Saturday, March 26, 2016

PS - Since The Day Isn't Done Yet!

Friends... someone let me know that my earlier post "It's Lunch Time and I'm Done" rubbed them the wrong way pretty badly because I didn't put a happy spin on it. 

I understand that. It was glum. No denying. 

So, let me be clear (and hopefully in being clear, I can also bring light to why I write in the first place)...

I write for myself. It helps me work through feelings. That's why I write MORE when I'm struggling and usually just post happy pictures on Facebook when I'm doing fine. 

The reason I share what I write on Facebook is for those of you who need someone to stand up and say, "Yes I have a happy home, healthy kids, safe country, good food, blessed beyond belief... but this day was a DIASTER. It is hard to mom. I just is. No matter what that looks like." 

I splash my weaknesses all over the internets so that the isolated strugglers out there know that they're not alone. 
I "promote" my experience, not because I think my experience is great. Not because I think you should take a lesson from it... but because I don't want anyone experiencing something similar to feel like they're the only one failing hard all alone on the kitchen floor. I feel like it's bigger than me. 

If I have learned anything in the past few years it is that (for me) suffocating a struggle under happy spins will only make it grow. You can't stay in your struggle. You have to work toward bravery and actively pick up your chin. But being honest and leaning into a difficult moment is like diving into cold water. It only hurts for a minute. Then you come up refreshed and you start to swim up stream again. 

If it bothers you (anyone out there) or you think it's stupid that I struggle in the middle of my miraculously good life, believe me, I'm right there with you. 

I'm learning to accept that maybe I'm just weaker than the average person... and not despise myself for that. 
I'm learning to accept my mind isn't as strong. 
That my will can be very weak, my nerves very fragile, my energy very low. 
Yes, I work against those things on many levels, but I continue to be less strong than many others I love and admire. 

I admit that I'm not the steadiest ship in the sea. But I'm still floating. I choose to celebrate that. I think sometimes it's just better to salute the efforts toward strength rather than criticizing the failures. I didn't always think that way... I used to be kind of a judgmental, pious bitch. Now I think just waking up and doing the basics is beautiful! And I think saying "This sucked hard" is beautiful too. Because it's the first step in standing back up.

We're in this together. All different. All the same. Different experiences... same general road. 

Sometimes I'll be strong enough to be hopeful. 
Sometimes I'm going to be a big mope. 

Take what feeds your soul and forget the rest. Because I love you. xoxo

It's Only Lunch Time... and I'm Done

My 3 year old climbed into bed with me at the crack of dawn.
He held up his thumb and pointer finger indicating a very tiny measurement and said, "I leaked in my bed a lil bit."

The little one wakes up and wants to nurse and fondle me. Because I am his property.
The big one is mad because he wants "blue cereal" and "red milk" and I'm too slow for his taste.
I must have slept wrong after feeding the little one at 4 am, because I can't raise my left arm without a blinding flash of white hot pain.

Strip the bed.
Wash the sheets.
Vacuum baking soda out of the mattress... because he leaked a "lil bit" last night too and the waterproof liner is in the wash.

Make everyone breakfast... which I didn't eat... because I can't lose weight. And yesterday I binged because I always feel empty. Not appetite. Hunger. Not need. Want.

Already feeling maxed out, I sat down with my cup of coffee.
One quiet moment before a long day of abuse.

But no.

I have a gravitational force that is very powerful.
I attract all the living bodies in this family.
They orbit me perpetually.
My magnetic pull draws them in... only the nearness of skin to skin will do... or there will be screaming.

In the process of orbiting as close to me as possible, my hot coffee (as yet un-sipped) was dumped into my lap. A scalding reminder that nothing is sacred. That I am owned. That I am a need filler first foremost and forever.

Comfort the scalded baby.
Wash my shirt.
Scrub the rug.
Redress baby... and he pooped.
Re-brew the coffee.
Do the dishes.
And it's lunch time... and the floor is littered... and I'm sweeping and washing pots and where do all these dirty spoons come from? And I'm trying to tally up the budget on the bathroom rennovation, and I feel like rather than being praised for the savings I have studied so long to find, I am being judged for spending money at all... and I feel that my best efforts are not enough...

And then the baby crawls onto the table... lifts a precious family treasure into the air and hurls it off the table... and it shatters.

And I'm sweeping again and mopping... and there is sauce splattered on the wall... and the big boy is behind me whining "Why? What happened? Why?"

And I cry.

I just stop and weep and shudder.
The snot drips down into the pile of dirt and broken ceramics and I'm paralyzed by the paralysis of my life.

Sometimes there is joy. But it is sweet and tender and hard to capture in words.
And sometimes there is this aching sorrow so thick and heavy that only words can swim the soul upward and out of it.

Rescue me...
That's my gasping cry to no one. That's my desperate wish that no one can answer.

I have gone so low.
I have become such a meaningless moment in history.
I am the rug on which the future of the world wipes it's feet.

I have one hope... that the pain in bearing children is not the way it was meant to be... and one day the Lord will redeem my life. If it were not for this hope I would never be able to stand up under this endless, repetitive, mundane, messy, fruitless battering against the rocks of my own futility.

One day I will try and succeed. Try and succeed. Try and succeed.

Until then, Lord store my tears in your bottle...
Let their bitterness remind us, you and I together, of this valley. And the valley will make sweetness sweeter.

Remember me, O God, according to your steadfast love.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


You don't have to matter or endure.
You don't have to last on through the night that takes us all.
One corner of the sky
Quilted to one thousand carbon corners
is all you're called to carry in your hands.
You are the tiny universe
that lays in your lap linked
to every universe that lays in the lap of ages.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Calling" is Not So Complicated

Dude... can we talk about not being enough and how wild it is that sometimes that's exactly what we need to bring to the table?

This week I've been preparing to speak/facilitate at a women's silence retreat.
And honestly I'm all, "Damn, y'all! What do I know about silence?!?!" (PS, Jesus does not mind that I occasionally cuss, because he knows it's in my head anyway. He did create language in all it's many colors. It does serve all kinds of useful purposes. That's all. Ok bye.) 

For days and days my sense of Inadequacy was translating into a feeling of Disqualification.

I know no things... therefore I should say no things.

I have no qualifications... therefore I should shut up.

And loudest of all, the voice that says: I'm a fraud. I'm a fake. I'm a poser. I'm a liar.

It's been a struggle FUR REAL.

Surely this opportunity landed in my lap by some horrible cosmic whoopsy daisy!?
Surely I should kindly and gently correct the universe's (read: God's) mistake by turning the opportunity down!?
Surely that would be the better Christian thing to do... humbly admit that I am not enough and step aside?

But here's what keeps calling to me out of the swirling clouds of self doubt...

"Dearest Inadequate, 
All I ask is that you show up with what you have."

Are we not waaaay too obsessed with "calling" these days, friends? Heavens!
Are we not waaaay too often like, "I want to do the thing, but I don't want to do the thing unless I know that I'm 'CALLED' to do the thing." And we stop.

We want to be so loudly beckoned onto a particular path and constantly confirmed along the way.
We want to be affirmed and affirmed and affirmed so that we can be fully confident that we have not stepped away from the will of the Lord....
And, Ya'll, I am really beginning to believe that he's like, "Errrm, I'm pretty sure that mostly I just asked you to walk by faith and not my sight. So, could you just... maybe... like, step into the opportunities I've presented with a little more boldness?
Could you just maybe use the strengths you have been given in little ways for starters?
Could you just maybe show up in faithfulness and trust me to take care of the rest?"

Got two fish and fives loaves of bread?
How about we get together and fed 5000 people?
How about at the end of this you stand back and say, "I brought almost nothing... so I know who deserves the glory here. But I brought something! I was faithful to show up. Hallelujah and bless my heart."

All that we have, we have been given. Whatever we are, we are beautifully, wonderfully made and there is a need for our voice, our presence, our smile. However battered. No matter how scarred. No matter how lacking. No matter how bumbling. No matter how small.

Bringing our little piece to the puzzle... Operating in our strengths... That's what it means to have a "calling". It doesn't mean Loud Voice Saying GO! It doesn't mean Everyone Applauding! It doesn't mean the road signs shouting THIS WAY.

It means saying "Yes, ok" to our strengths, and "Yes, ok" to taking them where they are needed.
No matter how uncertain we feel about that "Yes."

Maybe God will call you to say "Yes, ok" once... maybe twice... maybe a thousand times.
Maybe God will call you to say "Yes, ok" and you will become wildly famous for what you do! The names we all recognize. The lives that make us Jelly. Or maybe you'll be totally invisible and only your life will be shaped by your "Yes, ok."
Maybe God will call you to say "Yes, ok" and your obedience will produce vast recognizable results... or maybe it will just mildly brush up against one small heart.

The small is not less. The last will be first. His is a kingdom for the least of these.

The victory is in "Yes, ok."
The beauty is in, "No, I will not waste the light."
The rest is beyond you, dear one.
The results are not your deal.
Pressure is off.

What is my calling? To show up and do what I can.
So, on Saturday that means I will be teaching a bunch of women from the Word of God... and feeling wildly under-qualified and woefully inadequate and waaaay reluctant... but thankful that He equips and He uses and "Yes, ok."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Mess Speaks

I'm pretty sure people who follow my blog will never want to have children.

But if you read my friend's blog (over at Tall Pine Nest <--link), you'll be jonesing to crank out #allthebabies ASAP. Cauuuse, I mean. Seriously. Adorable. With the poetry and the candles and the library books. Bless. On my very best day, I'm not this cute.

Here's the thing... both stories are telling the truth.
Yes, Susanne really is that "with it" and her life really is that beautiful.
Yes, I really am this conflicted and scattered and melodramatic. In fact, my life is probably more messy than I share... because a girl's gotta have SOME pride. Sheesh. (We shall not speak of how my kitchen floor is coated in so much sand it could almost grow crops.)

She is calm and elegant. I am wild and chaotic. We are both living into who we are... trying to do so in the best way we can.

My daily struggle is to not be a total mess. BUT in the midst of this, I have found a bigger quest: To see the Beautiful in the Mess. To accept daily that all does not need to be polished, pinterest quality, picture worthy, and pristine to be priceless. To be worthy! To leave a legacy.

But sometimes I really doubt myself.
Sometimes I can't see it.
I just can't.

That's why I haven't been writing.

Sometimes I can't see the beauty that's hidden in the avocado and oatmeal covered EVERYTHING that is my life.

Sometimes this beautiful mess just looks like... a mess.
A conflicted, distracted pile of LESS.
A mound of Not Enough.
A mountain of Inadequate.

Sometimes it's clear to me that heaven has given me a struggle + a voice so that I can tell a story that speaks to all our hearts. So that WE can stand strong together and say, "Yes!" to the beauty of an honest struggle. Yes to redemption in chaos. Yes to value without polish. Yes to each other wherever we are. Yes to grace.

But sometimes all I can see here is a loud mouthed whiner who overshares when she should be doing her dishes.

She should get herself together. She should quit sighing and start scrubbing. She should stop shaking her head and start shaking a leg. Maybe if you weren't writing a blog you wouldn't have small boy sized footprints on ev-er-y-thaaang. (Because boys have all the dirt. Always. And no judgement. Ever.)

There's truth on both sides. Right?
Really. I won't pretend that the negative perspective is just wrongheadedness. There's something there. There's a morsel of wisdom. Strength and weakness are often found on opposite sides of the same coin, right? It is good to pine toward the best version of ourselves... but we can't think that this means being someone else.

Being the Best Blair I can be does not mean being Susanne.

All we are, is all we are.

What I am is what I have to offer to you, dear ones. And you offer you. We're only whole together.

And what is more... Everything we have, we have been given. It is not for nothing that He has made you who you are today, and me who I am, and them who they are.

Letting our lives speak is, more often than not, about accepting the voice we have... raising it, even if it's not exactly singing in our favorite key. Even if we're not totally sure what song is being played and we're going pitchy in the chorus.

If we look at our songs in isolation, the off notes can be disheartening. But somehow, together, they make a lovely harmony. When my weakness lets your strength shine, and your weakness let's my voice speak... that's where big magic happens. That's when the mess becomes beautiful.

When I doubt myself, I'm usually just focusing on myself instead of us.
Will you remind me to raise my eyes?
Remind me to lift up my head like those ancient gates that the psalmist sang about, that the King of Glory may come in, strong and mighty.
Remind me that I am a handmaiden serving in a small corner of this big beautiful story, and don't worry because you're serving with me and together we've got it covered.

Remind me, every once in a while, that God can use my mess just as well as my strengths. That His power, with Paul, is made perfect in my weakness... because when I am weak, then I am strong. Remind me that my mess speaks.