the Day. 

*This was scheduled to post June 18, 2014. Needless to say that I NEVER posted it.*

Father’s Day just passed and it made me really, really sad. Why? Because I’m still hurting. All these years later.  I sort of feel that I don’t have a dad to celebrate because of well… you know…issues.

I texted my little sister telling her that Father’s Day makes me sad because you hear all of these people telling all of these wonderful, heartwarming stories about their dad and I’m just there like, “…[queue chirping crickets]”   So, in reality, Father’s Day make me jealous of the experiences that other people had and have) with their super awesome dads.  (Man, I am just on a super honest roll here lately…)

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I was wrong.

I’ll admit it.  I hate this. I hate being wrong.

I define myself based on what I do.  I get a joy or some sort of self satisfaction from saying that I am a teacher.  I am a runner.  I, I, I…  Nothing like quitting my career to give me a little perspective on this topic.  After these months of going to Laila Grace’s pediatrician appointments and filling out run of the mill paperwork with questions on it such as date of birth, first, middle and last names and… occupation.

Oh my.  What will I write down as my occupation now that I no longer have one?  I can’t write “none.”  Or can I?  I should write “none.”  But I have a job.  I’m a mama.  Being a mama is work.  Like 24/7/365 work.  But people don’t consider it to be much of a “job.”  I used to be one of those people who thought being a stay-at-home mama was a cake job.  I admit that I thought I’d have lots of time to do cool stuff  when I decided to stay home with Elle.  I mean, I thought I would be able to finish all of the half started arts and crafts projects that I have laying around.  I thought I’d be able to read all of the books on my shelf that I’ve yet to read.  I mean, I even reorganized my book shelf and separated the books that I’ve read from the books that I’ve yet to read.

I had grand plans for this precious time that I was supposed to dedicate to mothering my baby girl.  I didn’t think I did… but I did.  I wasn’t supposed to make plans…but I did.  I don’t know when I did… but I did.

I came across this article on Facebook entitled, “Why being a mom is enough.”  I wasn’t going to read it because I didn’t want to read an article by some lady who felt sorry for herself for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom and trying to validate her choice with a new fancy job title that basically means the same things as stay-at-home mom.  (I guess I was a little sensitive to this because I was really trying to think of a clever way to state that I am a stay-at-home mama when I filled out that paperwork asking my occupation… you know… so I could feel worthwhile.)

But as I read the article, it struck a chord with me:

There is no supermom, really – that whole supermom who has everything together is just a fallacy. There are real moms. Real, authentic moms who admit that they don’t have it all together but keep on fighting. Scared and tired moms who keep fighting. Moms who are overwhelmed by keeping up with littles all day long. Moms like you and me who sometimes feel lost in a world of outward accomplishments.

A mother isn’t based on external perfection. A mother is the person, the woman, just like you. The woman with little ones in her care that she loves, and sometimes wonders how she loves them because they’re driving her batty, but still she does. She fights, gives, prays, works, and doesn’t give up even when she wants to throw in the towel.

 

This article was nothing like I imagined it would be.  I came at it from a judgmental perspective (I seem to become more judge-y when I feel less confident).  This woman said something that I needed to hear.  She wasn’t trying to make herself feel better than anyone else but she was trying to convey a point that mothers matter.  All of us.  From the mama who works outside the home only to come home from work to take care of household duties to the mama who stays at home taking care of her littles.  We all matter.

My mother in law asked me why don’t I join one of those mother and baby groups that are held at churches.  I answered her candidly.  To be honest, I don’t want to be surrounded by a whole bunch of Christian first time moms.  If there’s one place where I’ll judge and (possibly) be judged it’s in a room full of Christian moms.  It’s sad to say but I think it’s true.  Women can be kind of judgmental.  Why?  I think that it may be because at the end of the day, we just want to feel like we’re doing better than someone…anyone.  Even if that someone is a woman in our same predicament fighting the same feelings of inadequacy.  It’s sad.  I can only speak for myself so I’m surmising but why else do phrases like, “hey, it could be worse” make me feel just a tad bit better about my own situation???

Here’s the thing: Our journeys are different but there is a common thread: many of us don’t feel adequate.  Many of us don’t feel confident.  Many of us judge for no good reason (is there ever a good reason?).  So, another thing that motherhood has taught me in the now thirteen weeks that I’ve been doing this is that, if nothing  else, motherhood is an opportunity to understand life from a perspective of grace.

Motherhood is an opportunity to understand life from a perspective of grace.

So, I was wrong.  I am not defined by what I do.  I am defined by the way I think about what I do, by the way I give grace to others and to myself.

 

sam

I wear my crown like a boss.

I wear my crown like a boss.

I saw this photo while on a social network and I just had to share. It reminds me of my friends. All of whom are strong beyond belief. All of us have overcome (and are in the process of overcoming) various struggles that we weren’t certain we would make it through. At the time there may not have looked to be any hope. But, all of those tough things have made us into the beautiful, brave, witty, uncommonly wise people we are today.

If we wish to change the past, we must remember that we wouldn’t be who we are today had we not gone through the things that we went through. It was all for a reason…for our testimony. Through the telling of our story- the choices we’ve made, the choices that have been made for us, and the choices of others- our trials, struggles, triumphs can be used to uplift another person.

Look around. People are struggling every day and they feel alone. They feel like no one knows their pain. Don’t keep your testimony a secret. Share it! You will bring hope to a person who feels alone. This may be a person who looks as though they’ve got it all together. Don’t be fooled. We all have issues. Some of us just have more issues than others which means we will have a more robust testimony to tell. Share your story and reassure yourself that your story, your pain and your triumphs were not (and are not) in vain.

Dear 16 year old me (updated),

Mrs. B.  same the same year.  2001.  This was take one.  Somehow both pics made it in the yearbook.  Ha!

My junior year of high school (age 16 or 17).  Class of 2001.

(((I posted this one for my students who are learning about writing their own memoir via blogging and thought I would share here, too.)))

Right now, you think that 25 is old but soon enough you’ll be looking at 25 through your rearview mirror wondering where all the time went.

Being a grown up is hard.  It’s really hard but it’s better than you ever could have imagined.  You are in charge of everything.  When you move out from mom’s house, don’t ever go back.  It’s worth the struggle.  I know it doesn’t sound like it now but those months of hardly being able to afford Ramen noodles and other necessities will be reward enough.  You have your own space, your own place and your peace of mind.  You can’t put a price on that.  There’s something comforting about knowing that if the dishes aren’t done, they’ll still be there tomorrow (because you’re the only one who will do them).  There’s something comforting about knowing that every single thing that you put down will be in that same exact spot when you are ready to retrieve it.  It’s awesome.  It really, really is.

Truly begin to see yourself the way God sees you. If you have questions about that, see Psalm 139. Loving yourself now will make it easier to take care of yourself later. Continue to pursue your dreams.  You don’t want children or a husband now… but that will all change (at least the husband part will). Don’t worry about not feeling like a part of the family, when you get married, you’ll become a part of his family and you’ll feel as though this is where you were always supposed to be. When you go to college to study English, don’t leave. Don’t change your mind and pursue Mathematics. Work hard as a teaching assistant; it will land you a teaching job when you finally graduate college.

Don’t ignore the warning signs. When you start to feel sick, go see a doctor. It will save you lots of surgery, pain, and time in the hospital later. And when you feel sick again, don’t wait so long to see a doctor. Seems like common sense but sometimes you lack that.

When you join the track team in high school, run. You’ll love the way you look and you’ll feel great. Don’t waste time on boys that you’re not gonna marry, you’ll get your heart wrapped in it and then carry those hurts into your marriage… it’s not fair to your husband.

Give more. Without thinking about what’s in it for you.  Don’t be so fricken’ selfish.  It will make your marriage (and your life) go a lot smoother.

Enjoy your teenage years… don’t wish them away. Stay close with your siblings, it will be hard (but not impossible) to mend the fences later.

You’re great. You’re smart. You’re more than capable of achieving your dreams. Go after them!  Oh, and when you earn that scholarship to that community college that you don’t respect, use it. You’ll end up earning your first degree from there later, anyway, might as well do it for free instead of paying for it from your own pocket.

I really love who you are going to become. It will all be worth it.  I promise.

Signed,

30 year old me

Forgiveness.

Lately, the issue of forgiveness has been recurring throughout my online interaction on Facebook and in my thought life.  How do I know when I’ve forgiven someone?  Do I need to forget in order to be able to truly forgive?  I came across this quote on the Without Jesus I Suck FB page: “People should not have to earn your forgiveness.  When you sign up for Christianity forgiving people becomes a requirement.”  I posted it as my status and was surprised at the response I received.  One person felt that a person should “do all they can and then leave it up to God” another felt that “once you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough.”  As the comments poured in the more confused I became.  How can we not realize that we must forgive one another?  I was reminded of the scripture in the Bible that states “God has removed our sins as far from us  as the east is from the west” Psalm 103:12 and I asked the question: What about the example that has been set for us by our Savior?  Can we so easily forget that without Jesus forgiving us of our sins, we wouldn’t have the privilege of calling ourselves Christians??? To be a Christian means, among other things, “showing character and conduct consistent with discipleship to Christ; marked by genuine piety; following the precepts and example of Christ; Christ-like”… I don’t remember a time when Christ said, “Hey, followers of Mine, don’t forgive others as I have forgiven you… they don’t deserve it.”

I’ve said all this to say, even if you don’t feel a person deserves your forgiveness it is in your best interest (and should be in your nature) to forgive… always.  Without exception.  Now, if there’s some other barrier keeping you from dredging up past hurts and circumstances, go ahead and pray that the Lord also enable you to forget the hurt.   That’s it.  End of story.

 

sam