Friday, January 14, 2011

It's good in the hood.

So, I think I've figured out my angst. I've been so EMO lately. I don't like it, I don't understand it and I can't really predict it. I am truly in the most unchartered season of my life. But I think it is a combination of some very big things happening in my family. Growing from 2 to 3 is a challenge, but what was bothering me is that I don't remember the season being "this long" or this hard." But I think one of the toughest things I am challenged with right now is that both of my big kids are enrolled in school. I did not realize how "big" of a job it is to have my kids in school. The amount of support kids need when they are in preschool seems miniscule compared to what happens with all of the variables of when they venture into the public school system. My kids have been pretty sheltered. I have to admit it, We lived in a pretty secluded place in the valley. Not a neighborhood where kids ventured off to their friends homes. My kids played with each other and their friends from church. That's about it. And when we do things as a family we usually do them with other people in the church. The same friends who operate similar to us. They have similar parenting techniques, we agree on some of the same basics. But now, my kids are being influenced by other people. People who don't believe what I believe. Kids who's parents do not teach them the same things I teach them. My kids LOVE their school. Their teachers are great. But I am learning that I have to trust God in this process. These teachers are amazing, they tell me things I never noticed about my kids. They tell me other strengths that are blooming out of them, they point out areas of struggle and partner with me to support my kids. But I HAVE TO be paying attention. It would be very easy to put my kids in school and just have the mentality that the school will do the rest. But I have to ask questions, of my kids and the teachers, I have to be listening, attend meetings, participate and mostly support. I have to watch relationships, make appointments and stand my ground in some scenarios. It is a big job, but one I know is worth it. God did not call me to keep my kids home with me. I know that I am certain having them in the school district now is what he would have me do. But I have this sense of responsibility to support and love the staff and teachers who are investing in my kids. They are good people who want the same things I do for my child. My job is not to critique or criticize HOW they do it, but as a parent to support them while they are doing it.

I take my kids seriously. My family is my number one priority. So I guess I didn't realize how much I would need to invest, sacrifice and contribute to support my kids while they were in school. I didn't realize how having less control over their lives was going to impact me. My kids sometimes have to learn lessons without me hovering over them. They have to fail and face consequences that were not my consequences. They have to succeed and do it on their own. I love my kiddos no matter what they do. It is the kind of love I am beginning to understand, the kind of love I want them to know and the kind of love that will sustain them through their lifetime.

Funny story about Toby:

Today Toby told me that two boys were fighting at recess. They were at a quiet table in the lunch room. Toby walked up to them and told them it was all going to be OK if they have "God in their heart." That "God would help them if they asked him to help." He made the boys promise to be nice to one another and made them shake on it. My son Toby has had HIMSELF in a world of trouble these past couple of weeks... and we have been praying together A LOT. So it warmed my heart when he told me he was ministering to his friends the words I spoke to HIM this week.

So, although I have been a little challenged, frustrated and EMO. I thank you for listening. I thank you for your grace and I pray that God just continues to show me how faithful and loving he is. I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me. right?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Is it OK to be NOT OK?

So, I am writing this not as a complaint, mostly as a memo, a pondering a point of view. I have been irritated lately. And I have been in a lot of prayer. I have been seeking God, listening and asking Him for guidance. I haven't felt any of the fruits of the spirit. My flesh has been weak. And by weak I mean... crabby, tired, selfish, whiney the list could go on and on. And believe me, I don't like it when I feel this way. Here's the thing and on top of just plain feeling yucky... I've felt GUILTY about feeling yucky. So on top of feeling like I am a gross, tired, yucky, angry, impatient child of God... I was starting to feel really BAD about myself and the fact I could not snap out of it.

Now, MANY factors are feeding into my inability to be spiritually at peace. My pace is so fast. And to be perfectly honest I am still not used to it. I still struggle with it personally and struggle with the fact my family is in it. My 1.5 year old blessing is a lot to handle with two kids in school who have busy schedules and need much more guidance, parenting and time. We are constantly looking at our finances and our money matters. Mind you, I have an amazing and wonderful flexible schedule. By no means is anyone at the church making me feel like I have to operate at 500 miles per hour. It is a pace I put on myself and expectations I carry for my own perception of success. It is all my own doing... (another reason to feel the guilt). I am writing this because I wonder if other women feel the same way and I just need to put this out there.

So, I am a Christian woman... beautifully and wonderfully made. But is it OK for me to NOT BE OK? And just be operating in my flesh and bugged and annoyed and irritated and working through some things with the Lord?

Circa 10 years ago... my husband and I never went to church regularly. We lived in our own little bubble, struggled alone, rejoiced as a couple, mourned as a couple we really never let anyone in unless it was stuff we "wanted" them to see. We kept our friends at a close enough distance to feel close but never was TRULY vulnerable to them to see our "blemishes" the things we struggled with... our hurts and our pains.

I have to say that now that I am HAPPILY involved with a church and a church family... it is tough. It is just darn tooting stinking tough. Because whether we like it or not, people are getting to know us at a deep personal level. A level that requires us to be honest about the good the bad and the ugly of who we are. It requires us to take a look in the mirror and seek God to help us with all of it. It is hard to disappoint people, be honest, be tired, be bugged when I know so many people all around me are going through so much and need to be ministered to while I myself need ministering to.

Thankfully, God has surrounded me with the exact recipe I need to help me walk through this uncomfortable time. I have people who speak truth into my life in a very loving way (modeling this for me in my life) I have people who encourage me, support me and serve alongside me with such passion and excitement I am blown away. I have people who know what a "mess" I am and choose to let me lead them in this church. I have an amazing staff who are patient, give me grace and point out to me my strengths. The reason it is so hard is that for so long I want to make sure the other people around me are comfortable. I am not trusting that God is going to take care of them, love them even when I cannot fully provide them all they need.

But I'm a stinking mess. And truly... it's not fun for me to say... but I better get used to it. Because if I wasn't, I wouldn't need "My Jesus" to walk me through this mess and see me to the other side of it. He will do that... I might get in the way of it here and there... but I am sure he will do it. :)