You Amaze Me!

Today is my daughter’s birthday.  We’ve had a good celebration of her, cause it’s her day and I hope that it has been a great day for her. But I have my own private tradition on my kids’ birthdays. Each birthday I take a little time to remember their birth. The whole thing. I replay it in my mind. Keep the memory alive. Because, yes, it’s her birthday, but it’s also the anniversary of when I gave birth to a child. And survived. And, amazingly, just kept on with life as if not much had happened. 

It’s a bit odd, but in our culture (at least here in the South), talking about giving birth in mixed company is kind of taboo. Even talking about it with other women, we usually make sure that everyone in the circle has already given birth or is just about to. Maybe it’s too personal? Too gory? Too special? 

I’m not sure what the reasoning is. All I know is that one of the greatest accomplishments me and my body have ever undertaken is something that is never talked about. My body grew another human being and then pushed that human being out. We just use these gentle little phrases, I gave birth or We had a baby. It sounds so passive. Sweet. Words that keep everyone comfortable. 

How about, I labored to bring a baby out of my body. I agonized, crossed all reasonable thresholds of pain, but didn’t die, and somehow managed to get a baby from point A to point B without ripping my body in half. 

How about, I entered the zone of pain where the world disappeared, logical thought disappeared, and the only thing my brain was aware of was how to get this baby out so the pain would stop. 

How about, I disciplined my breathing and counting in my head to such an amazing level that I was able to withstand contractions that were literally stretching my body open from zero to ten centimeters. And I only yelled a little. 

Why, in our culture, do we not see a mom with a new baby and immediately start clapping. WOW!! YOU DID IT!! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MADE IT! 

So, I know there are a lot of moms out there who didn’t give birth to their babies. They adopted, fostered, took over care from a family member. This is not a put down on you. The fact of the matter is you need your own cheering squad and standing ovation. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST MADE A DECISION TO LOVE THIS CHILD AND THEN YOU DID! Just like that! And now you’ve given your entire life to taking care of this child, just like that! YOU ARE AMAZING!! 

Ok, not everyone is a mom. But everyone does amazing things. This one is for my husband and all the other hard working breadwinners out there. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU GET UP EVERY SINGLE MORNING AND GO TO WORK!! EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT! AND YOU KEEP FIXING THE CARS AND MAKING THEM RUN! AND YOU KEEP READING BEDTIME STORIES AND TUCKING KIDS INTO BED! AND YOU KEEP PLANNING YOUR TIME AROUND YOUR FAMILY AND PUTTING THEM FIRST!! You are amazing. 

We don’t spend enough time recognizing the struggles and triumphs of our fellow man and woman. I think if we spent more time being amazed by each other, it would help in the respect and kindness department. 

Just a thought. 

Unneeded Distractions

I haven’t written in a week. Which is weird for me. Not a sign of good mental health. Writing = thinking and processing. When I don’t write, it usually means I am avoiding thinking and processing. Now, some of this week was busy with seeing out-of-town family, and that was a great break. But, the past four days, I’ve kept thinking, I should sit down and write, and then I don’t. Instead my brain has been grasping for distractions. Let’s read a book. Let’s get in some extra exercise. Let’s zone out on social media. I’ve even found myself re-visiting old stories I used to play out in my head for entertainment. And I found myself faced with this question. What are you looking for? What is it that you are so desperately seeking in all these distractions? 

Good question. 

What am I looking for? 

Validation. I’m not just an invisible maid and caretaker that keeps the house running and keeps the kids alive and happy. I’m an individual whose feelings matter and who brings value to the table. 

Recognition. I want to be seen. I want to have people in my life who seek me out and find my presence to be important to them. 

Security.  I want to feel safe and cared for. To not feel like my existence and lifestyle is in any way fragile. 

Purpose. I want to feel like my daily actions have meaning. What I’m doing counts. 

Achievement. I want to feel like I am heading towards a goal and every day I am getting closer. 

Peace. I want to feel like no matter what happens, I’m good. Nothing’s going to rock my boat. 

Joy. I want each day to be a celebration of life and creation. A journey of thankfulness. 

I’m not wanting too much, am I? 

Here’s the thing. I think I have most of those things already. Perhaps not in a steady stream. But, if I look back at even just the last couple months, I can say, yes, there have been moments where I have had each of those things at different times. Sometimes all at once, sometimes just one or another. But they’ve been there. 

I think awareness is my problem. Life starts to get overwhelming and my vision gets really narrow. All I can see are the problems in front of me. The exhaustion I’m feeling. The weariness. And my eyes just sit and focus on what is wrong. This is wrong. And that is wrong. And here, let me make you a list of everything that is wrong and hard in my life right now. And all those good things, all those things on my list that I want and HAVE, they just kind of fade into the background. I forget they are there. And eventually, focusing on the bad stuff robs me of hope and energy and I just kind of melt into a useless puddle. 

So what am I going to do about it? 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

These are not simple platitudes. They are more like death-defying challenges. Can you rejoice always??? Pray continually?? GIVE THANKS IN ALL THINGS??? Not an easy path to choose. Which is why it’s a good thing we have the Holy Spirit as our helper. 

John 14:26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.

It’s a battle. A daily battle. In Christ, we already have all that we need. There is no reason to go searching for fulfilment in empty distractions. But it’s really easy to forget. When we focus on rejoicing, praying, thankfulness; we quickly get our vision back. 

Now, I’m going to go put on some worship music and try practicing what I preach.