I got up at least 6 times throughout the night last night and my cranky was at a level 4, but not quite defcon level 5.
It’s been like this every night for almost a week now. I don’t know that I remember how to have a newborn in the house again. But that drive kicks in and we do what we do because that’s what love does.
To be clear, I am not always appreciative of the opportunity to be tested in my patience or my grace. In fact, while getting my mom patient dressed this morning I may or may not have told her that I would suffocate her if she didn’t start sleeping at night. She knew I was kidding, but for the real, I am whooped.
I cannot help but see how God sees me again and again, doing the same dumb things that cause trouble or pain or rattle my peace. He keeps loving me when I keep Him up all night, I am sure.
And the next morning He wakes me up to continue to live and love loudly knowing that before nightfall my patience will be tested and I will also have the chance to love bigger. Like making a fancy breakfast for the one that keeps me up all night, He loves big and loves when I am exhausting because He so loves me and you as well.
He loves still. He loves despite and He loves because love does.
So, I invite you to reflect and share about the times you are exhausted and your peace has been rattled. Do you choose to love bigger and louder? How do you change the trajectory of your day and perspective when you’re whooped? Can you see yourself and others through the eyes of grace?
So, today I moved my mom in with me. I knew when God said that He wanted me to trust Him and do this that I would choose to respond.
There was some arguing and whining about what it would cost me, but in truth what it cost me (emotionally and physically, not financially) is far less than what it has already gained me. I didn’t do it because of the benefit to me in any way, I did it because God says love Him and love others. She is an other no matter our history.
And so, today I settled her in, made her lunch and helped her shower. I was hit with the image of Jesus washing His disciples feet as I washed her hair. It was in that moment that I gained another HUGE perspective about choosing the response He would ask me to. Choosing the response that looks past so many things and sees your incredibly sick mother as another piece of His handiwork and having compassion for her and the things she didn’t choose as I would have it.
Choosing to see the incredible love and compassion that He has for me. A broken sinner, learning to live loved and love like Jesus.
Today was a special day and affirmation that His plans are always better than my own.
My encouragement for you today, dear loved ones, no matter who or what you believe is to see those around you with the eyes of compassion. Check to see if there are places and relationships in your life that you may not be choosing the best response for them or for you and then choose to adjust if needed.
I did this to myself and now I am reaping what I have sown.
Have you ever said that to yourself? Yeah, me too. Recently, I find myself beating myself up a little bit about a choice that was SO DANG GOOD for me. I took a break, went a little wild and took a little trip to my favorite place on earth and that should be a really, really good thing. It was. It is.
The problem is that I have a difficult time making sure I am doing what I need to do for myself and when I do things that might disappoint someone else, then I start second-guessing my choices and decisions to do what I am confident is the right thing for me. Maybe you are a recovering people-pleaser codependent that can understand this concept. Let me remind you that self-care is not selfish. Repeat that a few times in case you forget it.
E V E R Y single time I return from my home state, I feel a little blue and down and out of sorts. The upside is that I am normally past that state of being in a few days. This time, it’s been a lot different.
Here are the facts:
Exhibit A-We are in a pandemic and it is wise to limit interaction with other human beings whenever possible to slow the spread and flatten the curve.
Exhibit B-This means that life as we know it is blown to you-know-what.
Exhibit C-Mental health is important and I am losing my ever-loving mind being cooped up in my house where I get to work all day, clock out, hang out, and get up and do it all again five days a week.
Exhibit D-It does not appear that this is going to let up any time soon. Sigh. So we all have choices to make.
Exhibit E-We get to decide how we live the life we have been given, who we spend our time with and how we go about loving the people around us.
So, I am deciding what it looks like to do what God wants me to do. Love Him, love others and that includes me. That includes you. I am reaping what I have sown and, with His help, in the very best way possible. I am reaping what He has sown into me and how He created me to be.
The God we know will be with us wherever we go. I know He is with us while we play house in our houses, and don’t hear what I am not saying. I am not saying I am ungrateful for the opportunity to work from home, slow down, and really pray and think about what God wants to teach me in the middle of this. If there’s anything I have learned that He will hold open the door while we decide which ones to knock down and which ones to go around; which ones to kick down and which ones to walk through.
He is in it with us no matter what choices we make during this time. This time that we cannot really seem to get away from talking about. I remember when it started that it was just going to be a couple of weeks or a month at most. That was precious, now wasn’t it?
What doors do you need to kick down? What doors do you need to go around? What adjustments do you need to make to keep yourself sane and healthy?
You just never know when life will throw a curveball your way and recently I took a big swing at one. I am not sure, yet if I hit it out of the park or it stayed infield, but I hit the ball.
I found myself choosing to make a choice instead of outweighing every.single.possible.scenario and to remember that no matter what, He was with me. I talked about it with some of my favorite people and when I did, I felt Him.
Now, let me just say that I knew that the choice I was making was complex and that it could very well turn out with me asking myself, “Well, how many times are you going to put your hand on a hot stove knowing you get burned.” Instead, I felt empowered to choose and fully aware of the consequences of making a choice either way. I also knew that it could lead to some judgment, shame and rejection.
Before, I stepped to the plate I chose to reach out and talk about what I was thinking about. I not only talked about it, I prayed about it. And although God did not give me a clear go ahead, what He did give me was “I go with you and there is nothing you could ever do that would make me love you less.” Not permission, but affirmation that He has never walked away from me when I have completely struck out.
I felt affirmed in His love for me despite my weakness and failures.
And I chose and I did it. And then I ran through a checklist (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) to ask myself questions. Nowhere in that checklist was, “Why did you do that? You know better?” and nowhere in that was, “You should probably not tell anyone about this.”
The beautiful thing is that I am not attached to shame for this choice or any of the other previous choices or any of the probable poor choices I will most likely make at some point in my life again. Am I proud? No. Am I full of shame and self-loathing? Also no.
When you break free of shame, and instead feel convicted you tend to do the next right thing. I did that. I did not hide. I did not pretend I didn’t do it and I most certainly did not put myself into a shame cycle. I made a choice and now I choose to live with the outcome. I cannot claim victimhood when I am the one who chose to swing the bat.
I talked about it with the same trusted friends. And you know what, once again affirmed. Not necessarily affirmed in the choice, but affirmed in not only His love for me but their love for me. Graciously speaking the truth in love and loving me where I am. That’s more affirmation than I could ever ask for or deserve.
But God, He redeems. He loves. And He gives us the opportunity to recognize His hand in everything including the times when we choose something that is not necessarily what He wants for us.
And although I will still choose to take this one day at a time, I am both humbled and affirmed that I need a Savior, will never live up to my own standards let alone His. Thank you Jesus for your redeeming grace and mercy!
As much as I am going to fail, with Him, I cannot lose. We win or we learn. With Jesus, we cannot lose. I am affirmed in my choice to be my whole, real, messy self and not hide from the pieces of me that still need work.