Friday, May 22, 2009

Sometimes you feel like a fitted sheet

I would like to own one of those factory machines that fold brand-new fitted sheets. I mean, does anyone really know how to fold a fitted sheet perfectly? The stupid elastic stuff makes it so hard to fold them "nicely" so they stack up prettily in your linen closet. Instead you end up just haphazardly rolling the sheet over and over your arm until it sort of "looks" folded enough and you stuff it into the back of the shelf where nobody sees.

Flat sheets, on the other hand, are every woman's dream. Every side folds corner to corner. It all lines up til you have a perfect little rectangle. If I have a choice? Sure, I'm going to pick the flat sheet every time.

As I, ahem, "folded" one such fitted sheet this morning, I was thinking about how lately my life feels like a fitted sheet. Not such an easy task, folding my life into a perfect rectangle. Doing everything "just so" and, when I'm done, putting it away on the shelf in admiration.

I'm tired of the hard stuff. Tired of trying to make my own expectations line up end to end and feeling like I'm never going to get there. Sometimes I just want to give up & roll it over and over until it resembles something barely close to the original design. And sometimes I just sit & whine, "Why couldn't I have been a flat sheet?" You know, those people you look at and think, "Their life looks so great. Everything seems so pleasant and perfect."

But, the Lord reminds me of a few things. The world needs fitted sheets. Laugh at me. Go ahead. But when you're done laughing, think about what life would be like with your bottom sheet moving all over the place. Husbands and wives would have one more thing to argue about...

I pondered the elastic for awhile. After all, it's the magic elastic that keeps your sheet in place. Elastic is stretchy, flexible, adaptable. It conforms to whatever it is wrapping around. You know that it's there, doing its job; yet you can't see it, hidden under the edge of the fabric. And when the bed is all made up and beautiful, the elastic is at the very bottom. The lowest of the lowest (well, except the bedskirt. but that's for another day...).

So when I think about the end result of my life, my goals, what I really want to look like when it's all said & done, I realize I want to be a fitted sheet after all. I want myself to be conformed to what (Who) I'm wrapped around--Jesus Christ. I want the "me" part of myself to be hidden underneath it all so that He can be showcased.

I think that's one of the reasons why I try to be transparent. I think that most people naturally want to showcase their good side. The happy occasions, the beautiful pictures, and perfect family moments. I totally get that. And normally, that's the side I err on: wanting to make sure I am not being so transparent that all I am doing is sharing the "yuck" with you. After I post things going on in my life like feeling like a crazy person or struggling with postpartum depression, I go into this panic mode where I want to retract every word I have just typed. My intention with this blog is not for it to be my yucky journal, but to share my life with you. The good, the bad, the ugly.

Having said that, I could be missing it here, but I feel like my greatest opportunities for ministry to others have come when I have laid down my "perfect-ness" and become vulnerable. I hear from so many women who tell me, "Yes, I have been there," and encourage me that I am not alone, or that they have received encouragement knowing they are not alone either.

I've also heard from other women who say that it was my testimony that spurred them on to be even more vulnerable themselves. Let's face it--in a small group setting, no one wants to be the one to say "I struggle with -------." Fill in the blank: Anger, Unforgiveness, Pornography, Slander (gossip), Lust, Pride, Envy. But I believe that the enemy (Satan) has so much power over us when we hide that stuff from each other. It is the boldness of one person saying "This is not who I am, it is a sin I struggle with, and Jesus has forgiven me" that can release others from the grip of that same sin.

People---the devil wants us to hide our yuck. He wants us to push it down and think that no one else deals with "my little problem." He wants us to think "it's not a big deal" or "God isn't really bothered when I gossip. It's just a little thing." But, if we are brave enough, vulnerable enough, we will be saved from even the little things. "By the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) and the word of our testimony."

So I have decided I'm going to continue being vulnerable, sharing my struggles as well as my victories, in the hopes that it might minister to someone. And in the hopes that every bit of the struggle will "create in me a new heart" that is growing to be like Christ.

James 5:16 "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Don't fight

I will spare you the messy details of my last few weeks, but suffice it to say, they've been rough. I'm not a crying kind of girl, but I've cried hard 4 out of the last 7 days. Really rough.

I'd like to know a few things. What's the deal with mommy burnout and how come no one ever talks about it out loud? Why do I feel like I'm the only one spilling my guts about how rough life can be with young kids? Why do I feel guilty because no one else is sharing, though I know others have to be feeling the same way (or did at this same point in their lives)?

Is it a woman thing? A pride thing? A Southern thing? Somebody, help a woman out!

I've been feeling desperate this week. Among other emotions. :) Responsibility and commitment have kept me at my mommy post, when everything inside me was screaming "I need out!" Apparently, from talking this over with a few very close friends, it turns out I'm not the only one who's been through this. What a relief!

I got some much-needed alone time tonight. It's always hard to know what to do with myself when I am forced to be alone, away from my house. I feel lost, like I don't even know who the real me is anymore apart from PB&J sandwiches or changing diapers or shushing crying babies.

I'm walking this line, it seems, between "I know that this life is not about me being happy and I can be content no matter the circumstances because the joy of the Lord is my strength," and "Somebody let me off this train to nowhere-land because I'm going to lose my mind and this is not what I signed up for when I chose to follow Christ!" It's a really fine line. You know, like those extra-fine ball point pens? Super fine.

Anyway, during my time away, I spent some time reflecting over the ways the Lord has been speaking to me this week. Or trying to speak to me--I've been a little hard-headed and obstinate, feeling like I wanted to do this my way and not His way. Sometimes you've just got to drill it into my head before I really hear it....guess this was one of those weeks.

My girl Celina reminded me (via a random facebook status) that "there is real joy out there...but it doesn't come without some sacrifice of the superficial things that give us temporary happiness."

Then tonight in the car, this Proverbs 31 commercial came on. Normally, these cutesy little stories annoy me, but I happened to listen this time. The woman was talking about a situation with her son who was saying "Why is this happening to me?" (about a necessary medical procedure) And she was thinking to herself, "Yes, why me?" Then she taught her son that God uses our sufferings to teach us things...I believe she said that He teaches us "in the classroom of sufferings." She went on to quote Hebrews 13:5 where God says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." And 2 Cor 12:9 where Jesus says to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Ok, God, I'm getting it! I started to realize what my heart already knew but my brain needed some time to absorb. He IS with me, He DOES love me, and I CAN do all things through Christ's strength.

Then, two separate times in the car, this song came on the radio. Normally, I'm super annoyed by the fact that the radio stations feel the need to play certain songs a hundred million times until it gets drilled into your head so much you can't stand it anymore. But, tonight, it was a blessing.

By Your Side
Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Monday, May 11, 2009

A picture journal

Dad & Lisa came to visit a few weekends ago. We had a great time with them. Dad was helping us fix our couch...somehow we all ended up in the kitchen at the same time & we realized, "Where's Kenna?"

At this point, she wasn't crawling, but she could still get herself where she wanted to go. I guess she wants to be a handywoman! (You know it's your second child when you run for the camera before taking away the sharp, pointed screwdrivers!)

Finally! A "real" family picture of the four of us. Maybe the next time, we'll ALL be smiling! :)

Dad, Lisa, & the kids

Kenna enjoying her breakfast one morning. I love seeing her smile behind those fingers!

Marc & Zachary on a rainy day.... "Before"


And "After!" He had so much fun!

Kenna turned 8 months yesterday. It's hard to believe, yet I'm thankful all at the same time! Every time I feel sad about her lack of newborn-ness, I remind myself of the hours of screaming every day. :)
These baby blues get me every time.

Z couldn't be left out of the picture taking!

She's always got her eye on whatever her big brother is doing!

I love this picture of her. She's such a thinker!

She was trying to get my camera here & had propped her arm up on my leg. This smile makes all the hard times so worth it!

Marc came home from work today & caught us in a quiet moment together (the first quiet moment all day!) He grabbed the camera so we wouldn't forget what peace looks like.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I was going to post some sweet pictures from the last couple weekends, but my camera & computer must be fighting; I can't get my memory card to load and I'm too tired to think about it much tonight.

So I spent some time talking to my sis online, and we were having some good laughs about our time in The Big W (Wisconsin) know, last summer when I worked for a friend of mine for a couple of weeks?

I confess that during those 2 weeks:
  • I ate almost 2 boxes of donuts single handedly. I might have let Jacque have 1 or 2 donuts...
  • I also gained 7 lbs. (I was 30 weeks pregnant, but still.) I was well within my weight gaining range before I went to I'm blaming it on the stress of the trip. :) My OB was none too pleased.
  • I realized that I never ever again want to work full time & be a mommy. If I can help it. WAY too stressful. (Not saying that it was necessarily "harder" than being a stay at home mommy, just more stressful. I think each job has its own difficulties...that's a whole 'nother blog post on that topic!)
  • That was the longest I have ever been away from my husband. It was really hard. A lot harder than I thought it would be. I don't ever want to do that again. I give a LOT of credit to military wives whose husbands are deployed (or vice versa). I mean a WHOLE LOT of credit.
  • I realized that I no longer thought of the Midwest as "home." This one's a little sad for me, since it stills feels like home in a lot of ways. But, as is always the case for me when we move where God leads, I found that home was back in good old Tennessee. Usually this transition takes me at least a year, so it was surprisingly early.
  • I peed in my pants at work. Yes, you read that correctly. Totally peed right through my pants. As in, had to call my friend whom I was working for and say, "I hope we're good enough friends that I can tell you this. But my sister took my son to the children's museum, so I have no car, and I really need you to take me back to my hotel RIGHT NOW so I can change my clothes, because I just peed all over myself." (We were good enough friends, and she laughed with me--after she made sure I hadn't broken my water--and we were both thankful I had brought an extra pair of black pants so no one else was the wiser.)
  • I was 2 feet from the Dalai Lama and didn't even know it. Read this post.
  • I never thought I'd miss the big sky and gorgeous green fields. But I do!
  • I also never thought I'd miss this belly. But I do. Some of the time...
  • I never thought being a mom could be so rewarding.

I feel better now. :) Pictures to come whenever I can help my computer reconcile with my camera.