder that breathes life in these walls. Is the dust in corners because I am engaged with my kids or is it in the corners because I am doing too much and not focused? My heart can be a mess and when it is a mess there is order that needs to be arranged. How many texts have I sent that day? How many Instagrams have I posted? How many books still sit unread in a stack? The list of daily tasks, the piles of laundry, the toys not played with and the unopened playdough asks “How many shows have the kids watched? How many phone calls have you answered? How many times have you been task oriented?”

These walls hold what is of high priority. They hold creativity bursting to be let out, curiosity waiting to be ignited, and rooms that have been colored with life. So if the walls stay beige for 10 more years and the curtains get hemmed slowly over a year does it matter?

Just Say “No”

             I have been there…that place where you say ‘yes’ to everything because you are trying to just survive. You are trying t...