Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Big Dreams & Little Hands

I became a mother quickly. I was so young when I had my first daughter; it came as a shock to be thrust into motherhood right on the heels of girlhood. I cannot ever say I regret it or wish it had been different. I am eternally grateful to have had her early, because she kept me grounded, helped me realize what it felt like to unconditionally love someone who is so deeply a part of you, and to motivate me to want better for myself in order to want better for her, as well. She was a miracle with perfect timing and purpose.

My second daughter was another miracle. Complications were supposed to have rendered her existence impossible. I am so glad that, even when we see no way, God makes a way when He chooses to do so. Out of a pain and loss too heavy and unimaginable for words, she was born to bring a love and light I cannot live without.

As I am watching them grow, now, into the young women they will become, I can’t describe the awed wonder and the painful love with which I look at them. It twists my heart and steals my breath each time I see them mature a bit more into the ladies of whom I am so proud.

Out of all the things in this world I would have shape and mold me, it is these: to be a fraction of the mother I had and to be a mother worthy of my children. There is a massive responsibility in helping to shape and mold their lives into the people, and perhaps mothers, they will become. It is through them, also, God has truly taught me the depth and patience of His love for me—for us.

I have not always said and done the things I wish I had. I’ve not always been the person I wish now I would have. But I have always and will ever love my children. To understand that God’s love for us is so much bigger than what I feel, even for my children, is almost incomprehensible. And it leaves me eternally and humbly grateful.

And, so, it is my wish that when I am old, I will look upon my daughters with joy, pride, and thankfulness to God for the women they’ve grown into. It’s my dearest wish for them to know, above all, I have loved them, but God has loved them more.

Of Mice and Men and Me

I like having a plan!

Spontaneity has never been a problem for me. I am more than willing to jump in the car for a last-minute ROOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAADDDDD TRIIIIIIIIIP!!!  I will ride along with no particular destination in mind.

But when it comes to big things in life, I like to know what's coming. I make my little plans. I set my little time lines. I weigh out all my little decisions and ...

Fate laughs.

God keeps showing me, over and over, I only have an illusion of control. Of course, I believe we control our own destinies with the choices we make. However, I also believe God has a purpose for us. Sometimes, most times maybe, what we have in mind is not what He's intended. And so He let's us make our plans, set our time tables, lay out our lives- and then He says, "Now, let me show you what I'm going to do."

There was a time, not too long ago, the thought of letting go and letting it all be completely freaked me out. I had an innate need to feel like I was driving my life. I've come to realize that's all it ever was: a feeling.

Liberation is intoxicating, and there is a definite freedom in allowing life to simply BE, sometimes.

Granted, I still like lists. I still over-analyze. I think it's part of my charm (ha!! I'll work on my self-delusion, next).

But, I get it now. Let life come. The getting there is beautiful in and of itself. The blueprints we lay out for ourselves often have to be scratched and gutted halfway through. Life is a series of instances where we throw away all our intentions somewhere in the middle and start all over.

They often go awry, these best-laid plans of mice & men & me.
I'm learning to appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weeds, Mud, & Love

My heart thinks it's spring.

I have the urge to get out and muck around in the dirt. This is surprising, mostly because I kill any plant I've ever tried to grow. I murdered a cactus, once.

I'm almost positive it has less to do with any green thumb I don't possess, and more to do with the fact I've been pruning my life, lately. I started a new job a few months ago. It's physical; it's exhausting; it's stressful. And so, of course, I love it. It couldn't be more different than teaching. That may be part of the appeal. I've found parts of myself I didn't know were there. I've strengthened pieces of myself that needed to be nurtured. There's a value in it which I appreciate. I take pride in it.

Too often, we tie our sense of self-worth to who we think we are and the jobs we do. I was guilty of this. When I was no longer teaching, I handed away a large portion of my identity and value. I felt I had failed and was stripped of myself, somehow. Over the past few months, something paradoxical has happened. As I've dragged home exhausted from lifting, tugging, sweating in a dusty warehouse, I managed to find more of myself than I ever lost. There's a joy in doing a job well, whatever it may be. There's a satisfaction in knowing the value comes, not necessarily from the function itself, but from the drive to be and do the best you can. The comparison is not to others, but to the inner standards I set. Can I go home at night and look myself in the eye, knowing I did the best I could do? My best. That's where my value lies.

Snip, snip...trim away the illusions I'd carried.

I've also been cutting away the dead growth of my relationships, pruning to open up my time, energy, and affections to those people who can and could mean something to my life...and I to theirs.

There are those people who, in the garden of life, function as weeds. They choke growth. They steal the sunshine from our days. They suck out all the hope and joy and laughter. They're insidious-spreading quickly into our lives and taking root wherever we'll let them. And where they sprouted, I saw myself wither and begin to die. Life has taught me one thing very well in the past few years. Pluck them out quickly. And, so, I have.

Now, after the way has been cleared, it's time to water and feed what's left: the things and people who make me want to be better.

These are the plants entitled to real estate in my heart.

Spring cleaning my head and sure beats mopping, any day.