Friday, July 31, 2020

We're Being Changed

I saw this quote and it spoke right to me about 2020:

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."
 –Thomas Edison

How many times have you seen and heard from someone else, or said it yourself, how absolutely trash this year has been? I know I've participated in that conversation! 🙋‍♀️ You can be sure I did my fair share of whining and complaining, especially when home became school and I became the teacher. I was a miserable case. Ask my husband and kids. No, don't do that. 🙈

And it's just been one thing after another since. With the virus, the politics, the opinions, the MEDIA. Plus, having to decide what to do for school this year...

I don't know which thread to follow anymore and I kinda just wanna dump 2020.

But listen, friends. We can do this.
Even if 2020 hasn't gone the way we planned, we'll get through it. How many other years have we made it through when things didn't go as planned? The answer is all of them. 

We we made it through them. If we hadn't, we wouldn't have made it here... to the sh*tshow. 🎪😂
(sorry for the language but I know you get it.)

Here's the thing...
Every passing year is important.
Every passing year serves a purpose.
Even 2020.

Every season stretches us and challenges us.
Every season helps us grow.
Even 2020.

This year is not useless. It's doing something. It's waking things up and stirring people. It's stretching us and helping us grow. It's making us stronger, even if we won't notice the new muscles for awhile.

Don't spend the remainder of the year fixated on all the things that have gone wrong.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking nothing good can come out of this.

Stay focused on doing what is right in front of you, to the best of your ability.
Pray about whatever is on your plate.
Help people when you can and accept help when it's given.
Keep stretching and pushing through.

2020 is not useless.
It's just changing us.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Only Freedom Worth Having

My family spent the 4th of July together at home. We watched movies, played outside, and grilled out for dinner. When the sun went down, my husband lit up a glorious, thrift store version fireworks show for us and the neighbors next door. He laughed and shook his head the whole time and we all cheered wildly as if we were witnessing the fantastic fireworks display at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game.

Despite the regulations in place for Covid-19 and little to no large gatherings taking place, our day was spent in joyful celebration, reveling in our freedom the way we always do. The freedom to be at peace amongst ourselves and enjoy another beautiful day on this planet is a blessing. We have that freedom all the time, no matter what is going on in the world and regardless of any twists and turns we’re witnessing in the political realm. We have the freedom to choose happiness and live content, despite our earthly circumstances.

We have that freedom because true freedom comes from Our Creator and no one, not one single person or event, can take that away.

It’s a difficult time for the world right now. There are opinions of every kind flying at us from every angle. No one can seem to agree on anything. If you’ve spoken your mind about something in the last six months, you’ve likely never felt less heard. But I promise you – when you shut down all the noise from the outside and focus on God; when you pray more and talk less about what’s bothering you, you will find the freedom you’re looking for. I'm not saying it's bad to educate yourself and stay current on the issues. As citizens of the country we live in, that's our responsibility. But if we spend all of our time obsessing over what's going on and despairing over everything we can't control, we'll just be overwhelmed and unsatisfied. When we get on board with the fact that God runs the show, we get to experience the only freedom worth having. God-given spiritual freedom. And that freedom covers over every single part of our lives.

Hear me out:

Nothing in your life is new business to God.
None of the current events are a secret to Him.
None of this has caught Him by surprise.

He’s got this. It may not always feel like it. But He does.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ~2 Corinthians 3:17‭-‬18

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Raising the Future

Nearly every time I go out with my children, I'm told by a stranger in passing that they don’t know how I do it. I’ve given different answers in response, including:

“Lots of Jesus and coffee!”
“Chicken nuggets and prayer”
or my personal favorite, “Very carefully.”
I get a smile in return and we all go on with our day. They don’t usually care to know that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in years, that I have sixteen loads of laundry waiting for me at home, or that I rage stepped on a toy earlier that day and my foot still hurts. I’ve never once looked the person in the eye and said, “I have no freaking clue. I’m completely overwhelmed.” But that’s how it feels sometimes.
I’m not being critical of the people who ask this question. It’s almost always harmless and 100% not their problem that my kids leave their toys out and I’m bad at laundry.
But I have to admit, it does sometimes leave me feeling strange that I brushed off my role as a parent, such an integral part of my life, with a quip about chicken nuggets.
The truth is, this job is kind of a big deal.
Parents are important. And not just to our own households and the kids inside them.
Parenting is a truly essential thread in the circle of life with an impact that carries over from generation to generation.
Raising tiny humans isn’t just for us. It’s for the world.
And it's a heck of a lot more than just keeping everyone fed and clothed.
It’s about bringing up good, productive, and kind humans to release into the world.
Parents, raising kids means you're raising the future.
If it feels overwhelming, that’s because it is.

It’s making sure that you’re exhibiting good habits and character traits because they’re watching.
It’s filling your home with positive words and good music because they’re listening.
It’s having difficult conversations and giving tough love because they need to learn.
It’s helping them through academic hurdles, talking about world events and politics, and encouraging them to find their voice.
It’s doing your best to teach them everything they need to know in order to not only survive, but to thrive without you.
It’s ensuring that they become productive members of society.
It’s training them up to be good friends, outstanding employees, and helpful co-workers; devoted husbands and wives; excellent parents and so much more.
It's equipping them to know, love, and serve God and to love their neighbor, no matter what.
It’s preparing them for the ugliness they’re bound to face and encouraging them to be a light for other people.
Being a parent is so much more than just providing income, keeping everyone alive, and running the household. It’s more than the playdates, the grocery shopping, the cooking dinner, the LAUNDRY.
It’s the responsibility of sending good people out into the world to change it for the better.
That’s a huge, gigantic responsibility. Rewarding and so worth it. But it's freaking hard.
Don’t sell yourself short. Keep up the great work.
You’re raising the future.