I’ve missed you, friends!
I’ve written so many blog posts in the recent months… in my head. I really have been writing quite a bit, but the content has been specifically for Our Daily Bread Ministries so I haven’t had the ability to post more here. (If you’re not familiar with Our Daily Bread, please do check it out as an accessible yet thought-provoking daily devotional. Whether you prefer to receive them in print or through social media, they’ve got options! My devotionals will begin appearing in March of 2017.) I do hope you’re following me on Instagram and Facebook, too; when the radio is silent on the blog, you can usually count on something on those sites (but I still don’t seem to be able to Tweet).
They say you can’t outgive God.
Last week’s LIFT event was the culmination of months of prayer, planning, and labor. Pam, Genny, and I have been collaborating since the spring of 2015 to help women address the tough issues of identity, purpose, and the challenges to living them fully. We have shared our thoughts and hopes for those who would attend over many hours and countless ounces of black coffee.
And then, last Thursday, it finally happened. The tickets were sold out. Chairs were packed tightly. Candles lit. Cupcakes baked. Flowers arranged. And our messages were shared.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to “share.”
I knew the tears would well up in my eyes. (Insert cursory feminine joke about mascara here.) And I haven’t known these women for very long, so tipping my emotional cards felt (extra) risky. We were discussing hypocrisy in the Christian life and how our social masks put an intimacy barrier between us and others. My story was relevant to the topic and even illustrated the point, all while pressing on tender parts of my heart.
It reduced her to tears.
My daughter was pulled aside, her motives and commitment questioned. Her concern for others and willingness to respect authority were impugned. Because her heart and deference are authentic and pure, it absolutely blindsided her.
Later that same day, a package arrived for her. The inauspicious cardboard mailer contained a t-shirt from a race in Portland, a gift from friends she made over the summer at a running camp in Washington state. (And an autographed photo of Emily Infield. Woot!) But the most priceless gift inside was the card. The words inscribed affirmed my child for her
They say a picture says 1000 words. But what if it doesn’t tell the true story?
The photo below was taken at my daughter’s last cross country meet. The girls’ varsity team huddled together in prayer. This is customary for their team and many teams. They often gather before the race to encourage each other and then to ask God’s help over the course of their race… for strength, safety, and perseverance. Things you’d expect, right?
But that’s not what was happening.
“Back to school” felt really different this fall. And I did not like it one bit.
My oldest daughter really took responsibility this year.
She looked up her schedule.
She organized her supply needs.
She drove herself to registration.
And to school.
And to practice.
All. By. Herself.
Before she left for school one morning last week, I began to load her water bottle with ice so it would still be cold by the time her 3:30pm cross-country practice rolled around. She’d already prepared her own breakfast and lunch; this was my small token effort to come alongside. But she interrupted me, saying that she wanted to do it… a particular way.
I felt rejected.
She didn’t seem to require anything from me. She just didn’t need me. While we’re raising our children to prepare them for launch into adulthood, I wanted her to need me (for more than just registrar fees, anyway).
For some of us, prayer comes naturally. For others, less so.
I’ve got friends who make it through the entire Bible every year, but find prayer laborious. I confess, it’s not the best side of my spiritual life, either. My daughter recently expressed the same struggle: she said she didn’t feel close to God, probably because she’d stopped praying because it didn’t feel easy or comfortable. She was waiting to “want to” before she did. Before anyone gasps with horror, let’s acknowledge that we all have different “bents” in the spiritual disciplines. After all, I’ve got friends who would happily pray for hours, but rebel at the thought of reading their Bibles.
Summer is hard. Wonderful, but hard.
I find myself frustrated by needing to accomplish the same things I do during the school year days (client deadlines, etc.), but wanting (and needing) to spend the time with the kids. Result: this productivity junkie is getting very little done.
After reading multiple articles on how crippling perfectionism is to productivity, I’ve had to coach myself to use the 20 minute gaps of time interspersed within my days because I won’t have two uninterrupted hours. Instead of waiting until I have “enough time” to do something well (read: perfectly), I need to do what I can with the time I have.
Nobody wants to be a doormat.
Who could aspire to such depths? Weak. Passive. Feeble. These aren’t desirable personality traits.
This summer I’m using IF:Equip as my Bible study (join in; it’s free!). We’re slowing inching our way through the Beatitudes with accompanying passages. This week is a deep-dive on Matthew 5:5.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (ESV)
Nobody has ever accused me of being meek. (Though StrengthsFinder does argue that I have a Harmony strength. What??!) I’m opinionated and vocal. Without a strong leader to counter-balance me, I’ll run away with any project, committee or meeting I’m part of. So, these words of Jesus usually cause me to discount myself from being blessed or inheriting the earth. I don’t even want to be meek. But Jesus says the meek are blessed.
So shouldn’t I want to be?