Sunday, September 25, 2016

Recent Inspirations...

It’s a crazy world out there. Amongst the materialism and the temptations of the flesh, these things have been the more recent fuel that kept alive my passions for God, marriage, motherhood and philanthropy…

“And the truth is, romance can be nice, but it does not compare with a truly committed and loving lifelong marriage with the man you love.” –Missy Robertson, Ducky Dynasty (season eight, episode one)
I <3 romance, which does not come easy for Ryan, but very true. I would rather have a romance-free marriage to Ryan than an abundance of romance with anybody else.

I am frequently amazed by how often God plants something in front of me again and again. I have so many examples, but recently it’s been all about not being afraid of life. Specifically, life with small children.
I love these people so much it is crazy. Once in a while though, I find myself holding them at arm’s distance because it is so terrifying to love someone so much, isn’t it? Because sometimes you say “I love you” and they say “I love you a couple bit too… but I just love Daddy more.” Because sometimes they fall off of something and get hurt, or some kid at the park says “I don’t want you to play with me,” and it makes your chest ache three times more than whatever they just felt. Because sometimes you hear a horror story about a child and something tragic, and you can’t help but think What if that was us?
I have a lot of anxiety and I am particularly terrified of losing one of my children. For some reason I was getting this verse—2 Timothy 1:7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.—and I wasn’t feeling particularly antsy so it seemed a little odd. It turned out to be prep work because a friend told me about a horrific, tragic accident that happened to her friend’s two-year-old and I couldn’t sleep for hours, worrying and fretting over all the dangers lurking out there for our children. I woke up the next morning and read that verse again, then this post.
I’ll probably always be a little bit scared. It’s in my nature, and I think it’s pretty normal for parents to hear these stories and get a little worried. It does help, though, to remember that God has been there and done that. He gets where I am coming from. He sends me verses to get me through it. 

The song My Heart Sings by Sparrows Rising (Ryan’s cousin is one of the singers!) fitting in perfectly with my new blessing-counting lifestyle. I decided to count out 1,000 blessings right before I started reading Ann Voskamp’s book. I had reached 1,000 after about a month and felt so good I just kept doing it. I’ve shared quite a few of them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram recently.  I write them in my journal each night and I’ve been trying to remember to pray up thanks for each of them as I think of them. It has just completely altered my perception of the world around me and, yeah, my heart sings.

The book Undone by Michele Cushatt. It’s about a few different things, but I guess specifically the big three are motherhood, adoption, and cancer. There were a million great quotes, some of which I’ve been/will be sharing on social media too, but two of my favorites, both referring to cancer: “In my fear of death, I almost missed life.”  and “I don’t think handholding ever felt as good as it did that day. His hand swallowed my smaller one in its strength. However lost I’d felt before he showed up, I found myself in his grasp. I knew he had me. Regardless of what the next days and weeks of recovery looked like, he wouldn’t let me go. I gripped his hand like the human lifeline it was.”

I recently got my Overdrive account set up on Ryan’s Kindle so I’ve been borrowing library books on it, which is of course wonderful at night. I borrowed Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which isn’t 100% appropriate but which I honestly loved. Any ways, it included the novella Larger Than Life in the back which contained this gem: “There is a reason people say being a mother is the hardest job in the world: You do not sleep and you do not get vacation time. You do not leave your work on your desk at the end of the day. Your briefcase is your heart, and you are rifling through it constantly. Your office is as wide as the world and your punch card is measured not in hours but in a lifetime.”
Those last two sentences, right?
I’ve always heard people say that marriage is hard work and the honest truth is that it has never been work for me, not for one single day. Maybe I’ve been extremely blessed or maybe we just aren’t there yet, I don’t know, but it’s always come pretty naturally for me. I think I was just meant to be Ryan’s wife and what he needs from me happens to already be written in my heart.
Motherhood though? Now THAT is work. Yikes. Little kids do not have respectful and equalizing relationships with you like adults do! It seems to me that it gets a little harder with each baby you have because now you’re pulled in yet another direction and you’re sometimes forced to make really hard decisions. I guess I kind of pictured that we would just all play together sweetly all day, and then they’d go play sweetly together if I needed to get something done. I guess in my dreams, my house cleaned itself and dinner cooked itself. Just when I feel like I cannot take any more though, something happens and my heart gets softened all over again because they are my heart, my life.

“I will give myself to the work, to the season, and I will—I can only—surrender myself to the Lord and ask for his grace as I learn to parent in a good way.” –Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae
I like the whole thing my favorite: as I learn to parent in good way, not as I parent in a good way. <3

This passage from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niquist, reminding me that introvert parents (like us) might need to pretend to be not-so-introverted once in a while, for the sake of extrovert kids: “I always wanted a home filled with people. Our home growing up was quite private. My dad worked long hours at our church, and my mom is an introvert, and those two dynamics created a home that was quiet, private, safe. It was exactly right for my family, but at the same time, I longed for a little loud. I wanted a full table, glasses clinking, laughter bubbling up over the music. I wanted cars parked all the way down the street, and people who came in without knocking, so familiar with our home that they mixed their own drinks and knew where to put the dishes after drying them.”

Micha Boyett’s letter in Mother Letters. Just the whole letter is beautiful but my three favorite pieces:
-“Grace. Such a word for such an act. It’s love, yes. But it’s love that offers free kindness, freedom, acceptance. Jesus gives me that kind of reality. It’s not an act that allows me free rein to ruin myself. It’s an act that draws me in with loving-kindness, that sets me up to use my gifts and my heart and offer to the world what’s good that’s already been placed in my hands.”
-“Motherhood is not a series of situations that have a wrong and right answer. It is a relationship.”
-“God has given you to your child and your child to you. And ever gift you own combined with the strength of God’s Spirit is enough to do this beautifully.”
Seriously, you have got to read the letter.

“Let your past rejection experiences work for you instead of against you by allowing them to help you sense the possible pain behind other people’s reactions.” Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
I really like this. I have thought a lot a lot about this concept over the past two or three years and how things we sometimes perceive as a horrible part of life actually end up being a gift. They hurt in the moment, but then you’re through it and you’re somehow stronger AND more sensitive, and far more equipped to help someone else through a similar pain. I really like that.

Really love this blog postSome of the things I can do to enjoy five minutes of happiness, beyond what she just listed: Read a story or play hide-and-seek with my kiddos, journal, flip through a family photo album, make a cup of chai tea. What can you do to bring yourself happiness in just five minutes?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for your comments! I always read them, don't always have time to answer quickly. Sorry about that!