We all live our lives with an audience watching, whether we realize it or not. In high school, we’re all so self-conscious, star-struck or intimidated by those considered the “cool kids” that we may not even consider the fact that there is somebody looking up to us. In a society now so saturated with selfies and live videos, it seems like the younger generations thrive on having an audience for very shallow reasons. As Jesus followers, we are called to live our lives differently. It isn’t just for our own benefit, but for others’. Don’t be afraid to be the one who brings a 6-pack of Gatorade to the party. It’s just as cathartic to say “fricking” when you’re mad, and not drop the F-bomb. Be thankful, be generous, defend the underdog, and be kind. Yes, people who aren’t Jesus followers are these adjectives, too. But if you aren’t these things but proclaim to love God, to which audience are you pandering? God or man?
This is also part of the regular Five Minute Friday writing community. Here‘s the linkup if you’d like to check out other writers’ thoughts on the word Who.
When I was a kid in elementary school, and was asked to write about myself, I wrote about who I was in relation to my parents. My mom was one of eight biological siblings and one other half sister. Her parents were Irish and Swedish. My dad was born in Bordeaux, France, and his mom is French, and his dad is Hispanic. So, my description wasn’t really about me, but my interesting heritage. I really don’t think I could describe WHO I was until I hit age 30. Throughout my high school and college years, and even into my twenties, I sort of chameleoned my personality based on my friends. I picked the best, most likable characteristics of my friends and tried to imitate, creating a Frankenstein of a self that wasn’t easy to maintain. I was always wondering who really liked me, and why, since I wasn’t even sure who I was myself. And I didn’t find myself very interesting. At 30, I didn’t all of a sudden change who I was. I just decided to believe that I was likeable. That God made me who I am and that was enough. I was enough. God had given me talents and gifts and interests totally unique to me and I started liking who He’d made me to be.
When I was young and single, really from high school through my twenties, I’d look at couples and wonder how they’d met each other. Out of all the people in the world, it seemed as if everyone had a partner, except me. I’d look at couples and get jealous that they had found someone to love them. I’d even get jerky, and think to myself, “If THAT girl can find someone, what’s wrong with me?” It seemed I was on an exhausting, frustrating quest to find “the one.” Finally, once I hit thirty, I decided I was done looking. I was tired of being let down and so I decided that I was going to embrace being single. I loved living alone in Denver, had a job I loved, snowboarded every weekend in the winter, and hiked even more in the spring, summer, and fall. And so of course, once my heart was content, that’s when I met the man to whom I’ve been married for four years today. On a 150 mile, 3 day bike ride fundraiser for Children’s Hospital Colorado through the mountains.
I’ve written quite a bit about mothering my two year old lately. I guess it’s been therapeutic getting it written out how I’ve been feeling. Dang it, it is not easy having a 28 month old and a 7 month old at the same time. My very content baby girl is so enamored with her big sister that she doesn’t even cry when her big sister pokes her in the eye or pushes her over when she’s sitting, or yanks a toy out of her hands that she was pretty excited about gnawing on. Me, on the other hand, I want to blow up. I think it’s a culmination of my two year old pushing the boundaries of her independence, yet still desperately wanting my attention, in spite of that pesky baby sister. I have to pause before I open my mouth to rebuke and discipline, or words that I can’t erase at a volume I can’t turn down will escape my lips. In that pause, I whisper, “Please help me, Jesus!”
Quiet your mind, Child.
Sit in my lap and look up at my face.
I want to look in your eyes and see myself
For I created you.
I know how many hairs are on your head- and how many you had before today.
I know your anxious thoughts.
I’ve collected your tears that number the grains of sand.
I’ve created those shoulders to carry your children, not your burdens.
I’ve given you a tender heart to love people and show them how much I love them too.
I’ve given you a voice to encourage and proclaim life over yourself and your family.
I am always available for you to talk and for me to speak truth into you.
All you have to do is pray.
There are some days when I find myself watching the clock. That long hand seems to drag like a spoon through pudding. “When will Daddy come home?” I ask myself on the particularly long days of carrying around a medicine ball in the form of my 6 month old, and trying to keep my pride and authority alive with my two year old. When is nap time? When is bedtime? When is lunchtime? Anything to break up the day. I know these days are fleeting. My girls’ childhood is just a tiny snippet to a feature-length film, and I don’t want to wish it away. I want to take it all in, catching every minute, even finding humor in the hard times, so that I can laugh and say when we’re all old, “Remember when…?”
My little two-year-old has become quite independent. She now sleeps in a big girl bed, after a few months ago, she tried to climb out of her crib and crashed onto the floor. Ever since then, “nap time” in the afternoons have essentially become alone time for her to put on a fashion show with everything she owns. I’ll hear her little feet bounding across her room from the kitchen below as I make dinner or sneak in a few minutes of writing. The first time I heard her cry, I ran upstairs to see what was the matter. She had simply gotten herself stuck trying on a new pair of shorts. She’d stuffed both feet inside of one leg hole and then like a mummy, couldn’t move. The same thing happens with her putting on her shoes. She’ll struggle and whine, as she uncomfortably tries to shove her feet in the opposite shoes, but she won’t ask for help. Now is not the time for Mommy to assist, but to allow independence to grow.
My oldest daughter just turned two in early June. She had been talking for about a year even prior to that. Everywhere I take her, whether it be to her classroom at church or the YMCA or even to the grocery store, people are stunned that she’s only two because she can talk so well. Her vocabulary is impressive, even for most three or even four year olds. However, because she can speak so clearly and with her vocabulary, I totally expect her to act older. I get so frustrated when she changes outfits at least five times in a day, or throws food on the floor, or sticks her hand in the toilet, or spits inside, or snaps back, “NO!” when I ask her (or tell her) to do something. She’s two. She’s exploring her independence long after she’s mastered the English language expected of her age.
Today is a Five Minute Friday write with the online writer’s group, and the prompt is PRAISE. Here is the linkup if you’d like to read some more from other writers.
Today is also Day 12 of the 31 day challenge (also with the Five Minute Friday community) to write for 5 minutes on a given prompt.
“Come into His presence with thanksgiving in your heart and give Him Praise, and give Him Praise! All glory and honor and power unto Him, Jesus the Name above all Names!”
That song from growing up in an Assemblies of God church as a kid has been on rewind and replay all day in my mind. I can still remember vividly scenes from inside our church in Woodbridge, VA. Initially, we met inside the gymnasium, chairs having to be stacked and set up every Sunday morning. On Wednesday nights, they’d be set up again, but by Thursday night, all the chairs would be gone and co-ed volleyball games would be playing in their place. I can remember when our new church building was finished and how all the pews were upholstered in a scratchy mauve material over padding that had zero give. There were enough seats for 2,000 people there. We would sing praise songs for over 45 minutes each Sunday morning before Pastor Roberts would preach. Those were the praise songs that had everyone clapping, not just listening or observing the band. There were no fog machines, but a huge choir on stage in their billowing robes. As I flip through my old piano music and read the book of Psalm, I’m reminded of the hundreds of praise songs I actually know and how we used to sing them all.
Schools here in Charlotte were cancelled today because of the potential flooding and winds from Hurricane Michael. Most of the day was similar to a few weeks ago when Hurricane Florence decided to plop down and kick up her feet over the whole state of North Carolina. The video images of Mexico Beach, FL are shocking. Hardly anything is left standing. They essentially dealt with a sustained water-filled tornado for hours. Here, I just had to keep the door closed in order to prevent the storm from coming inside. My roof didn’t peel back, the ocean didn’t come in through the floor, and our house is still upright sitting perfectly on its foundation. Others were not so fortunate. They tried to keep their doors closed to the storm, but it blew in anyways. How can I (we) open my (our) doors to those in need?