I have very much become a person of the present, many times to a fault. Looking forward into the future comes along at a snail speed for me these days. Staring down at the step just before me, slowing down, & soaking in is my new normal. I welcome this new pace after many years of running hard after who knows what. Motherhood & entering my 30’s has wrecked me in some delightful ways. So today I “should” probably be making big goals for 2015, but for now I am relishing in the freedom offered by Emily P. Freeman of Chatting at the Sky to share + link up with her What I have Learned in 2014.
1. 2014 wins over 2013 for our family, yet I would not take any of it back.
Last year in 2013 I was grieving the loss of a friend, grandparents, our dog, & our house. Loss blanketed my life (both big & small) while at the same time, some beautiful seeds were being planted in the soil of my soul. Life felt dark, heavy, & yet cracks of light burst through in each of my days. It was through those gifts that the warmth of His presence was felt & my Hope was found. 2014 brought different kinds of disappointment, but it also brought great JOY as the seeds began to bloom & I was able to gain a glimpse into the beautiful tapestry our Creator was threading through my story.
Here is a bit about: longing
2. Switching blog space after 5+ years is disorienting.
I started blogging when I found out I was pregnant with my first son who is almost 6 years old in 2008. It was an outlet for me to connect with friends & family when we moved to a new town to go on Young Life staff as a young married couple. I wrote without an agenda, freely, openly, & with many family photos + details. It was the creative outlet I needed with little community of my own just yet in this new season. Upon opening M+H I decided I wanted to make that site private & begin a new one for a more public eye. I am still navigating how to find my voice again after the switch up, so thank you for your patience as I ride this new horse!
3. Having a 1, 3, & 5 year old is daunting & yet doable. We are finding rhythm.
I wasn’t sure how to get my head above water when we first had our 3rd baby when my middle was just 18 months old back in early 2013. Our whole family was sick when we brought her home from the hospital so we were quarantined to the bedroom for her first week of life. It was a gift in many ways to soak in the new, freshness of a newborn that would most likely be our last. I grieved the thought of this being my last pregnancy, labor, and delivery that week while I stared into her trusting eyes & played dress up with her tiny threads. It has taken some time, nearly two years, but somewhere in the middle of 2014 we settled into this parenting-while-being-outnumbered art. I love these three little people & sharing the chaotic beauty of it all with Ben. Sure the laundry piles up, the making food is nonstop, & the messes are many, but overall they bring us such great JOY!
4. Community matters. We must fight for it.
We have lived in Davidson for almost 5 years now doing Young Life here in Lake Norman. We have lived in 4 houses, had 2 more babies, given up a beloved pup, & delved deep into the people of this place. We love it here & feel so blessed to call this town home. Our kids literally cheer when we travel & come back down the highway & spot the lake because we can all take a deep breath & rest, for we are HOME here. The taste of community we have had is just a glimmer of the connection I know we will feel one day beyond this broken world. We are part of a thriving church plant, sweet supper club, playful preschool, & generous neighborhood. It’s not perfect and many days it seems the brokenness is just piling up all around us as we hear the personal stories of friends battling sickness, finances, competition, loss, anxiety, depression, and disappointment. Yet on the other side, we see His hand all over each of them & us! We crave community & we must fight for it in the midst of work, family, & ministry for it offers so much goodness!
5. My heart breaks for the broken… in myself & others.
As I listed off the brokenness above my heart grew weary for the people within a mile radius of where I sit to type & those across the world who are experiencing brokenness. Life, simply put, isn’t easy. Leaning hard into our Creator seems to be the only answer for the true peace that comes from the One who made us. I look in other places daily & it always leaves me unsettled, anxious, & still seeking. When I flip through His promises & sing of His powerful grace, I feel a warm wash of peace over me deep down.
6. Writing isn’t just sitting down & writing… I “write” moment to moment.
About a year ago I started writing more regularly. I have this burning thats been stirring in me for quite some time to get the ramblings in my mind down on paper. I have had times of frustration that it seems there is no time for me to sit & do this, but I have realized that the writing is happening inside me as I see, watch, soak in, & sometimes make memos on my iPhone. I mentioned above that my blogging slowed upon the switch of spaces from hazelhive to M+H & I quickly missed that time to intentionally reflect in the disorientation. After attending the keynote sessions of SheSpeaks by Lysa Terkeurst in Concord last summer (thank you Laurie!) & my first writer’s circle led by Emily Freeman & Christa Wells in Charlotte, the writers block ceased! I found new fuel to keep going as I heard about the process of these women & many others. I am so thankful for the gift of both of those carved out times to gain perspective on my writing process.
7. Feeding my soul, feeds others.
In 2012 I had our middle son & jumping from one toddler to a toddler + a newborn forced me to seek a new way of connecting with out Creator. I needed something quick & easy for moments I could steal away while nursing or waking up in the morning before someone needed something. The timing of SheReadsTruth‘s birth was perfect & I started day1 & have not turned back. I supplement my study of the Bible through this website (& now app!) with various books, songs, conversations, journaling, etc. but it is the jumpstart for my day. It is the handy help I need as a working mom on the go! This song by Christa Wells is a favorite from her album Feed My Soul that reminds me that in order to love well, I must take the time to feed my soul!
Here is a bit about: soul care
8. We are in this ministry thing for life.
I think there comes a time when a family is in full-time ministry where you kind of look at each other without really saying any words and ask: are we in this for the long haul? I think the last 5 years have solidified our call to Young Life for us for life (or until it’s clear we feel called to something else)! Having 3 kids back to back, wondering how our ends will meet financially every month, scrambling at times to supplement our income as our family has grown, & yet keep the peace has been hard. It feels like we have been climbing a mountain that just kept growing taller at times. Thankfully, the kids are growing & we are growing along side them from inside! We have learned so much about life, money, friends, family, margin, balance, peace, how to argue & get back on the same page. We struggle everyday in at least one of these areas—but we are more fully convinced every day of our imperfections & our deep NEED for the One who made us. That is what keeps us going.
9. My other (better) half sharpens me like no other.
Ben, my husband of almost 9 years, knows me & loves me anyway. It is this crazy thing that we get the opportunity to look at each other every morning, start anew, & strive to love each other unconditionally. He is so patient and kind with me as I navigate my identity as a woman, wife, friend, sister, daughter, mother, counselor, writer, and child of our Creator. I mess up everyday in a million ways. He calls me out & pushes me into the arms of Jesus, & I try to do the same for him. I can’t imagine doing life without him by my side. It just keeps getting sweeter… that is of course after he calls me out, I get mad, go to Jesus, and then come back to him to say… yep you were right.
10. I am loved, just as I am (and so are you!).
& that is where freedom is found!