I Came in Like a Wrecking Ball

So, this weekend was pretty stellar. And by stellar, I mean gut-wrenching. But in a good way. I know, it sounds crazy to me, too.

A few months ago, there was some buzz going around my little spot of the world about a new gathering coming called, IF:Gathering. Basically, no one knew what it was going to be, what was going to be happening and what it all meant. But those of us who had heard about it felt like it was going to be something good. And boy, was it ever.

I still can’t answer the question I’ve been getting the most about this weekend, which is, “What is it?” But I can tell you what has happened because of it.

I am wrecked. Completely, utterly, wholly wrecked, shattered, broken, a mess. God took a gathering of like-minded women who love him, that come from every denomination you can possibly name, from every walk of life and poured out truth over all of us and I am undone. Places I didn’t even realize were broken have been put under a spotlight with every fissure and crack glaringly obvious. The things I held onto deep down in the places I didn’t even allow my husband admission? Yeah, those things were brought forth and I cried an ugly cry like you have never seen.

Can I confess to you? Can I be completely honest?

I have been living my life as though I do not count. As though I do not matter and I have been trying so incredibly hard to count. To matter. Never mind I have an amazing husband who is gorgeous and talented and devoted to me and our children, and who, get this, LOVES me. Me. Not someone else. Me. I have felt isolated, alone, afraid, depressed, purposeless, talentless, useless and it goes on and on.

People, God spoke to me this weekend. I am convinced that the reason for this whole gathering, conference, whatever you want to call it was for me. And guess what?

I am none of those things I thought. By God’s infinite, undefinable and yes, amazing, grace, I am holy. Redeemed. Righteous. A co-heir with Christ. Pure. Friend and Beloved to Jesus. Things I always knew in my head, but never allowed to penetrate my heart because come on now, there has to be a catch. It can’t really be as simple as letting God make me new by believing his son died for me. But it is. And I am still crying every time I think about what he showed me this weekend. (This isn’t to say that I wasn’t saved or a Christian before this weekend. I have been a Christian for a very long time. But this weekend, God opened my eyes fully to the miracle and undoubtedly undeserved truth about what his grace really is and does for me.)

I was blessed to be able to share this experience with four very special friends. We sat in one of their living rooms and watched this gathering unfold online (um, let me tell you, technology is amazing. This was happening in Austin, Texas and here in Rochester we could see it live and participate via a TV. Awesome.). We talked, we encouraged, we spoke truth to each other, we cried and we comforted. And we ate. We ate some delicious food, everybody. Just being honest.

I wish I could speak more eloquently to exactly what has changed and exactly what has happened, but I just can’t. I am still trying to wrap my head around everything and process and it’s just so much. Nothing has changed really, and yet, everything has changed at the same time. I still had smelly diapers to change and small people to feed and beds to make and dishes to do that are still piled high in the sink, but I just keep thinking (and crying, again, being honest) about the whole experience. Jesus is real, y’all. He is real and he loves you and even more astounding, he loves me. The rape survivor, the post-partum depression survivor, the momma who loses her temper too often, the insecure friend, the wife who isn’t always very nice to her husband, the one who thinks she doesn’t matter. He loves me.

Yeah, I’m wrecked. But I kind of like it.

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How Did I Get Here?

When did time start moving so quickly? I remember being young and feeling like certain times of year couldn’t get here fast enough, and now I’m sitting on my couch wondering when time started flying by and how I got here.

Husband. New home and life in Rochester. A house; a real one. A 3 1/2 year old baby boy, no longer a baby. Another baby boy, who at 2 just had his first tooth pulled, causing me major momma guilt. And a delightful baby girl 10 months old who is cruising around furniture.

I wonder how I got to this place of dust on my furniture, kid goo and who knows what else on my windows, crumbs perpetually on the floors and counters, laundry that seems to multiply every time I venture to the basement, and on and on it goes.

Don’t misunderstand; I love my family and I love what I do. Truly. It’s just there are days when I find myself feeling like I’m moving through the hours in a haze of “How on earth did I get here?” That I’m not really living up to my potential, so to speak. I think that if a lot of us were really honest with ourselves, we would admit that we look to what we do for validation for what we are. I am a wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc. And yes, there are things “required” of each of those roles (while Matt does do kitchen duty, if I don’t make dinner, we’re not eating, right?), but none of those things identify me, no matter how much it feels like they do. (“Hello, my name is Erin, chief dinner maker.”)

And there lies the rub for me. I continually forget that I what I do isn’t who I am.

Rinse, lather, repeat. But it is encouraging to remember that I have a Father who wants to remind me exactly who I am to Him. Daughter. Beloved. Friend. Holy. Righteous.

I’m learning to let these truths penetrate deep into the core of who I am and I pray that they go so deep down that the untruths I’ve believed no longer have any roots.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” ~Psalm 1:1-2

Ugly Cry

It’s an ugly cry kind of day.
A training potty full of little boy urine dumped all over the living room rug a week ago. After three deep cleaning sessions, it still smells like urine and is making me sick to my stomach.

We are having the girl dedicated on Sunday, and we have no family except my in-laws attending. And I had to ask twice for the rest of our family to respond to our invitation to celebrate not only the dedication, but small boy’s 2nd birthday which is Monday. To say my feelings are hurt is an understatement.

The kidlets have been trying my patience for the last two days between potty accidents, fighting and teething.

Matt spent two and half days changing the brakes on his car, resulting in several trips to the local automotive store and headaches.

And I am wearing a cloak of depression on my back that is threatening to choke me.
I have yelled, thrown toys across the room and given my oldest the silent treatment. I have cried, prayed, and vented to my husband.

It’s slow going, but the praying is changing my attitude and things aren’t as bad as the pity party above makes it out to be.

 

Blessings,

Erin

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Try, try again.

Right? That’s how that old saying goes, and generally speaking, it’s not a bad rule of thumb to follow. Unfortunately, that has been exactly how I have treated my life, spiritual or otherwise, and it never seems to work.
Does this sound familiar?

Self: “I will get up at 5:00 to do my devotions, work out and shower before the kids get up, I have to go to work, etc.” Go to bed at a reasonable time, set the alarm, and feel great about the plan.

The alarm goes off, you sluggishly roll over and stare at it until you convince yourself that hitting snooze won’t hurt anything (after all, it’s only 9 more minutes) and then you will definitely, yes, definitely, get up.

And……an hour later, the baby is crying, the 3 year old is pattering into your room announcing the new day, “Psst! Momma! Are you awake?” and the almost-but-not-quite-two-year-old is alternately singing/screaming in his crib. Rise and shine, indeed.

Three hours later, you may just be getting around to your morning cup of coffee or you may be refereeing sharing the train table between the boys while trying to sweep up stray Cheerios or do the dishes (more likely the dishes will still need to be done by lunch time) and the phone starts ringing just as someone takes a header into a wall.

If you’re like me, that’s when you LOSE IT.

For crying out loud, all you want to do is finish clearing up from breakfast and maybe sit down and take one sip of coffee before the next crisis arises! Oh, and that devotion time? Yeah, haven’t gotten around to it yet. Now you’re thinking about during nap time. But aren’t you supposed to do it in front of the kids so they can “catch” you spending time with God? Oh, and working out? Well, I guess that’s going to be going up and down the basement steps lugging laundry.

By the time the husband comes home, you’ve put the 3 year old in time out at least 10 times, the 2 year old has spent the entire day screaming and whining and the baby refuses to be put down. You’ve snapped at the kids, muttered under your breath about how easy your husband has it (or a friend, or whomever) and you’ve had your fill. Dinner is late, bed time can’t come soon enough and you still have yet to do those blasted dishes.

Who’s with me? And the coup de grace is when you do finally get to sit down and rest, that’s when the guilt starts to seep in. It’s been there all day, but it really comes to the forefront when things are just getting quiet.

“Man, I really blew it today with the kids. I didn’t show them patience or love. They must think I’m a monster.”

“Wow, God, I really let You down today. I’m so sorry. I know I didn’t spend any time with You. I promise tomorrow I’ll do better.”

“Was I really that mean to my husband? I must be turning into a shrew. Well, I’ll make it up to him. Apologize. Make him his favorite dinner. Something.”

And, so, with a renewed vow to do better, you go to bed thinking that tomorrow will be different.

And it will be. And maybe for a little while, things are going better. You’re more committed to having a gentle and patient spirit with your children. You show more love to your husband. You become more disciplined about spending time with God.

But if you’re like me, this only lasts for a very short season. And the day depicted above happens again. And again. And again. And each time, we try a little bit harder to be better, do better, be different.

Can I be honest? I am so tired of trying harder. I am so tired of feeling inadequate in my roles as a wife, mother, friend, Christian….of feeling unworthy at the end of every day in some respect. Oh, I actually spent what I felt to be an adequate amount of time interacting purposefully with my children? Then I neglected God and that isn’t good. Oh, I spent the next day spending time with God? Well, yeah, but it was at the expense of my children (or my house, or my husband, etc.). Can anyone relate?

What God has been showing me over the last three years (roughly) is that with Him, I never have to try again. That I am free from the checklists that were keeping me in bondage to the world and its expectations and I can live, really live, out of the grace He gave me when I accepted Him. That who He has created me to be is enough. Never again do I need to look to my roles as a wife, mother, friends, etc. for my validation. Being Erin is enough to Him. And He will always be happy with me. Pleased with me. No matter if I lose my temper or don’t get to my quiet time for the day. He loves me that much.

This is where I’m coming from. Where I’m learning from. I’m learning to see myself with new eyes; as Christ sees me, and consequently, maybe just a little bit of how others see me, too. Do I have it all figured out? Absolutely not. But I’m loving the changes I am seeing in my life as a result. And funnily enough, the changes are happening without me trying. Isn’t God amazing?

What do you think? Am I crazy or does some of this resonate within your own heart? Please feel free to share.

Blessings,

Erin

ps. in the interest of full transparency, and lest you think that I always have half an hour or 45 minutes to blog every day, I would like to share that I was interrupted twice by the three year old who was supposed to be keeping still during his quiet time. Once was because, “Momma, I can’t sweep (sleep)!” and the second because, “Momma, I think Daddy’s home. I must go hide.” The other two are confined to cribs, so I do have that going for me. 😉