Sunday, August 18, 2013

coming to terms

In the last year I've come to see and accept that I have a problem. A problem that never surfaced prior to having children, one that I never thought I would struggle with. But I'm in the trenches of it, it suffocates me and I'm on a quest to dig myself out of this horrid pit.

It may seem like nothing, but this plague in my heart, it's yelling. As we've added more children and more responsibilities and more more more of life, I've found that I am spinning out of control at times, and it is in those times that the anger comes out. It spills out in rage-face, finger shaking, counter pounding raised voice, and it is so ugly. It has made Shiloh cry more than once, she has said through her tears ,"I don't like you right now." It has caused Asher (who is the unfortunate target of most of this uncivil behavior) to cower if I walk briskly toward him. I hate it, oh I hate it so much and I know that the best way to overcome a weakness is to face it, to confess it and put it on display and ask for prayer and accountability. I am done with it, I am done with living every day with this tension bubbling beneath the surface, waiting for one of my children to make a bad choice or make a mess or treat each other cruelly so that I can return their cruelty with explosive voice.

So here it is. I've put it out there in confession, in humility I bow low and ask for prayers, for advice, but also that if you struggle as I do, that you confront it with me, that we over come together. I have been reading and applying new lessons I've learned from The Orange Rhino, committing to memory verses that speak gentleness into my heart. I tried challenging myself not to yell, I got to 31 days before something trivial opened the flood gates again and since then I have been back sliding farther and thus I am here, opening myself up to your judgments, your empathy, perhaps your condescension. I'm okay with that. In the end, I want to look back and know that I let my real self be known, that I wasn't trying to create a mask, a series of perfectly cropped IG photos or carefully written status updates to make others feel inferior or even just to build myself up.
,br> My hope is that in exposing the struggles, I will have more triumph to celebrate, and that I can erase the memory of an angry mommy from the hearts of my dear children. They are sweet people, I hope to help them stay that way.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

poured out

I write often about motherhood. Sometimes I fear that I obsess, that I wallow in its intricacies. But something new is paving its way, adding to the noise, silencing some of it even as I come to a new conclusion. I find myself ever asking where the course of my life is headed. What will I be remembered for? What do I WANT to be remembered for?

So many books and clips and conversations, messages and photos are leading me down a path that I think intentional motherhood has paved. See when you make it your life's work to pour yourself out for you spouse, your kids, to WANT to do it, to find in it great joy, you start to see the beauty of living life empty. The more I move my selfish impulses and ambitions out of the way, the more of my real self I am finding. I like this self, I am happiest when I am allowing her to take control instead of that self whom always wants more.

I have always questioned why Christian culture as a whole sometimes hasn't seemed much different than the good people of the world who don't care for God. I know some humble, serving people who spend their lives helping others for no other reason than that it feels right. For a long time I struggled with this idea that the goal of the faith is, yes, to know God, but really it's to reel others in. Well guess what? People don't want our God. They don't want a club where we tell them they have to believe in something intangible or they're burning for eternity. And if they do find that glimmer of truth of God, choosing to believe, then they better behave or out they go. No more "Mr. Nice Guy" from us, get it together or get berated until you change or leave. And THEN, then if they stay and manage to conform? Then they BELONG. I heard these words from Jen Hatmaker recently and OH how they struck a chord. Believe...Behave...Belong.

But wait. Was this the way, the way of Jesus? When he called the sons of Zebedee did he ask for their belief? NO! My heart leapt as I realized the great truth about Jesus. People believed because in him they found a place where they belonged. They were loved, accepted and gently taught as they were...flawed, uneducated, selfish. People like them believed because Jesus gave them a safe place to learn how to. They belonged first.

I am certain my thoughts are mixed, jumbled, hardly discernible at this point, but thank you for reading this far. What I'm getting at here is the true mission we might just be called to do, is to really, actually be like Jesus. Leave a comfortable life to have nowhere to lay our heads, be so different that even our skeptics praise us for our works of mercy. Pour out. Pour out. BE the least of these. Maybe it starts in small ways. Maybe we say yes when asked to serve some one. Maybe we jump at the chance to bring meals to a family in need. Maybe in each tiny step He will open our hearts to pour more and more and more. He will prepare us to move ourselves aside for his works. He will show us who we really are as we strip bare the selfishness and learn to truly think of others more.

In all the swirling of my thoughts and the achings of my heart one thing is loud and certain:

"We don't get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated. We're not allowed to neglect the oppressed because we have reservations about their discernment. We cannot deny love because it might be despised or misunderstood...doing nothing is a blatant sin of omission. Turning a blind eye to the bottom on the grounds of 'unworthiness' is the antithesis to Jesus' entire mission." (Jen Hatmaker, "Interrupted")

So this is my new goal, my new direction. How can I make God tangible, how can live so that others see his reality IN me? How can my one small, seemingly insignificant life, have significance? How i live so that people know they already belong? I have only a small handful of ideas and promptings and leadings for how to change and scrape out my fear and selfish bits. I know it will take time. I know that it is what is being asked of my one wild and precious life.