Category Archives: living

late bloomer

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I just had a serious “aha” moment. I finally get why the college years are valuable. It has little to do with grades. It has a LOT to do with experiencing new thoughts, new experiences, and new relationships.

How does this revelation relate to me personally?

Leaving the classes and dorm-life of college to get married, while not the WORST thing in the world (don’t worry honey, I would do it again 100x over), may have seriously stunted my development. And the worst, most terrifying, most exciting part is? This Erin’s coming-of-age period is happening right now…in the thick of my mommying-preschoolers time. What the?!?! Ask any of my friends. I cannot engage in conversation without wanting to REALLY engage. Conversations that start with “How was your week?” or “How is little Jasper sleeping lately?” end in discussions about poverty, human rights, and worst of all, inexplicable theological questions. Maybe its not a bad thing. But I fear that, before long, my mommy friends, also in the thick of their own mommying-preschoolers period, may start ducking behind walls when they see me walking in their direction. Generally, mommies of youngsters don’t have time to talk. And when there’s “time”, they (generally) aren’t able to focus…because little one is in the other room, someone needs to be fed, changed, bathed, consoled, or Princess needs a Queen mommy, or Thomas the Tank Engine needs a track built. All good, beautiful, incredibly INCREDIBLY important things.

My struggle? How do you continue developing as a person (your theology, worldview, talents, passions) when your world is so much about the world of your Ragamuffins. And we ALL know how much is necessary for their little worlds to continue spinning. I don’t THINK the answer is “get a job”. This time IS incredibly fulfilling, but this time (sniff, sniff) will end, and I don’t want to be “stuck” with myself. I don’t want the world to be “stuck” with a once, awesome, kick-ass mommy, who forgot to learn and grow along the way.

So, what are your thoughts? “Seasoned” moms, did you grow alongside your children, or will you admit to wishing you had given a little more time to your own personal (spiritual, intellectual, social) development? Or, or did the lessons of parenting, in your opinion, develop you enough? Younger moms, tell me you struggle with this also…

 

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turbulence

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Apparently today is a beautiful day in Seattle. Its all over my friends’ Facebook pages. I do miss Seattle days like today…the views of the cityscape, its surrounding lakes, and Mt. Rainier are probably spectacular. There is no place more beautiful than Seattle when its wearing its sunny clothes. But in my time living in that area, I came to realize that that beauty comes at a great cost…rain, gray and cold. I remember staring out of my living room window, day in and day out, from, hmmm, October to July, wondering when it was going to stop. I also remember longing for more violent storms. I figured that if it was gonna rain, it may as well be fun to watch. But those thunderstorms were few and far between. I also longed to see the massive evergreens outside my windows move and shake, in violent winds. But, the trees didn’t sway like I had wanted…more often than not they were still.

Being a Southern Californian, I hadn’t realized how much I missed wind. There’s a lot of it here. To most, its a complete nuisance, sending people running to their allergists for relief. However, to me, during weeks when the damp cold of the Pacific Northwest really got to me, I just wanted to see movement. On the rare occasion that the wind really blew, that turbulence made the world outside my living room window seem alive.

On my walk today, I was realizing how thankful I am for the wind. I was thankful for how it made the world around me appear vital and beautiful. I was thinking, too, about how turbulence, dare I say, struggle, makes life seem more vital and beautiful. Can you even imagine a life without struggle? An existence devoid of redemption, forgiveness, and healing? So many people live their lives in such a way to avoid turbulence, eliminating those hurdles that stand in the way of personal comfort. But its struggle that leads to growth, learning, understanding, and joy.

Life’s turbulence is inevitable. God, that struggle would make me uncomfortable, and move me. May turbulence motivate me, not floor me. Cultivate a vitality and strength that only comes from being present in the most violent of winds.

just so

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I love my job. With all its quirks and challenges, I am still so thankful that I get to be home with my kids. I’m not always that positive about my job title, and for a time, I struggled quite a lot with not being able to bring home a paycheck and get the accolades of a “real” job. But those moments are becoming fewer and farther between. And as we are preparing to send Abby to preschool for a couple days a week in the Fall, I am seeing this precious PRECIOUS time start to dwindle. So, for the next few years, I will (I WILL!) savor the “at home” time I have with the kids.

My house will NEVER look “just so” during this time. And as much as I battle with this reality, I will never look “just so” in this period. In fact, the more I scramble to make sure all things are “just so” in my at-home mommy reality, the less time I am really “at home” and more I am stowed away in my own head…organizing the empty boxes of perfectionism.

So, my prayer for today, is that I can truly celebrate this period and give less and less attention to “just so”. Understanding that religiously throwing on my uniform (hoodie, jeans, t-shirt, flip-flops, sunglasses, and a ponytail) doesn’t necessarily mean I’m lazy. And really believing that the stains on my carpet are a beautiful symbol of what I want my home to be…a place where all people are welcome, dirty feet and all.

off script

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I sang with Josh this morning in service. I get to do this on a regular basis on Sunday evenings, but this morning was extra special. I also, somehow, managed not to look at my music as much as normal. I have this bad habit of reading the words to songs I already know. I was talking to the pianist, and she, too, struggles with playing what’s not written. But today, we were both surprised at what we were capable of doing, when we looked away from our “scripts” (or in her case, when not all of her music was available to her).

I was thinking of “scripts” in the context of being a Christ-follower. Another, much younger, friend of mine was sharing with me that she struggles with associating her faith with being a good person. She is a “good” person. She’s kind to all fellow students, encouraging, modest, disciplined in her studies, and so on. She is good at following a “script” of what a “good Christian” is supposed to be. But, she is feeling like her faith is shallow, and her understanding of the heart of God is weak. I was challenged by her vulnerability, because I, too, struggle with letting the “script” determine how I live out my faith…often resulting in a monotone, over-acted, even fake portrayal of what engaging with Jesus looks like.

Back to this morning. Not reading the lyrics allowed me to engage with God way more than if I were peering at the screen. It enhanced my corporate worship experience. Now, how does this translate to my everyday, dealing with difficult situations, pay the bills, poopy diapers and smashed fishy crackers type of worship? I’m thinking that this kind of worship could also be enhanced by going “off script”. The script I systematically pull out that tell me what I should look, act, feel, do as a (Christ-follower, wife, daughter, mom, sister, friend, voter, consumer, blah, blah, blah…) is the same script that binds me, and puts limits on what God can do through me.

Like my young friend, I have this habit of making sure I’m doing the right thing, at all times…and ultimately at the expense of experiencing the authentic struggle, doubt, joy, and peace of encountering Christ. Oh, and when I can go “off script”, that’s when I encounter God’s most beautiful gift of grace. No doubt I missed a few words and entrances during this morning’s service, but a congregation of friends showed me grace, and I was able to freely move in and out of harmonies, and hug the melody way more than if I were locked in on the lyrics.

So, I’m going “off script” this week. And so thankful that God will show me grace, and also allow me to fall, learn, grow, and be an improv player in His story of redemption.