I just finished reading a fantastic marriage book by Dr. Emerson Eggerich titled Love and Respect. The main message he was getting across is that as women, our deepest need is love. The deepest need of a man is respect. With our culture trying to demasculinize men, this was such a refreshing read. A symbiotic marriage only works when each partner is giving what the other needs to feel accepted and secure. Wives, nagging and berating may temporarily work on your husbands to get some chore completed, but that will not inspire any desire on his part. Those eye rolls and making decisions on behalf of both of you for what’s best for your children are slowly eating away at him, and building a wall between you, brick by brick. I want to have a marriage that inspires and sparks us, gives glory to God, and makes our children feel secure in our family. Starting now.
I got to spend the afternoon with one of my college roommates yesterday. There is something so comforting seeing her face and spending time with her because she really knows me. For more than half our lives at this point, we’ve known each other. It makes us feel so old that we can say college was twenty years ago, and can remember vividly that time. While our faces reflect that much time has passed, our laughter does not. When we get together, we run down the list to make sure we’re caught up on each other’s lives, including our families, spouses, parents, and siblings. It is a balm for one’s soul to be known and loved, and to have a friend like this.
The hardest part about growing up is figuring out where you belong. That really isn’t a question that ever crosses one’s mind as a baby, toddler, or even an elementary student. You live with your parents. Done. Not much else to figure out. But by the time you’re in middle and high school, those gnawing questions continue to get louder. Who do you hang out with? To what group do you belong? For me, moving in the middle of my Sophomore year of high school, chorus was my saving grace. I was an Alto. Although I was painfully insecure, I knew I belonged in that room full of people who loved singing as much as me. Each successive move, new job, and life event is like a rolling wave that forces me to find my feet, put down roots, and reclaim a new sense of belonging.
While I’m still doing the 31 day challenge of writing for five minutes each day on a given prompt, today’s prompt is from the weekly Five Minute Friday. FMF is exactly what it sounds like – set a timer and write for five minutes on the given prompt.
It’s so much easier to share that I was struggling with something in the past, than to divulge that I’m struggling in the moment. While I was in probably the second worst emotional funk of my life after my second baby was born, I felt like I couldn’t share it with my family. They’re so accustomed to seeing me happy and laughing, and the way I felt inside was the negative image of that persona. I had spoken to a family member a few months prior to my baby being born, and she had read a few of my posts online that were pretty heavy and dark, even for me. But they were honest about how I’d felt during the other rough period in my life, about fifteen years ago. “Be thankful for what you have. Don’t dwell on the past,” she told me. It made her sad to know how lonely, broke, and hopeless I once was. I’d always talked up the concerts and baseball games I was going to, and what I was doing at my job. I never shared with anyone how my life really was at that point. And then I felt shamed for sharing it in writing, even though it was retrospective. But guess what? Life is messy. Life is not always fireflies and s’mores and laughter. I’ve learned that when I share how life is in the present, I’m able to help others through the same trials, and also be encouraged by those who have been through it and came out on the other side.
As a mother of a six-month-old and a two-year-old, I find myself asking “Why” a lot more than before I had kids. Or maybe my questions to my two-year-old just sound so ridiculous, I feel like I’m asking “why” more often.
Why are you licking the windows?
Why are you playing with your poop?
Why are you throwing your food?
Why are you spitting onto the floor?
Why did you poke your sister’s eyes?
Why did you take your diaper off?
Then the questions I ask myself are as follows:
Why is she up already? It’s only been a half hour since I laid her down!
Why are they snotty again? They were just sick last week!
Why does my head hurt?
As a mother of two babies, I can scratch the surface of understanding how God feels about me. When I look at my precious girls, I look at their big blue eyes, long eyelashes, ginger curls, dimpled fingers, chubby thighs, knee rolls, doughy bellies, tiny toes, and not quite pinned back ears with adoration. Each part of them is something unique to them, yet still part of me. Everything about them is perfect, intentionally created. Nothing about them physically would I change. How much more love and grace does our Creator have for us, when I can’t fathom the depth of love and grace I have for my own children? I believe God has created each of us exactly how we are supposed to be, despite how we feel about ourselves. Feelings are fleeting, but I know we are each created for a purpose.
This song from Lauren Daigle is so beautiful, and the lyrics hit to the core:
Afraid to speak the words I know to be true
afraid to speak truth
for fear of the repercussions of confrontation.
will the truth be accepted?
0r will the truth be despised?
my stomach is sick, churning like the ocean waves of a storm.
my hands are shaking
my ears are hot
knowing the words I say need to be said
but the fear of your response
gives me pause.
until I realize that the truth will not be spoken to you if I stay silent.
I always have thought that God has a sense of humor, and that He allows funny things to happen to people who can tell great stories. When I meet people I want to know their story. I want to know where they’re from, what their family is like, what their interests are. As a mom, I am interested in knowing what other moms were like before they had kids. Becoming a mother is not a dream killer, we just use our energy in encouraging and fostering our kids’ dreams over our own. There is a story behind the eyes and face of every person, it just takes some intentional digging.
Today, I’m writing with the Five Minute Friday community writing group, and this week’s word is CROWD. If you’d like to join in (or just to read other great bloggers’ work), the linkup is here.
Last week, the meteorologists predicted a beast of a hurricane to blast the coast of North and South Carolina. Initially, it was charging the coast as a Category 4 like a Jurassic-sized tortoise, at under ten miles per hour. My sister called me, just after my husband and I decided to open our home to any willing refugee family members living in Wilmington. She asked if she could drive her two girls to our house, ages ten and eleven, before she was placed on lockdown at the main hospital there. It’s been nearly a week, and blessedly, we have not seen nor felt nearly the ravages that most people who stayed in Wilmington have. Thankfully, my parents, brother, and grandparents are safe despite staying. Their homes neither flooded nor had trees crash on them, but they’re stuck in Wilmington. All roads in and out are blocked by walls of water. Wilmington has become an island. A crowded one. Our house has a few more girls than usual, but I’m thankful they’re here and not adding to the crowd there.
Today, I’m writing with the Five Minute Friday community writing group, and this week’s word is RAIN. If you’d like to join in (or just to read other great bloggers’ work), the linkup is here.
When I was a kid growing up in the sticks of Virginia, my mom would excitedly let my brother, sister, and I hang out on our front porch so we could watch as dark storm clouds rolled in. Since our porch was covered, we felt perfectly safe under the roof even as hail balls the size of quarters pelted our front lawn. Because of my mom being so excited for the storms, I never had a fear of those cracks of lightning or window-rattling booms of thunder. I can’t however, say the same, for our dog Shep. He was grateful we all piled onto the porch so he could weave around our laps for reassuring pets on the head and ear scratches. Yesterday, a storm cloud was right over our house, yet the sun was bright in the sky just behind us. I excitedly ran into my 2-year-old’s room and lifted up the shades so we both could see the sun glistening through the fat raindrops. We then ran outside into the downpour so we could look for a rainbow. We came back inside soaked and happy, despite not finding a rainbow.