Who’s listening? On writing and living a Story

The fog crept in steadily.

The morning was dreary, unusually dark; so much so that my son asked if the sun was coming today.

As I began my morning run I felt the drizzle soaking through the cloth on my arms, but it is unseasonably warm so my legs, bare to the elements, felt refreshed by the thick moist air.

I ran.  And I keep running not because I intend to win a race.  I ran, and I keep running not because there is anyone encouraging me along – though people are cheering, in my head and in my life.

I ran, and I keep running because I love myself.

Even as I have learned that I love myself and that I am quite beloved by God, I have my days.  Bad days when this doesn’t feel true.

The other day a reader said my writing “lacked heart.”  At first, it shook me.  The voice in my head murmuring and cloying, “You thought you had come so far.”

Sunday I heard the words again, the source Brennan Manning and a piece of a puzzle fell into place.  The first time I heard the words “I am the one Jesus loves” I physically recoiled away from the idea.  My heart, dry and rigid like clay left too long in the sun, broken into pieces already.  Those words didn’t offer solace, then.

Today I know they are true and I argue back.

I am loved!  I have a heart, soft and malleable.  I am full of passion and I can put my heart into words on the page and move people. 

But that cannot be why I write – for others to be moved, for others to approve, or for others to be impressed by my supposed ability.  And I cannot write what I am not living every day the passion and pain of motherhood, of being a Child of God, of being healed even as I am still broken, of God nursing me back to health over the last decade of depravity and addiction and a lifetime of sorrow.  I write my story not out of some psychological need, either.

I write what I am living even as I know I cannot write everything.  But write I do because I believe it will reach others in their inner dark spaces of which I know nothing specific, but I can imagine because the life I have lived; because I have walked the road of depression and a shaky unclear disbelieving heart.  I have lived the days, even years of not wanting to be alive.  I have been there and I am not there now and so I write.

I spoke it aloud to my husband, asking if he had read the piece.  What did he think?  Crushed, momentarily by my apparent “lack of heart” Wavering, slowly then I remembered the rest.  The fellow Redbud who said it was “brilliant” and all the rest who read and were moved and who wept. And I knew.  And I learned.

I cannot write for the reader.

I cannot write for my own personal health.

I cannot write for glory.

I must write because of the story inside, the story I have lived and still live daily.  The story is the gift and the sacrifice.  And if God is glorified in my weakness, this is why I write.

{Dust to Dust}

This is the week I learned that our children do not belong to us.
We are not gods, to create a small being in our image.
They come to us

needy and helpless, and we are
Caretakers.  Lives, made up of
oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus, even
heart, mind, and soul;
each are but dust returning to dust.

Arrogantly we live
day after day, with these small persons
believing that each meal, healthy or otherwise,
each book carefully chosen and lovingly read,
each activity selected so diligently,
each pastime and hobby, talent nurtured,

each word spoken into their small world

will stop them, and

start them,

make them
do; our Possession

to be molded, shaped, crafted
carefully controlling every encounter while they are young.
As if it changes anything.
Eventually they will choose Life or Death.

Unthinking, we are judiciously creating a small being
In Our Image.

This is the week I lost.

I knew,
I gave,
I wept,
I died,
I let go.
This is the week everything changed forever;
Inside me something broke
open;
the illusion of control.

This is the week, I gave them back;
to be “mine” is to lose them forever.

Yes, this is the week I lost.
And yet, here they are. Still
living and breathing, asleep in their beds.

and I am (still) full of hope, leaning on it

confident of this:

They are not mine, they are
released from my sweaty grip.

This is the week everything changed forever,

as mother became
helpless, child became

person, and everything changed, forever.

{on feeling the crazies and hoping, still}

some days just are.

crazy that is,

when you wonder how to catch your breath.  and realize
in a shocking moment that you may not be taking in h20.  and yet miraculously you’re still

alive.

panic, dread and fear threaten to consume. some internal, perfectionist voice screaming: this can’t be right?
how can parenting

be so hard?
early, before the dawn you rose up out of bed.  in the dark, sipping

hot coffee, you read about being called. and you prayed to be wise. knowing.

a steward of the precious lives, entrusted.

my head says, poor me.  life is so difficult.  wisdom scarce. challenges too many,

i want to flee.
bail. feeling hopeless, helpless but God promises
to be a SHIELD.

you read: “He lifts my head.”

i am shocked, perplexed by these words, from Henri JM Nouwen who said he was “impressed by the enormous abyss between my insights and my life.”

some days

are about longing for wisdom, dreaming and hopeful, still

in the midst of the crazy years.

{Fly Away From Me: On Children}

I woke up this morning, the sun creeping in earlier than I wanted.  Coming out of my dreams, I felt grief wash over my body, sore from running daily; I felt the years wash over me physically.  And fear.

I am afraid for all the time—lost.  Gone.

My children are almost grownup into people, yet not ready to face the challenges of being adult.  But more and more they are absent from me and I feel their absence, the loss, physically — These babies I fed from my breast, nurtured if feebly the best I knew how.  Babies I brought in to the world through the tearing of my flesh and blood.  They are young adults and the time is gone.

I’m running out of time and as I woke I felt the years,

Weighty, heavy, lost.

Lost to the days of over working; long workaholic driven years of loving work more than I loved being at home.  I have forgotten those toddler years, unable to recall the first word, first steps, first book, I simply cannot remember.  Write everything down they said, but I thought I’d remember.

I was wrong.

Lost, because of so many days of a drunken cloud, a constant buzz from self-medicating.

I was trying to forget the sadness, the feelings of inadequacy. Feeling doubt in a world of devoted, sure people. Feeling the loss of losing the faith of my parents and not being courageous enough (yet) to find my own.

I lost many years of my children’s lives to being a drunk.

I woke this morning feeling the weight of it, a grief that is carved deeply within.  It is a heart ache, and with a cry  I wanted to start fresh.  A second chance; to rewind back fifteen years to hearing that I was pregnant for the first time.  I was surprised that my body, which I had loathed all my life, was capable of giving life.  And then I felt annoyed at the interruption to my career.  And then it came eventually; the felt joy and disbelief.

Now that baby girl, my little bird, is a young woman.  She is gone more than she is here and each interaction feels like our last.  I know we have just a few more years.  I think: hang on to love and do what you can to keep things open and safe.  I want to have a home, a heart that welcomes; A home of second chances, and third and fourth.  Arms open wide.

The days are slipping away, the chances are running out.

Even as I know this I know that I cannot clutch at her.  I must open my hands, joyfully and watch her fly. I will pray that she will want to return.

As I get up and face another day, it is to keep the nest warm and welcoming.    Yes, I woke up this morning already grieving. I knew.

My little bird is practicing her flight away from me.

{The Black Dog is Chasing Me}

I struggle with periodic depression.  I’ve written a lot about it here on the blog.  See above link for more. 

This, this is today.

'Run!' photo (c) 2012, Steve Garner - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I feel myself withdrawing.  I am slowly closing in on myself, retreating …
Avoiding the very thing that heals,
I do the thing that I most hate:  run.

I cannot stop.
For days I have run and run and
that Black Dog laps at my heals.  Chasing
me, mocking. But on and on I run

believing I can run fast enough, far enough.
Away.
I have never outrun the Dog.

I am filled with sadness, a despair
that’s sweetly familiar while so sour.
I hate
that old dog. I hate myself. I hate my
cycles.

This too I hate
about myself for I am a piss poor friend.
There it is
the Demon of Lies, legions there flying about the room — named.

Long ago, before I was even born
this legacy grew into an inheritance, and I cannot break the cycle.
It, this would take a miracle.
Where do I find a miracle because I’m all out of them.

Break the cycle.
Break the pain.
Kill the demon that
whispers,
chants,
sings,
sighs,
plays with me,
plays an opus of loathing.
Someone please help before it crushes me.

For I am just a little girl not good enough for a friend.

{My Father is Dead} A Remembrance on Father’s Day

“I will not leave you orphaned… I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left–feeling abandoned, bereft… I’m leaving you well and whole.” — John 14

My father is dead
but he is alive in my head.
He haunts me.
I often wish I could kill him 
off for good, then I remember how much
I miss him.

My father is alive. In my heart and in my head.  And in the quick stream of my soul,
where pain rushes, he lives.  The deep scars of his voice,
the disappointed echo in the canyons of my mind
is strong.
I just want to be well and whole, I cry.

My father is dead
but he is alive in my head.
And on those days when every child needs a father, I cling
to an image of him smiling
at me, he is
enjoying
a brief moment of respite from the demons
that terrorized him.
(And us.)

My father is dead, but still he bullies
(me.)  I think,
he never meant to hurt anyone.
I think,
he’s watching me, from afar.
I hope he’s happy with me (now, finally.)

My father is dead, but he’s alive
every day that I go on strong, loving, powerful, a remnant
of him. Memories fade.
Forgetting is sometimes good.
But he left us so much more that we must remember.

My father is alive
in me.

MELODY

Other things I have written about my father.

{On Parenting and Being}

Parenting is undoubtedly the most difficult job I’ve ever done. It’s not instinctive for me or intuitive, though Tom frequently argues with me on this, the fact remains that I do not feel like a good mother.  

I’m a perfectionist. I’m hard on myself. Most days I fear I’m such a f-up that I can’t raise healthy kids.  I fear that things that made me the way I am will be repeated in my children.  I vacillate between fear that I am too hard on my kids and fear that I’m not hard enough.  And I know that no matter what I do, kids ultimately make their own choices. How does one become a good parent before it’s too late?

If we look at how we were raised we can compare but there’s so much left …

to sheer randomness,

to the personalities of parents and each child,

to the context or environment,

to the spirituality of every person involved.

So we observe others.  We learn from our friends. We work on our personal shit. I find myself hoping  that the days will s t r e t c h out.  And that time will slow down.

Who doesn’t need more time to improve upon themselves?   With life moving so quickly and my children dashing into their teen years, I suddenly want to press the slow motion button. I see how quickly we got here, If only there were more time.

If the Bible were a parenting manual (which it is not) I think perhaps it would say work on yourself (character) first and the fruits of your life (spirit) and then perhaps God will add to these things, but there are no guarantees.

One thing I know. The more you try to control the outcome, the less likely you’ll get it exactly the way you want it.

So what’s a person to do?   Getting my kids report cards, I felt as if I was back in middle school.  I want so much more for my kids than what I had, everyone does.  I don’t want their choices in life to be limited by their current lack of imagination, or willingness to work hard, or the incentives as they perceive them.  And as I rail internally against my own feelings of failure, I relive my wretched school years and I cry a bucket of tears, full of my own regrets and feelings of failure.

I am left with more questions.

How do we teach our children that we love them unconditionally – that no matter what they EVER DO, seriously I mean EVER — That our love is irreversible?  This is a super power, this unconditional love.  If they get this one thing I believe all the rest will fall into place for them.

I never believed I was unconditionally loved growing up.  I thought love I received or didn’t was connected to my behaviours, choices, failures and successes, “the B should have/could have been an A” because nothing was ever good enough to make my father happy.

How do we make it absolutely clear to our children that no matter what job they do some day, or what grades they get or what degrees they accomplish, or what hobbies, interests, sports or other talents they choose or naturally have, no matter, they are loved!

And I think perhaps parenting is a daily laying down of my life — giving up my rights — my power — my control, and sitting with the Holy One, admitting my weakness, my brokenness and that I cannot do it alone.

For a perfectionist it is hard to admit there is no perfect parent, that mistakes will be made, are made daily.  And ultimately I am not in control.

For a perfectionist it is hard to let go and accept that who my children become is entirely up to them!

Celebrate them.  Enjoy them.  Affirm them.  Give them every opportunity.

And also give them space to find themselves.

Just as I am.


My Duct Taped Heart (a poem)

I’m awake early, even before my alarm.
Lieing in bed listening
to the rolling thunder, wondering to myself.

I know a rain spout is loose,
it was duck taped on.
It worked for a season but even that

finally came loose and free.
I don’t know how to fix things.
I wonder about my father and why he never taught me

how?  Now he’s gone.
I can’t ask him that and many other questions.
So I wonder,

Lieing in bed
listening to the thunder and knowing the rain pours down.
There are so many things I want to fix.

I was raised to think I can’t.
For now, I will lie here
and wonder.

What’s changing, so that I can be writing!

This is such a busy time for folks with kids.  We are living the last month or so of school and for whatever reason my kids seem to teeter on the brink of things this year academically, spiritually, emotionally — this has been a challenging and demanding year.  With summer looming, there will be any opportunities to stick our feet in the river and less time to write.

I am thinking about that tension.

I’m starting to work more seriously on writing projects. As I listened hard at the Festival of Faith & Writing  and looked at my writing life and habits, I realize that I need to cut back on some things before I can ever dream of space to write every day.  (I know I have a lot to tell you about that experience, the festival.  We’ve been back a week and there’s been no time!)

Projects that I’m working on:

I am working on a book review of the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer for The Englewood Review of Books and hope to do more of those, both for Englewood and other publications.

I continue to write for Provoketive magazine:  This included a review of  the book Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson, a piece titled The Accidental Stay-At-Home Mom and others, but by far the most popular essay was The Voice of the Feminine.  That content is not repeated here on my blog  so you will have to pop over to there to read it.  I hope you will.

I am working on a short series of articles on “The F word and the Church.” (Yeah, that F word: feminist.)

I am really excited to hear that I will have some poem in a book about fear titled Not Afraid to be published around August, 2012 by Civitas Press.  (This is the same press that published my essay on Depression in their book Not Alone which is available now. If you know someone who suffers from depression this book may help.  I have been told by many people that it has been a good, honest resource.  I also have many pieces on my blog about my personal trials with the black dog of depression.  They are collected here. )

What I want to change:

One thing that I find to be soul crushing and destructive for me is Facebook.  Being at-home with such great flexibility to my schedule  I see that I allow many things to interfere with the “work” of writing and with spiritual growth.  Facebook is such a time waster for me.  I’m inherently curious, nosy kind of person and the fact that I can vicariously follow along other’s lives is bad for me.  That’s where the soul crushing part comes in.   It’s like high school insecurity all over again.  So I’ve been tempted to quit completely.

Image by JJ Pacres on Flickr

But at the Festival of Faith & Writing I heard over and over that writers must have online presence and following.  We have to nurture that and  be able to “prove” our popularity to a publisher.   But the flip side of that is that it is just not good for me!

If I don’t have time

to think,

to be,

to write and

to allow the Holy One to mold and move me (not really in that order.)

So I’m backing off of social media  for a season — except here.  I’m really going to try to do this moderately.  When I got hooked on Farmville (of all things — proves I can get addicted to anything!) I had to quit cold turkey and I did.  I don’t want to do that with Facebook because I don’t like being an all or nothing person.  But I’m going to try to limit my time there.  And set some writing goals for the next few months.  I look forward to sharing those with you.

Another thing that I learned at the festival was that I need to hone the purpose of my blog.  Mine has multiple messages and intents.  I have been known to write about:

  1. family (dysfunctional and otherwise.)
  2. God and devotion, faith and (dis)belief
  3. women in the church, feminism as a Christian’s option
  4. various justice issues
  5. my alcoholism and addictions
  6. my church – Blackhawk Evangelical Church
  7. poetry on all these topics
  8. prose on all these topics

Is there anything in particular that you come here to read?  Where do you see my passions and strengths converging in helpful ways?  Would you add more of anything?

Grace & Peace. Melody

Family in Town (a poem about family, loss, addiction, and change)

Family in town and from out of town
sometimes means heavy remembering,
and just a little trying to forget though you are
no longer disappearing.

Into the bottle.

Family in town means many goings-on,
even when you’re sick and tired.  It means
running out of money. It means trying hard to make everyone
happy.  Trying hard to just be.

Happy.

Family in town
means someone drinking too much, and
everyone else acting like it’s not true.
Your triggers activated, but sticking to the
almost- four- years- sober- kind -of- truth.

Family in town means laughing, lots of gut busting laughter,
Eating too many desserts, and wondering if you’re
forgetting something important.

Family in town, you remember and forget.

People gone.  People here.

You don’t get to choose
Family in town.

Choking

You choke on the words.
You hurt me.

Three simple words,
a confrontation that won’t come.
The fear-scab
comes off the child-grown-up-into-woman wound.
The mutilation, scarred over long enough  
that you had actually forgotten.
Again.
Impossible.

You needed to forget.
Until
mother-sister-blood
family rips it off again.
Their indifference,
your insignificance,
that’s what you need to forget
their command
over you.

They are the only ones
Wielding the control, able to make
you choke on the words.
You hurt me.

They don’t read.
They don’t come.
They don’t care.

You choke on the words
You hurt me.

What Kind of Mother is She?

taken at the dane county fair

It occurs to me that I don’t write much about being a mother.  The reasons are simple.  I have no idea what I’m doing.  I use my instincts.  But I have no exact answers.  It took me years to accept that my mom and dad “did their best.”  They didn’t purposefully f*ck with me.  And now, I take all that and do the same. I do my best.  And I think that has to be enough. I will look back, when my children are gone, and know that I did my best with what I had.  No matter the outcome.

interruptions & change

My daughter just woke up, her face is red and puffy from sleep.  She’s regaling me with a play-by-play of a book she finished late last night.  She is going on, and on, and on! Step-by-integral-step of the harrowing story of a boy who escapes an earthquake.  I don’t care, but — it’ is important that I listen.  All I want to do in this moment is sip my first cup of coffee of the day and write.  But I listen.  Nodding and “Um humming” at what I hope are the right moments.  I am listening.  Sort of.  I am also distracted and hoping she doesn’t notice.  Ironically, in this moment being her mom means listening to her.

That pull of my desires against the desires of my children is one of the most complicated things about being a mother.  The choices we make, day by day, hour by hour.  We’ve all felt that tension.

Children are always “interrupting” all the other things I’m doing.  But when one comes running up the stairs in tears because they got walloped in the eye playing Wii they still run for the comforting kiss right on the spot, my ‘magic’ kiss still has power to heal.   (Mothers have magic kisses if you didn’t know.)   The day they stop wanting those kisses will mean they have moved on to the next stage of their development.  I have four very different kids so that day will be different for each of them.  I cannot prescribe it.  But I won’t stop until they push me away.

They grow.  I grow.  We keep adapting, all of us.  The whole family continues to change.

Tom declared on Wednesday that he thinks the kids are too old to sleep in our bed.  This has been a  long time in coming.  It’s really the nine-year old that likes to go to sleep in my bed.  Being a musician Tom is often up late in his studio, perhaps five nights a week.  I get up at 5 am so I go to bed when the kids do.  I savor those few minutes of reading myself to sleep.  J just likes to be with me and so we’ve developed a habit (some might say an unhealthy one, to which I say rubbish!)  of letting him “warm up” Tom’s spot by falling asleep there.  I like the companionship.

Is this a bad habit?  I don’t know whether I’ve let it go on for so long for myself or for J.  Is he too old?  Parenting is full of lots of conflicting ideas.  And when Tom says J is too old to do it anymore, I really think Tom feels too old to do the required transporting back to the boy’s room, up the ladder and back into his own bed.  And then we also have to deal with the other two who are jealous of this time.  It then becomes something “special” for which they are compelled to compete for Mom.  I’m sure plenty of expert mothers would want to tell me all the ways this is harmful.  I don’t know. Mostly, I don’t care.  But I respect Tom’s wish to fall into bed at one in the morning and not have to move a near comatose child.  So we changed.  And I must learn to go to bed alone.  And so does J.  It’s hard to grow up no matter your age.

unconditional love

I have had moments over the last seventeen years of asking myself what were you thinking becoming a parent?  I write about how I was raised and what that did to me knowing that based on what I experienced I am not qualified. I realized the other day that I don’t know what it feels like to believe you are loved unconditionally by your parents.  If that’s true, and it is, then how do I possibly convey unconditional love to my kids?  Can I?  I believe in it intellectually and even on a spiritual level.  But I don’t get it.  Tom shows it to me – for sure.  So I wrestle with what he does that helps me believe him?  And to this day, my internal voice is pure disbelief.  You surely cannot love without conditions, without criticism, without expectation, without a grumpy disapproval, without your own insecurity pushing you to love  … If you haven’t experienced it.  Then how do I know my kids are feeling it from me?

I think unconditional love is the most important quality a parent should have.  Then you can push, and you can encourage, and even disapprove.  They will know they are okay. Somehow Tom’s parents managed to show him that kind of love.  These are the things that I think make me unqualified to be a parent.

learn from others & trust your gut

Some days I think I’m just a reactionary.  I react to how I was parented.  I react to things my kids are doing.  I react to books.  I react to teachers.  I react to the culture.  I am not very good at deciding a good way of doing something and sticking with it — mostly because I don’t think there is a right way.  I really needed about five years of study on parenting before I even got started.  And that’s an absurd impossibility.  Who has the time?   So we learn as we go.

I became a mother the day we married in 1993, a year before I was a footloose single woman planning on heading to the mission field.  I didn’t think about kids.  They simply weren’t.  They didn’t exist in my worldview.   Falling in love with Tom, hard and fast meant learning to love his four and a half year old daughter.  And when we married I became an instant mother – the “extra” mom to a five-year old daughter.  Extra or Other — whatever you get called, being a step-mom was a crash course in parenting.  And like nothing I had experienced before in my life, it brought out my insecurities and need for control!  Wow!   Perhaps some day, perhaps, I will write about the years that I worked in full-time ministry while parenting a step child and having three biological kids.  I’ll call it “How I was an Ugly, Paranoid, Controlling Step-Monster.” My daughter M graciously loves me still and has forgiven me for those years.  When she moved back in recently, at 22, I realized God is gracious and gave  me a do-over.

Here’s the thing.  I believe kids just want to be loved and kids are the most forgiving of all people.  All they know is you. You are their parent.  Okay, later they will figure some things out.  Like perhaps you didn’t know anything.  That’s the risk.  That’s the fun!  And then when they become a parent, well, perhaps you won’t look quite so crazy.

Luckily we have twenty years with our kids and have time to make adjustments.

I have learned is that there are no rules.  Rules in parenting is crap. The best guide for me has been my gut.  My gut has never failed me.  My gut disagrees or sometimes agrees with parenting books.  My gut disagrees or sometimes agrees with other parents giving advice.  My gut disagrees or agrees with pediatricians, teachers, supposed experts.  If you follow your gut, your intuition, I believe you’ll be okay, eventually.

For many years I doubted my gut and my voice because I doubted myself.  My own insecurities played into who I listened to and what I believed.  I’d boomerang from one theory to another intellectually.  But in practice usually my inner voice said do this or don’t do that.  We make mistakes.  We are unusually lax in response to having strict parents or vice versa.

asian vs. any other parenting

I have not read Amy Chua’s book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother mostly because there’s a lot about the stereotypical Asian parenting style that I respect, but I know I don’t have the will power to follow through on.  So it would just make me feel bad and I am really not in to feeling bad about myself right now.  So I’ve ignored the articles, reactions and furor.

Frankly many modern parents are far too lax with their children, but I have seen this with every kind of parent  from many different cultures. I know that I could and perhaps should push my children harder.  I mean, now I wish I had been pushed academically.  In hind sight, I was a slacker, intelligent but insecure and I would have benefited from my parents lovingly pushing me just a bit more (or a lot more!)  On the other hand, I felt I never measured up to what my dad expected of me.  I lived in that limbo of that craziness.   His insecurities drove him and we were a reflection of him.  We were a mirror of his success or not.  This is a very Asian characteristic I have been told by one of my friends who is also Asian.

And so I push my intelligent but lazy daughter, but not too much I hope.  I consistently fight the internal shame that says I don’t expect enough of her and I am the thing standing between her and Harvard or Yale Law school.  Me.  And then the countering voice reminds me what I really believe.  That she needs to find the balance herself.  Know that she’s loved no matter what she chooses but also know that more opportunities will be open to her if she applies herself academically and learns to work hard.   I want each of my children to be able to ask the question what they want?  Then help them to see what they have to be willing to do, in order to get it.  By empowering my daughters especially in those moments they learn their own power.  It is a choice.  I hope I am right.  My gut tells me I am.  In the end that’s all I have.  My boys are different, completely and my approach is also different but instilling in them a sense that they control their future is important.

I have a Japanese friend and I love how she parents.  She is an incredible mother and I learn from her every time we get together.  “When I am cleaning my children are cleaning“, she tells me.  Wha?  I am so not there! To be honest my kids emulate Tom and I who hate to clean. Do I want to be more like my friend?  Hell yes!  I guess what I am saying is that there is something to be learned from a culture that promotes hard work, excellence, pride and discipline. I admire it.  I want those to be things my children learn from me.  But no, my ten year old does not know how to clean the toilet.   I find that reflexively parent like I was parented — growing up cleaning is a pain!  To be avoided or to be endured, …  If I want to change this little legacy in my family it will take effort and discipline. I don’t know if I want to make the effort.  I don’t know if I have the discipline.  Which is where I started above.  I find a lot of things are great ideas but practically speaking I am unable to maintain them.  We all have to know ourselves.

what’s your highest calling?

This morning I read something that startled me but I agree with it:

“… parenting is not our highest calling! Faithfully serving & following after Christ is our highest calling!  —  SortaCrunchy

We are going to make mistakes, perhaps even a lot of them.  You’ll compare yourself to others and wonder if perhaps their way is better.  But in the end you have to look at your kids, unique individuals that they are as well as look at yourself and your partner/spouse who are also unique people, and do your best.

Parenting is its own religion, and engenders its own faith. Debating it serves no purpose other than inciting holy war.  –@kmaezenmiller

Our calling is to follow Christ.  Behave as he did.  Emulate him.  Do our best.  And if I can let go of all of the above and relax, well then there’s hope for us all.  It’s not simple nor would I ever want to imply that.  But there is a level of trust you must have in yourself, in the person you partner with to parent and in God.

MH

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This is what got me thinking this morning.  http://rachelheldevans.com/moms-scare-me