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?
I decided last minute that I was going to take a flow yoga class today at the gym. I hadn’t planned to go to any class today, I was just excited that I managed to get both girls fed and in the car before 11am. After I checked my girls in at the childcare desk, I figured I’d go look at the class schedule for the heck of it. I was pretty excited that a yoga class was going to start in 15 minutes. Of course, I was totally unprepared. I had a baggy t-shirt on, my yoga mat lay rolled neatly in my living room at home, and my toes are screaming for a pedicure. Oh well, I had two hours of free childcare, and since I really didn’t have the motivation to do my own thing in the weight room, I filed in to the exercise room as the doors opened. I grabbed a (too-short) squishy mat in the supply closet, and pulled off my socks. A very sweet, soft-spoken woman smiled and asked me if I’d been to this class, or any, yoga class before. Admittedly, it’s been about three years, and I’ve had two babies since then so I wasn’t sure how it would go. I was nervous the instructor would fly through poses and contortions and leave me in child’s pose. But, I somehow made it through class, only once saying out loud, “How in the world do you do THAT?” as I watched everyone flip gracefully from downward facing dog to somehow belly up with two hands on the mat and just one foot. Overall, I enjoyed it. My back is sore. My butt is sore. I feel like I worked hard, but I don’t think I’ll be nervous about how I’ll get through my next class.
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.