Be the bridge

As I waited with K for her teacher her to lead her class into school, I felt the tug of small hands on my legs. I looked down to find a wee one–two-ish, perhaps–looking just as startled.

The mom called him over and I laughed. “All the legs look the same from that angle.”

“Oh, I wish my legs were like yours,” said the mom.

This struck me as funny for two reasons. First, of all the blessed body parts I’d gift to another woman, my legs wouldn’t be one of them. I’ve come to accept them–their muscular nature, their structure, their cellulite–but I don’t love them like I love my hourglass figure or red hair or delicate wrists. To hear someone else longing for what I discount was strange.

But this led to the second thought: you’ve already got legs like mine.

They’re strong enough to run after small children, to take you up and down play structures. They’re flawed, or rather, they’ve got their own character. They’re unique to you, enough so that it only took a second for that child to realize that he didn’t want these legs. Not because they weren’t perfect, but because they weren’t part of you.

I wish we could see our common bonds more, instead of focusing on our differences. Yes, that mom trains for triathlons and you don’t. But you both have hobbies that you love. That woman is happy without children while you’ve got a carful–but you both enjoy the fullness of lives, however different they may be. No matter what the divide is–homeschool versus public, organic versus processed, all natural versus epidural–we are women making it work.

The next time you’re tempted to start a mommy war, take a look at your enemy. She’s got something in common with you, I can guarantee it. Let it build a bridge instead of a wall, that we may run this race in support instead of competition.

Reading, if not writing

While I haven’t been writing much, I have been reading a couple really great things, and if I can’t be much inspiration right now, at least you might be able to draw inspiration from the same well I’m using.

On my Kindle, I’ve been reading The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg. To be honest, I got it while it was a free download, and it’s definitely taking me a long time to get through, so I wouldn’t say it was a fast read. But I’m loving this book. Every time I read it I bookmark something, so I know that it’s giving me powerful insight into resting in God’s purpose for my life and going with God’s flow. My favorite so far is the encouragement to try softer, not harder. I’m guilty of trying to work my way to a “better” me, which doesn’t leave much space for God to do the real magic.

Blog wise, I’ve been mesmerized by Play on the Word’s series on “The Woman of My Dreams.” Negative self talk has been so ridiculous for me lately, I feel like I’m living with multiple personalities. But no, I’m just mean to myself, plain and simple. This series makes me feel normal, and understood, and hopeful even. I love hopeful!

More practically, Project Based Homeschooling has a series for adults about finding your purpose and pursuing your goals. I especially enjoyed the post on Getting Out of Your Own Way, because honestly I’m the biggest roadblock for myself. But at least I can see that. I love seeing clearly, almost as much as I love hopeful.

Mostly, I love being able to give myself space not to write, to grow and think in other ways, and to trust the God can use all of it for His glory. Amen!

The soundtrack

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

— “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” by Matt Redman

I love to sing. I love how a song carries me, the ebb and flow of the lyrics and the combinations that form harmony. No matter what my mood, I can turn on a song, crank it up, and be carried outside of myself, my problems, my head.

Songs stick. Over the course of my kids’ lives, I’ve found myself humming the themes to Thomas the Engine, Dora the Explorer, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and most recently My Little Pony. Even as time passes and these songs are replaced by new ones, I can still pull up the lyrics if I try hard enough. I can still remember the songs I listened to in high school, college, and driving across the country. We experience songs. They spread themselves across events. Our lives, eventually, could be summed as one long playlist.

Imagine, as this song does, that my life is a song for Christ.

Imagine that I get up in the morning and begin singing. Singing through making breakfast and lunch. Singing as I volunteer in classes and ministry, greet friends, bring my children home and put them to bed. Imagine that the Holy Spirit’s song carries me with its lyrics and harmony. Imagine if I could live each day outside of myself and my selfish desires, riding on that spirit. Imagine how sweet the rest to be singing even as I fall asleep. There’s a difference there, between living for Christ and singing for Christ.

May ours ears be opened to that song, that we may bring that sweet music to the whole world.

Hello Kitty is harder to let go

I donated K’s first bike today. It was a Hello Kitty bike–I had to drive to Temecula to get it, it was so popular. No wonder, since it had streamers on the handlebars and a baby seat on the back. She learned to ride without training wheels on that bike. I took it from the car, picturing that beautiful little thing riding furiously, a wide-as-a-rainbow grin stretched upon her face. My eyes caught the little purple label still attached–one of her baby labels, repurposed for protection on preschool bike day. She was a baby, then a preschooler with a baby-seat-sporting training bike, and now she has outgrown it all, and it’s going into a bin with our George Foreman grill, the biker-girls bike seat, and a bag of old clothes.

I wept.

As much as I try to understand and appreciate seasonality, my heart still aches as the seasons shift. I love that she’s growing, reading, riding her brother’s old bike. I love that she calls me her buddy now, that she has become my cooking companion. But even Jesus wept (John 11:35) at this world, at the impossible gap between the temporal nature of earth and the eternity for which we were meant. Oh yes, every one of those aches makes me remember that we are not meant for this world, with its rapid passing of time. I could just as easily pine for any of those discarded items, they are tied with memories of time past.

Instead, I think about that verse, the shortest verse in the bible, and the power within it. We can be sad, too, even as Jesus was sad. We can mourn those losses. And then we can remember what they point us to, and praise Jesus that someday, there will be no more letting go.

The best, though not always most comfortable

Policy, that is. Which is honesty. I’m big on honesty, which is why even my less-close acquaintances often know about my many faults. This one I bared in honor of my dear friend, Heather, whose notion of little yeses has changed my whole perspective on possibility. Check out my confession here, and then stick around Heather’s blog for the much more interesting story of how she’s moved her young family to Argentina for a season. Kind of makes eating an Oreo sound very boring-American, but we are what we are, and we can’t all be amazing in the very same ways. Maybe I’m just amazingly honest.

Happy 2013!

Happy New Year!

2012 brought what most years seem to: change, growth, things discovered and things missed. K started kindergarten (and reading), and loves it. She’s made tons of new little friends and continues to grow those relationships between school, Daisies, and play dates. She also moved up in her gymnastics class and still amazes us with her balance and strength. M began second grade. He’s the strongest reader in his class and couples that with writing his own books at home. Not only that, but he also started playing basketball and soccer without missing a beat on his tae kwon do. It’s so fun to see them building skills in so many different areas.

B and I put in new floors in the house and managed to keep our garden beds filled all year, thanks to some crazy overwintering plants and random potato patches. We also found a new church closer to home, and B has already begun serving in their music ministry. Together we took a fantastic vacation to Florida–even more fantastic than expected. I love when things turn out that way. As for me, I lost a few friends and gained some new ones. I also put away the scale and committed to respecting my body (which included two fantastic new tattoos).

On the resolution front, I definitely made progress on my goals, growing in my relationship with God and continuing to work on the areas in which I still struggle. Still, it’s never as much as I want to see accomplished. I still run late, still have trouble resting, still lose my temper. The tiny steps I make seem so hard to appreciate.

Sometimes I think I try to hard. There’s so much I want to change, develop, and master that I often feel worn down by the enormity of the task. I’m complicating a simple God with a simple purpose.

This year, then, I have only one resolution: to truly delve into what it means to live light. To let go of the things that weigh me down. To live so that I see things through God’s light, so that others might see His light in me. As a consequence, I hope that living light allows me to love more. Love God, love others, love myself. Love, love, love. Here’s to 2013, a year devoted to light and love.

A heaven-sent heaven song

What does it sound like when you sing heaven’s song
What does it feel like when heaven comes down
What does it look like when God is all around
Let it come

This is what it sounds like when you sing heaven’s song
This is what it feels like when heaven comes down
This is what it looks like when God is all around
Let it come*

We sang this song in church a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, especially in this hectic holiday season. I work so hard to keep God at the head of my life, to find and follow Him in every moment. And I do, sometimes. And I also fail. A lot.

This song gives me hope.

What I trying to do, it’s beautiful. Even when I fail. Following God is not easy, and none of us will do it perfectly. That messiness, it’s what it’s going to look like sometimes.┬áLet God come, let the stumbling life of a committed Christian come as well.

*Words/music by Brian Johnson