Tag: Authenticity

2017, The Year of Grace

I always look forward to January 1. It’s a fresh start…and I really need a fresh start this time. Last year was one of the best years of my life, but also one of the hardest.

I am deep-down-in-my-soul tired.

Physically, I’m exhausted because apparently not every baby in the world will sleep through the night like Josiah did. Mentally, I’m spent because meeting the needs of two children is a lot harder than it looks. Spiritually and emotionally, I’m worn thin because 2016 found me putting so much pressure on myself to reach that lofty goal of perfection. I hate to admit that, but it is absolutely the truth. There were some ugly moments in the past 365, because of self-inflicted anxiety. I was hard on my family and hard on myself.

Therefore, I’ve decided to make 2017 the year of grace. I understand the concept of grace from God on a cerebral level, but I have very little understanding of how to apply it. This year I need to relearn grace.

Grace for…

  • my lack of faith in tough moments
  • my inability to be the mom I thought I’d be
  • the times Dustin and I don’t connect
  • the nights I fall to pieces because I’m just so tired
  • the times I lash out instead of reach out for help
  • the ways I’m failing my kids
  • the days I spend too much time on social media
  • my kids’ lack of baby books and Pinterest crafts
  • the dark circles under my eyes and my thinning hair (thank you postpartum hair loss!)
  • my squishy tummy
  • my messy house (hello dishes mountain!)
  • the way my van makes us look just a step above homeless (I’ll clean it out eventually when I have to take someone somewhere…maybe)
  • my less than glorious spiritual (lack of) disciplines
  • the days when homeschooling is lackluster
  • all the nights I don’t do yoga
  • all the days I can’t juggle everything and end up eating chocolate in fetal position…

Is that list long enough for you to see that I am a mess in need of grace?!

I’m really excited to see what 2017 holds, but I’m going to choose grace for all the ways it might not go well and all the ways I might fail. I have a lot of goals for the year, but I’m going to try to be gentler on myself when I can’t meet the demands of my New Years’ Resolutions. And in that same spirit, I’m going to try to take it easy on others, as well.

Ain’t nobody perfect but Jesus.

And boy, don’t we all need His grace…

An Invitation to Be Real

I recently started reading Donald Miller’s new book, Scary CloseIn a way, I’m a Donald Miller fangirl, at least as much as an introverted, down-to-earth momma would be.

IG Donald Miller Like

I mean, it’s not like that screaming, crying, wearing a t-shirt with his face on it kind of fandom. More like the kind of excitement you feel when you’ve met another soul who gets it.

Scary Close is sort of ripping me apart. Have you ever had one of those times when you think you’ve really matured, and then you read or witness something that reminds you how much of a mess you still are? 

Scary Close

That’s what this book is doing for me. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though, now that I read it back to myself. This kind of heart-wrecking is actually a good thing; a reminder of our own humanity.

Miller’s writing has always struck me as the type of authenticity I want to offer my readers, but this book has been different for me. Most of his writing leaves me feeling uplifted, but this one is heavy. It’s so real; it makes me ache.

His struggle with intimacy is so much like my own.

Back in college, I got a clerical job in the Registrar’s Office, and I met Christine. She was only a bit older than me, but I could tell she had years of wisdom on me. She made me feel like my mess was okay to share. Sometimes I wonder if she went home exhausted after working with me. She invited me to be real, but also spoke some hard truths into my heart. Her friendship spurred me on to find the truth I was seeking and to become a whole person again.

For my birthday, Christine gave me a journal made with natural fiber paper. I loved writing on that paper, and I filled the journal from front to back. It’s hard for me to read at times, but it is also an incredible testament to the depths from which I rose.

One entry always strikes me.

Real Journal

“I want something to be REAL. I want to let go and have real adventure.” I look back at that girl and still hurt for her. She was desperate and scared and completely at a loss.

Toward the end of my freshman year, I realized that I had been playing a part for so long, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was so broken from my past that I felt completely unlovable, so I hid behind a persona I thought was more likable than me.

But along the way, there were people who invited me to open up and own my wreckage. And so, if I offer you nothing else, I want to invite you to be real.

Nothing is too messy for Jesus to redeem, and nothing is to messy to share here. I’m not great a small-talk, but man, I can listen to your story. I revel in authenticity, so bring it on.