Since my last “Let’s All Be Real” post, life has changed a bit. We’ve moved. Our kids are older. Life is busier. I’m doing a lot “less” than I was at the time in terms of things outside family. My kids are 10, 8 and 4. Next year, they will ALL be in school(can I get whoot whoot!?). It’s going so fast, I can hardly keep up. Lately, if I’m being honest, sitting on my bed and reading or watching Gilmore Girls during the very few moments of quiet is so much more appealing than scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Is that just age? I mean, 40 is creeping up and I’ve heard this is what tends to happen at this life stage. Is it weird that I care less about having it all together or accomplishing a million things off a to do list? I care less about how I look. I care less about what people know about me. I care less about performing or doing or impressing. I want, even in the midst of the most mundane facets of life, to live a life that means something. To reach people and make a difference. I am finding that the real, the relatable, the authentic, the deep…..those are the things I am drawn to. In both relationships and the construct of my days. If I can’t be real, then I’m not down. If I can’t open up, I’m out. And I want the same for you. Because the purpose of this blog is not to post all the perfect. It’s just not. It never has been. I struggle too, and sometimes calling out those struggles, both big and small, is healthy. Honesty can be a breath of fresh air for the soul.
“In the quiet of an early morning, honesty finds me. It calls to me through a crack in my soul and invites the real me to come out, come out, wherever you are. Not the carefully edited edition of the me I am this year. No, honesty wants to speak to the least tidy version of the woman I’ve become. The one I can’t make look more alive with a few swipes of mascara and a little color on my lips.” ~Lysa TerKeurst
I’m feeling drawn to the relationships and the investment. Not so much the empty liking or following or posting for no reason other than to be seen. I’m having to check myself. My posts. My purpose. Why am I doing all of this? Why do I post pictures of everything I do? Does this serve a purpose? Does it serve others well and most importantly, does it all point people to Christ? I honestly don’t know. I am losing followers on Instagram. I’m probably not “engaged” enough. I don’t spend hours liking or commenting these days. I’m just struggling with it all. Other bloggers are killing it and getting gigs and offers and exposure(I am not whining, I promise). But I have to remember that that’s not my purpose. And I have to keep myself in check there, because if I’m being honest, sometimes that’s what I want.
I don’t know if I am stewarding this thing called life well. But I do know that to me, being authentic and sharing life how it really is, can be a powerful tool to reaching and connecting. Much more so than pictures of biceps or new cars or lunches out. And these ramblings are some of my most recent thoughts. So, let’s try another round of opening up and sharing the messy. Because let’s face it, we all have messy, even if we don’t show it. So I guess I’ll go first.
You guys. For the love. 4 year olds stink. I’m sorry. Does that make me a horrible mother? I mean, I thought they were supposed to “level out” around the age of 4, the boys sure seemed to. But Lila? She just seems to get more emotional and irrational by the day. Now, I’m not an overly dramatic or emotional gal. Never have been. So maybe I just don’t know what the heck to do with raging mood swings. Any advice? I’ll take whatever you’ve got.
Currently, she wakes up ten million times during the night. She’ll come all the way down to our room to simply tell me she’s cold, or she can’t find a stuffed animal, or for the love, to pee in our bathroom when she has a perfectly good, albeit used mostly by boys, toilet right next to her room. It’s attached, so it’s practically IN her room. But no, she must stand next to my bed like a scene from the Shining and stare at me until I wake up. She says nothing. Surely, this stage will pass before all my hair falls out or I die of lack of sleep. Surely. But in spite of all of this(which I know is nothing compared to the struggles of some when it comes to kids and parenting), she is so cute and sweet and I desperately want 4 to stick around. Because after 4 comes Kindergarten and then it just goes by so fast. I know this. Time, please slow down.
In early December I decided to do another round of Whole 30. It was my 3rd time through and I found it to be the easiest and most rewarding time for me. I did away with some bad habits and replaced them with better ones. My running finally got consistent using the Hanson’s Method and I lost a few pounds. Win win. Then, Christmas and New Years, a kid with a broken arm, two trips in two weeks, a crazy back to life schedule, sports, renewing my personal trainer cert(really just keeping it up to date which requires a lot of hours), kids, school work and all the other happenings have just kept me busy. I had planned to be so much farther ahead than I am now. I see people I know running races and training and doing all the things, crushing it if you will, and I feel like I’m doing something wrong. And then I don’t, because I’m not. And if this is your boat, neither are you.
Sometimes, as much as I love social media, it can be a real downer. It can make us feel as though everyone else is doing everything and we in fact are doing well, nothing. When being a mom and wife and friend is not nothing. Those are the most important somethings ya know? I love to run. LOVE it. But right now, it’s just happening when it’s happening, and I have to be ok with that. I’m human. I feel jealously and envy. I have to keep myself in check when I pop on Instagram or Facebook and see all the posts. I’m doing my best, but I’m also just not motivated to miss out on a lot for a long run or races every weekend. I’m actually loving to run lately. I feel really good and in spite of my goals, am seeing progress there. And that counts for something.
“The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or the breaking of my identity.” ~Lysa TerKeurst (it’s Lysa T. day here on the blog)
I want to cheer other’s on. I do. I want to applaud your marathon’s and training schedule and workout routine. Your will power to NOT eat that giant piece of chocolate cake or your weight loss. I want to spur you on towards greatness and help support your business or goals, whatever they might be, but when you are in a season of feeling somewhat stuck, acting all of those things out is much easier said than done. I saw a friend post on FB that her family has been in a season of illness. It’s cyclical and doesn’t seem to have any end. She must feel stuck. But, God says that His grace is sufficient in our weakness. And she went on to explain that one of the synonyms for weakness is actually the word encourage(I have wise friends=). Wow. Encourage. Weakness. The two go hand in hand. In my weakness, I can encourage. In what seems like setback after setback, I can reach other’s. I can love and serve. I can use this season of less and do more for someone else. And how refreshing is that? I’m used to a fast pace, and lately, God is forcing me to slow down.
“Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life, like abiding, delighting, and dwelling—all words that require us to trust Him with our place and our pace. Words used to describe us being with Him.” Lysa T.
I am equipped to do that, to encourage, always. I don’t have to be at the top of my game. I don’t have to be as thin as I once was, or as fit. I can dwell in my current state, as a mom and a wife and a friend, as an encourager. As one sort of on the sidelines of some of the other things I enjoy, doing a different kind of season and cheering other’s on. Because what I’m doing, or what you are doing, is no less noble or noteworthy. If you are sort of behind the scenes right now, be thankful, because that’s where the magic happens.
Maybe you are caring for a sick loved one or involved in a huge project at work that is eating up all your time. Maybe you are cleaning up throw up or up all night with a colicy baby. Maybe you are traveling or fighting a disease. Maybe you are just perfectly ok with slowing down. Maybe you were once able to run and workout but have had to slow down, or stop, for health reasons. Maybe your family just needs your attention right now and some hobbies or passions have had to sit on the back burner for a while. Can I just tell you that it’s ok? I know God has purpose in those things, and that He can draw out of you, and me, the very best in seasons of wait or want.
Rob and I are approaching our 15th wedding anniversary this Summer. 15 years. It seems impossible that we are that old. Trust me, I know 35 isn’t old, but when you really think about the scope of life and how fast it goes, 35 feels a little up there. We’ve been together since we were 17 and actually met in 7th grade home room. That’s a LONG time, in case you were wondering. A very long time. I was there when he got his first car and first pair of cool non pleated jeans. I was there through all the 90’s bands and tickets for rolling through stop signs. His first job and his first pair of Birkenstocks. Don’t judge. If you lived through the 90’s you know we all should have just kept them because now they are back in style. We were way cool back then.
And here we are, years later, 3 kids, one of whom will be in MIDDLE SCHOOL next year. How does that even happen? And even more so, when I put us another 15 years down the road, the thought of where we could be freaks me the heck out. All kids grown, married 30 years, and 50 years old. And I know that season will be good and sweet, just as this one is, but it’s crazy to think about. We are finding more and more that just simply being married after 15 years is unusual, much less happily. We aren’t perfect, we have our struggles and our ugly moments, but staying? That’s where it’s at.
Sticking with the not so fun moments of marriage in order to build this walking through life together thing is a lot of work. We do a lot of date nights and time away from our kids to reconnect and be adults. We try and invest and work at it. Sometimes I don’t. I can be a real jerk, but the thing with marriage is that it’s the person who sees you at your very worst. So, I’m trying to give more of my very best to my marriage and my friend. Because it’s worth the fight. Our kids need us to build this family. To show them unconditional love and that it starts with mom and dad. So, wherever you are on that journey, I urge, encourage and even beg you to give it everything you’ve got. It’s so worth it.
So there you have it. Some of my stuff as of late. I know it’s nothing major. I know that tomorrow could look completely different for me. But these are some of the things rolling around in my mind, which you didn’t ask to know. Hopefully, it’s an encouragement to you that it’s ok to open up. If you don’t have anyone in your life that you can share with without judgement, you can talk to me. It’s important and necessary to evaluate your seasons with fresh and healthy perspective, even if that involves speaking your struggles out loud. There is so much benefit in that. So, I pray your day is filled with the richest blessings. That you will encourage someone today. Smile at someone. Because we all share one thing, we are human, and all desperately in need of a little grace.