Being Girls (31 Days #18)

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She’ll be 10 soon.

I remember this age she’s at so incredibly clearly — that fourth grade year when everything shifts suddenly and it becomes the moment in time when you remember everything: the cliques, the naivety, the budding interest in boys, the really tough homework and the teachers who really challenge you.

It’s an incredibly fun but also difficult age (or at least, it was for me). It was sort of like toddlerhood on steroids — “Help me! I don’t want your help!”

I’ve been extra sensitive to her since this year started. Praying I can teach her to guard her heart because from this point forward, her heart is going to need guarding. Life starts to happen — really happen. And it’s supposed to — friendships change and you change and everything just changes! and it’s simultaneously awesome and awful in that “Help me! I don’t want your help!” way.

And while all that’s happening, Mama is at home being tired and lazy and grumpy.

(Sigh.)

The boys were away so the two of us went out to dinner — just us girls. There was no one in this room but we still grabbed a table in the corner so we could be tucked away. And she brought her diary and turquoise pen and started asking me to list three jobs and three cities and three cars and I knew…I knew exactly what she was doing.

Because I remember this age she’s at so incredibly clearly.

The way she played was a little different than I remember — maybe there are West Coast/East Coast versions. So when she declared I was married to someone else’s dad with 10 kids living in a shack in Houston, Texas — I took every opportunity to teach her the right way to play.

MASH

And we spent the next hour drawing boxes and lines and X’ing out the answers we hoped to keep and she would laugh this laugh filled with evil glee every time she circled something I was unhappy about.

And it was just so. much. fun. Me and her — being girls and laughing at being married to HIM because he’s so gross and picks his nose. I overplayed my disgust at having eight kids and being stuck with an old Buick. And then she asked for silly stories from my childhood and she loved it all just so very much.

(Especially when I told her about accidentally peeing my pants at church in the second grade.)

Being with her tonight — being her mom in a being way and not a doing way — made me re-realize who she is. How innocent and tender-hearted and awesome she is to hang out with.

And it also made me realize I can do motherhood all day long, but what matters most to her is being mom. Being nurturing and tuned in and guiding and sharing — not from a heart of control, but from a heart of grace. And from the heart of a girl. A girl who remembers this age she’s at so incredibly clearly.

I just hope I remember her at this age she’s at so incredibly clearly.

Being Lazy (31 Days #17)

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At 1:45 this afternoon I put my little guy down for a much-needed nap.

And then at 2 o’clock, I brought my fresh cup of coffee into the living room (not my desk) along with the almonds, Cheez-It’s and the remote control. And I curled up in the chair — feet under me, fuzzy blanket comforting me — for two and a half hours watching mindless, ridiculous television.

And you know what? It was The Most Perfect Afternoon.

When October 1 came, it meant hitting the ground running, 65 miles per hour on the treadmill, and I haven’t stopped since. I’ve launched a new Thing with a friend, started this 31 days of writing IN A ROW, traveled seven hours and back to Hilton Head for a weekend with my brother. I’ve also worked, exercised, wife’d, mom’d, housekeep’d.

(Except, hahahahaha on the last one.)

All of this stuff? It’s AWESOME and amazing and wonderful and God-ordained stuff.

(Except, hahahahaha on the last one.)

But it’s only the 17th, and the last of the month is just as crazy as the first. It’s just this season — I can handle it for a season. Right??

I don’t say all this to brag on how busy I am — what I’ve had on my plate is nothing compared to a lot of people. (And honestly, I take no pride in my To Do list.) (Not a lick.) It’s just that this month has been crazy-busy with not just being, but doing.

(And the only reason I haven’t lost my sanity or my salvation yet is because I’ve made time to BE first.)

But today? Today my being included giving myself permission to BE lazy and take a couple of hours off from accomplishing a thing.

So when the little guy woke up, and it was time to pick up the girl, and then time to make dinner and do baths and homework and a couple of work items I overlooked during my lazy time — jumping back into the madness was a little bit easier. My mind and my body and (most importantly) my emotions were rested and chill and not falling apart at the seams.

And it was gooooooood.

Being Tired (31 Days #16)

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I’m a wee bit tired, and a wee bit grumpy. And when I say a wee bit, I might mean a lot.

It’s just one of those seasons where everything is happening all at once, and my energies are depleting and it’s starting to feel fruitless — all of it. The effort and the time and the energy being poured in…to everything, really…is starting to feel pointless.

The recent days have felt like one big WHY. BOTHER.

I despise being in this place — this place where it’s so easy to cave into negativity and frustration; where it’s so convenient to wash my hands of it all and walk away. I hate it because it’s the antithesis of who I want to be, and yet when I’m in the middle of this place, it feels so stinkin’ good to be here. Justifying my frustration always feels good on the surface.

Just. so. good.

But then the sun comes out and it’s tomorrow and the fact I’ve wasted time in the negativity pit is even more frustrating.

I feel stuck in a lose-lose tug-of-war, and it can just suck, if I’m perfectly honest.

And maybe that’s the point.

Maybe this pursuit of being isn’t just a pursuit of contentment and stillness and knowing God. Maybe this pursuit of being is also a pursuit of knowing myself more deeply in light of knowing who He is. Maybe it’s a pursuit of being authentic and admitting I’m not yet who I want to be; and maybe that requires I throw grace around like confetti and force myself to dance in it, even if I don’t feel like it. (tweet)

I can’t leave out this part of being — the acknowledgement that being is a process. That the journey is just as much the call as the call itself, and some days it will be harder than others and that no day will be perfect. (tweet)

No, every day won’t be perfect, but it needs to be present. Present in the moment, being honest with God and with myself. And being present IN God, relying on His strength when I’m tired and frustrated and shouting WHY. BOTHER. from the top of my lungs.

And being present enough to know that sometimes, if you’re a wee bit tired and a wee bit grumpy, you need to just withdraw, sink in and BE STILL for just a few stolen minutes.

Being Her (31 Days #15)

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She was disappointed in my response, I know she was.

I’m not sure what disappointed her more — my impatience, my snarkiness or my selfishness. It was one of Those days — the kind where you wake up just wrong and nothing gets set right. Running from one thing to another with no time to pause. (Correct that — not taking time to pause.) Not focusing on where I am, just focused on what’s coming next and where I’m going.

Running, right out of the gate. Without even a stretch to warm up. And as I run — breathless and labored, from one thing to the next — I leave a wake of disappointment behind me. For her and for me and for everyone else behind me.

She watched me all day, without intervening. And when I’d sit in my pool of shame after a burst of impatience or snarkiness or selfishness, she was there — just holding out her hand.

And she whispered softly,

This isn’t who you want to be. 

I know! I cried in response, completely exasperated.

Then choose not to be her.

I sigh an incredibly loud and obnoxious sigh. Is it really that easy? I mean, honestly, the pity party just feels good sometimes. Responding in a way that lets people know you’re unhappy can be gratifying, in that it-lasts-only-a-nanosecond-and-then-you-feel-worse kind of way.

You can choose not to be her. It’s up to you.

I sigh again, but it’s softer this time. I know all this — I know it in my head and my stubborn heart just refuses to catch up.

Or maybe, I don’t give it a chance to.

I review the events of the day and replace me in the flashbacks with her. I replay how each exchange would have gone with responses fueled by grace, love and selflessness. How her graciousness would have been a more memorable example to my kids. How her example would have reflected Christ, not a self-crazed lunatic.

When I see her in those replays, I know being like her is possible. Because she is me — just a better, more Christ-filled, still and content me. A me that has first made time to BE so that I can know HIM before I DO a single thing.

I’m not seeking perfection. I know that’s not possible, plausible or attainable. But I’m seeking better. (tweet) I’m seeking abundant, confident and content. I’m seeking a day filled with responses that happen after a pause and a remembrance of who HE is in order that I might demonstrate Christ to my husband, my kids, my co-workers, my friends.

You can choose to be her.

I sigh for the last time. It’s a soft exhale…not born of frustration but out of relaxation. It’s a sigh that comes from the release of control and the sinking down into the comfort of the Comforter…being still…and knowing.

Be Still (31 Days #14)

To read all the posts in the 31 Days series, click here.

Remember last Monday’s post about the new Thing I’m involved with, Be Still Be Free? And how we’re doing weekly podcasts discussing what it means to BE and not DO?

Well, last week’s podcast was the introduction, and this week is the first official BE weekly topic. And we have been just so humbled and blown away by your feedback! And we can’t wait to continue the discussion with you as we talk about this week’s topic: BE STILL.

Click on over to listen to the podcast, read the post and access free wallpapers, printables and more.

Here’s to being still, friends!