Thursday, December 14, 2017

a best self kind of year

The time is one year from now and I am reflecting back on how I have shown up for 2018.

I think about how I've trusted my inner voice more this year. Decisions that I make are fueled by the warmth of my inner knowing of what is best for me at the moment. I reflect on the restful state of being that I have felt and in the unfolding of life.

Life. People. My Self. 

This is what I have shown up for in 2018.

     By letting it be . . .

          the moment . . .
          the experience . . .
          the feeling . . .
          the thought . . .

I have surrendered my effort in imagining how life will go and trust the unfolding of life. 
     By letting them be . . .

          their tone . . .
          their concerns . . .
          their perspective . . .
          their choices . . .

I have surrendered my opinions on how they live and trust their birthright to choice.

     By letting me be . . .

          my struggles . . .
          my thoughts . . .
          my wants . . .
          my being . . .

I have surrendered my judgment of how I live and trust freedom in living.

There's a relaxed sense that accompanies me when I am around people. Conversations have been discoveries to see from their vantage point. I have seen my being present with others as a gift to learn while giving people space to react as their most natural self.

Conversations with others are opportunities for me to experience as I celebrate our connection. I relax into them and listen to learn about people's perspective while giving them permission to react and think, as they view life from their vantage point.

When disagreement, misunderstanding, or questioning happens during conversations, I assume there is something for me to know. I give myself permission to have my view while extending respect to others for theirs.

In reflecting on 2018, I notice how I have left life alone

I have made space in my heart for whatever unfurls and trusted that there is space for all of life. The muscle tensing and twitching to meddle with life has been replaced by a calmness that has warmed my heart and inspired others to calm, too.

Lecturing, worrying, and intervening in other people's way of living, choosing, and doing has been replaced with celebrating, encouraging, and allowing the raw, real nature of others as they are Now.

Worrying about what people might think about my ideas, perspective, behavior, and any of the other ways that I leave my fingerprints, have been replaced with allowing myself to feel joy, happiness, serenity, and contentment for where I am at Now.

This past year has felt a lot like riding a bicycle with no hands and my arms opened wide. Even as the wind blew, potholes appeared, the road twisted, and the terrain changed, I was uninhibited by the uncertainty and sat firmly trusting life and my living it.

Life is Good. 

I have reflected this belief throughout the year as I honored where people are at and met them where they are, trusting that we are all perfect for Now -- for this moment, as it is.

My biggest goal was to no longer need to feel as though I belong anywhere, instead to know that I belong wherever I am. What this required of me was to diligently and deliberately focus on Trust. An immense amount of energy is necessary to build muscles and this was worth it, 100%.

By honoring life as it is, and sharing openly with the people who come into my life, I am happier and I can be more helpful to others in sharing the joy and peace that overwhelms me.

By asking "What if . . . ? " and surrendering to life -- whether it be to what I experience or who I experience -- I am living properly.

This has been a year of showing up on purpose. 

It has been a year in which I trust that I inspire others to live their raw, real life as they are by my own openness of my heart that appreciatively, bravely, and confidently shares, declines, and raises my hand when necessary . . . all the while being open with wonder at whatever transpires and bravely trusting that I always belong.


#WeQuest #BestYear #Purpose #DreamDone

Monday, January 11, 2016

Making Peace with Me

I have grown a lot. Mostly, God's changed my heart.

I've changed my mind on a lot of things. One might say that I've evolved.

Sarah Bessey thinks that "it’s important to continually give each other permission to change and to grow and to know that we’re not alone as we journey in our lives." I'm glad to know that she feels that way. Her words warm my soul with encouragement.

I used to struggle simply being me.
     Now I think that I honor my Creator best when I am my real self. 

For so long, the Me who I was created to be was tucked deep inside the me who I projected outward for the world to see. Surveying my life story, I see the ways that God chased me to know that I am loved, as I am; to rest in trust of Him that I am, indeed, good enough as I am. I believe God knew just how far He would need to go to get my attention. I imagine that He was waiting with patient expectation for the real me to unfurl.

Sometimes it feels scary in our head to live in this world as we are.

After years of living a certain way, I have a lightness in living. I used to pile expectations and demands upon myself, thinking that the weight was actually making me feel more comfortable like a heavy blanket. I thought maybe I'd be more uncomfortable without them; that I would fritter here and there aimlessly with no sense of direction.

I was intensely focused on thinking that I needed to pray a certain way, act a certain way, think a certain way, and feel a certain way. I was misguided, likely by my own self. I had looked around at the world and tried to sort out who I should be and how I should live, basing the answers on what I saw others doing or saying.

When I started to be the real me, I felt weeble-wobbly, like my nearly six-month babe whose muscles only recently have gotten strong enough to hold him up as he sits. I still feel a lot like that, weeble-wobbly. There are moments when I tip right over, sometimes side ways and sometimes backward. I sometimes cry when that happens.

I wish developing didn't hurt so much. And I wish I could handle the changes and demands in my life with a bit more grace and acceptance.

There are days when I am flat out and just don't want to accept other people's struggle, or even my own. I want every day to feel like a Happy Meal with a toy inside. I don't want to hear the sound of whining, mostly from myself. But I can't get away from myself. And unless I live in a cave, I can't get away from the unpredictability of everyone else in this world who may or may not say or do something that irritates me.

For so long I wanted to control me and her and him and all of them; I still do sometimes. I was angry that I wasn't made with this superhuman strength. I was angry that I was made to live in this world as a human being, prone to making mistakes and living among others just like me.

I used to think that I needed to tap myself on the shoulder and say, "Ahem, excuse me crazy lady, you're an adult, remember? So, shape up, sit up and Be an adult. No crying."

I used to think that I was supposed to ignore my real thoughts and feelings and just steer my attention and mind on the things that matter like having a vegetable at every meal that I serve my family, making sure we sit down and eat together mostly every single night, being home to tuck my children into bed each night, making sure my Boy-Man is polite and kind and organized and attentive and mindful and recalls every.single.thing he was taught.

I used to think that if I stayed married and didn't get a divorce and didn't do drugs and stayed away from alcohol and worked out mostly every day and ate healthy and stayed away from certain foods and didn't get a ticket and didn't scream and shout and didn't walk away in anger and didn't lose my cool and forgave every person who ever offended me and accepted them as they are and didn't make demands or judge them or talk behind their back . . . then I would be "good". And everyone knows that good girls are admired by all the others who are missing out on all the joy just waiting for them to receive when they finally get everything right.

If . . . then.
     I used to live my life rules based, like a mathematical equation. 

I used to think that if I wear certain undergarments and do certain moves with a certain kind of regularity, then my marriage would be happy ever after.

I used to think that if my son gets on the honor roll, then everyone will know how smart he is and that by knowing how smart he is there won't be any opportunity that will be out of his grasp.

I used to think that if I arrive at work early and leave late and work in between and hustle my butt to perform, then I'll be promoted and seen and appreciated.

I used to think that if I run at least every other day and make sure that I keep to a strict calorie count each day, then I will be healthy and well.

I used to think so much that sent me running wildly every single day. Out of breath. Exhausted. And definitely not content or happy.

Now I think that kind of living is no kind of life.

As it turns out, there aren't rules. It doesn't take a mathematician to live abundantly.

Now I think that struggle is simply part of life and that it isn't something we can escape simply by behaving a certain way.

Now I think that we have permission to feel and that we have permission to struggle.

Now I think that facing our struggles and admitting them and being present with them honors The One who created us as human beings with vast, colorful feelings.

Now I think that there are cloudy days and windy days and huge stormy days and that it isn't anyone's fault, but that it's just part of life.

Now I think that there is beauty in the middle of the muck and there is redemption and that we don't have to do anything to make us worthy enough to experience it.

Now I think that our imperfect selves as we are is enough for today, for this moment right now.

Now I think that venting our feelings is like the gutteral roar and scream of giving birth, a sometimes necessary part of the process.

Now I think that receiving ourselves as we are is the pathway to peace
     -- to freedom and life. 

Like Sarah, I've had some sorting out in my life.

Joining others in #OutOfSortsBook syncroblog

Friday, July 24, 2015

a growing of us

ou're only four days old now and I still can hardly believe you're here.

Sometimes it feels like I'm floating and it's not because I am just a tad bit back logged on sleep. Is this truly not a dream?

The joy I feel is just so unbelievable.
The peace I feel is just so remarkable.

I carried a hope to be a Momma to another and you've been a long wait for me.

Watching you nuzzle and guzzle what God made my body provide for you, I am reminded of all those times I thought I was broken.

The doctor says you're just a few ounces away from your birth weight, gaining and growing quickly. I smile and then I tear up, knowing you won't be this tiny with squished up legs for much longer.

I watched your daddy take over and undress you at the doctor's office today, and then change your diaper one and then two times. He is so patient, concerned more about being gentle with you than rushing in response to a waiting nurse. I think, if only I could be half as good at changing diapers! Then I remember . . . 

Comparing isn't the way to live our own unique lives.

It's the changes that I notice most in these days since laboring and birthing you that astound me -- in me and in all of us.

With each contraction I experienced during my labor with you, I felt such a calm and profound peace as I focused on letting go and surrendering to the process. As I pushed you out and into the world, my loud, gutteral, uninhibited screams were more than just a response to the physical pain.

I screamed for the wrestle of surrender, for the receiving of grace, for the journey of hope, for the love being birthed in me.

Since that day I looked at you astounded that you really are here, I continue to feel immense joy and peace. I look at you and know that it's not about being worthy or deserved, it's simply about the plan God wants to accomplish.

I can truly rest from trying to be someone, I can just live, as I am. 

I don't have to do every thing right, I really am good enough. 

Your brother has been opened up to love. His heart is private and how he's been touched by your life already is in deeper ways than we could ever fully know. From the moment he learned of your budding life, to the moments now when he looks at you, something profound has been happening in him.

Your daddy and I are true partners now, not competitors or trying to prove anything to each other. We appreciate each other and love each other no matter our irritations or annoyances. Letting us be partners and friends on this journey is no small thing for me, let me tell you.

It could be the nearly 15-years of marriage and 11-years of parenting together that has taught your daddy and me to work together in coordination and cooperation, like sinews, yet I know it's more than that because we could be 30-years in and not have what we have today. 

God has given us courage to face the days with perseverance and to choose commitment over comfort.

This is a special time and I will not rush it away. I have already been out of work for over a month as we awaited your birth. Under the surface, there was a deep birthing of me during that time. I will be home for several more months and I am determined to not pressure myself or obligate myself to anything beyond our growing together.

I will nap when I need to, surrendering the compulsion to singlehandedly tend to you.

I will let your daddy in, and all the others who want to know and love you.

I will resume running because it is nourishment to my wellness, not to hurry away the remnants of my pregnancy with you.

This time is different. 

I am becoming the me I was designed to be; I am content and grateful for my life, as it is. I am at peace with all the parts of my story I had once wished were different. 

I'd say we're both quite blessed.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hope unfurled

Through a long and painful journey, I learned that if I wanted a life of rest I would need to be patient. Trouble was, patience wasn't my thing.

For so long, if I wanted something I would go get it.

Even my groom told me once I'm a "Go-Getter". I took pride in that. And part of me still does.

If I saw a problem, I would niggle my way to a solution, or at least do something to make it work even if it wasn't the right way.

Answers to my questions weren't solid in my mind. I'd niggle until I was a little more satisfied, as though there is always a compromise to be made.

Rules were always negotiable to me; guidelines for the general population. I always assumed once people told their own story, there was wiggle room for adjustments.

Being patient seemed like a waste of time to me.

     How can I sit still and wait when there might be something I could do? 

It seemed utterly ridiculous for me to just wait and see

     If there was a house I liked, I'd jump on it for fear it might pass us up.
     If there was a job description I found interesting, I'd apply for it.
     If there was a dream I held, I'd pursue it.

Yet, tucked underneath the surface of my sometimes admirable "Go-Getter" personality was a fear-based way to my approach of life.

All my trying hard to get what I wanted, or what I thought was right, was really because I feared life would pass me up . . . that maybe I wasn't good enough. And so over and over again I tried to be.

I didn't really consider God allows certain experiences to occur for purposes we'll never understand. I didn't grasp Him wanting the "best" for His children and consider myself as one of them.

When I realized just how anxious I was living and how I'd constructed a tight-gripped life, I was at the bottom of myself -- suffocated in feelings of exhaustion from trying all I could muster to make things happen and discovering I simply couldn't.

I asked my groom and a few close friends how else to live, because I knew no other way but the try-hard way and finally had discovered that really is no kind of life.

Finally, I decided to test God.
     If He really is real, then I could stop trying so hard. 

If He really is real, then I could sit back and sip a cuppa, even in the mist and the fog, and even in the whirl and twirl of the storm. I ventured to believe He would hold me, and even if something bad-seeming happened, He would make beauty out of it.

This consideration overwhelmed me and gave me courage to see aspects of my story in different ways. So I choose to stay on my proverbial porch and loosed my ideas and plans for how life should be.

     I let Him do what He wanted to do and I chose to trust Him.

I surveyed my life as it was and determined that no matter what happens, I could trust Him. After all the choices I'd made and all the awfulness I'd put people through, I was still treasured and beloved.

For years I held a deep seeded belief in my heart for two dreams.

     I hoped we would have another child.
     I hoped my father and I would have peace.

On the baby I hoped for, it felt ridiculous in every way when month after month of begging and cajoling evolved into years -- nearly a decade worth.

On the relationship I hoped for, that too felt ridiculous in every way when month after month of no contact evolved into years of tense, awkward, distant, and tangled communication -- much more than a decade worth.

I ached for these dreams because I believed it was God's will. Yet, mostly, I wanted to see it all come true so then I could know for certain He really is real.

I imagined all sorts of things, including a script which wasn't mine to write. I nearly convinced myself these dreams weren't going to happen and hoping for them was a waste of time.

Still, deep inside my heart stirred the words: Chase. Hope. 

     It seemed so silly. So foolish.
          After all this time? Still? Why? What's the point? 

The journey was long and finally I surrendered to the possibility that I could be wrong. I was exhausted from trying to make these dreams happen and even from anxiously anticipating that they might come true. I considered that maybe things wouldn't turn out the way I imagined or the way I thought it should be and it was then that I realized He is real. He showed me there is great purpose, even for pain.  

I could have made the choice to trust Him and still come up empty handed so to speak. Even that wouldn't have been true, though, because the true Rest I experienced in surrendering my life and patience to Him was so much more than any dream could ever fulfill.

It wasn't because I chose patience and loosed the dreams that they became true. 
     It was because of God's plan, period. 

There's so much more I could say about all of this. So much more I want the world to know and understand, mostly about God than about my story.

In the process of loosing these dreams and choosing to trust Him, God taught me a new definition of strong:
     To bravely choose to trust Him for Now, as it is
          . . . even though we hope for something more.

God taught me to Chase Hope -- as risky as it is. 

He taught me to pursue it with reckless abandonment of fear that I might be wrong, that I'm not good enough, or that it just might never come to be. He helped me realize I will never be "good enough" to get everything I want to be just right or just how I would prefer it to be. 

My story involved a lot of waiting and wondering and wrestling. I learned the important of patience and most of all, that I can trust God no matter what. He helped me understand that He loves me, that I am good enough, and I can rest. These aren't just cute sayings, they are truth. 

Ultimately, I didn't even need the dreams anymore. 
     Yet, after all the sojourning, my hope has been unfurled. 

The peace I hoped for between my father and me has come. Shame and fear no longer have a grip on our relationship. We have been freed to accept each other as we are. Love between us has been birthed. Truly I tell you, this is no small thing. 

Within days from now (or perhaps even hours) our long-awaited and much hoped for child is expected to be born.  

This story is not about the baby or a righted-relationship, or even about being patient or letting go of all the trying. It's about what God did in the process and the truth that He is so very real. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

a birthing of a God-sized dream

Stories connect to other stories and suddenly there's an afghan-length of thread to sort through with the beginning knit so tightly with all the others that it's unrecognizable. Such is the way with how to navigate where the journey began for me to discover the simplicity, breadth and depth of love.

For a long time I tried to be a fixer -- of situations, of circumstances, of hearts, of people. I lived a lot of my first 35 years as an anxious person who tried to control every single thing, including people.

The truth is, no matter how hard I try there's quite possibly someone I won't please, or something that I've overlooked, or a better way. Still, I expended an inordinate amount of energy on a highly unlikely outcome of perfection; it was a bit like insanity.

Eventually I realized how completely exhausting it is to constantly be on the lookout for brokenness. I sat there with all that wasn't whole and considered what it might mean to simply and fully loose all that I grasped with my hands.

Like a bird set free, my unfurled fingers gave permission for dreams and wants and visions to fly away . . . for me and even for others. 

This unfurling made space for new things to find their way in my hand and new people to find their way into my heart; things and people I hadn't anticipated or even considered.

In the loosing, I went through a period of grief in which my tendencies were shaken. Muscles were learning a new way of being, no longer constantly constricted. I learned to be patient with myself as I navigated this new way of living. Still, I found myself afraid of the openness that became of the new-found space in my hand and was tempted to grip those fingers tight again. The joy I felt was almost too much to bear.

The restful state I was living in was almost dream-like and I feared waking up from a slumber that resembled a fantasy-like world because, surely, I thought, the bottom would eventually fall out. I was afraid of living happy-clappy and not being prepared enough for the hard times, so I tried to brace myself and quickly realized that it was the reverting back to a constricted way of living.

Slowly, I discovered that there are people surrounding me who actually love me as I am; I don't have to do anything or be anyone differently.

There are people who see something in my brokenness that is more beautiful than I'll ever see. 

People who think that I am perfectly imperfect. People who accept me and adore me. Period.

I had slammed the windows shut and bolted the door tight so many of those people would stop looking at me and talking to me and thinking of me. Because I imagined I was a nuisance and a pest, a hypocrite who wanted to change and who couldn't. And then one day I thought about how lonely it feels to always be by myself, running from here to there and making it a sport. So, I chose to open the windows and let in the cool breeze. I opened the door and let in all the people. It was one of those moments when I decided to test God and see if I really would be okay.

And it felt like nakedness, I tell you.

Letting people in made me want to scream: Hand-me-a-bathrobe-please! Because it's scary to be standing there all red in the face and raw from the tight-grip life. It's vulnerable and incredibly uncomfortable. Yet, those people knew all of that about me before I did. And they stayed. I didn't need to send out invitations to welcome people back in, they were just there -- smiling and cheering for me the whole time.

I used to not want to be seen anywhere I went. 

I'd wear a baseball cap and flit my eyes around people to the "others" I presumed were more important. I avoided fitness centers and churches and coffee shops and parades. I wanted to be among but to actually be incognito. Secretly, I wanted to be seen and known, and deep inside I begrudged the people who just didn't try hard enough to see through my tough-girl image. I had created a story in which I made myself the victim and everyone else the villain.

I realized a lot as I considered all the people who remained in my life even though I tried to hide. Though I cannot control the future, I can choose how I react to today. I can hold my hand open and my fingers loose for whatever might find a new perch with me, or let what needs to fly away simply go, all the while living in a state of rest. I can trust God with me, as I am, and with my life, as it is. I learned that love looks at a person with empathy and says, "I get you more than you realize" and "I've been there, too".

Love allows us to hope even when we fear.

Love bolsters us in the midst of fear in a way that doesn't hide the truth of potential reality
     . . . and love reminds us that it is safe to celebrate joy, as it is.

Love knows that we're all humans starving for grace.
Love knows that no one is better than another.
Love knows that we all have something about us that makes us needy and needed.

I started letting my face show and my voice be heard, and you know what? I didn't die. My worst fears didn't come true.

I was most surprised at the head nods and me-too's that I heard, affirming that I belong and I matter

As it turns out, that feeling of nakedness is actually quite freeing (though I promise you that I won't be making it habit to streak bare-butted across my neighborhood.)

Nowadays I like the girl I see in the mirror; I love her, in fact. I accept her and treasure her, as. she. is.

And nowadays, though I honestly still struggle with grasping for control and find that my muscles twitch in a restless-like way as they continue to learn how to rest and simply let things (and especially people) be, as they are, I am passionate about encouraging others to loose their tightly gripped fists and to simply accept their lives, as. it. is.

When we decide not to fix the brokenness and simply be, we reflect that we trust that the One who created us designed us with deliberate intention.

And when we embrace ourselves as we are, our lives reflect a living worship; the real kind that says, "I receive your love. You are enough for me."

Might we embrace our stories as they are.
Might we seek to know God and find peace.
Might we redefine strong and bravely live naked, trusting Him -- as we are.

: : : 

I said "Yes" to a crazy vision that didn't make any sense to me.

Slowly, passion and joy for this God-sized dream unfurled.

Birthed today, this here is a collection of hearts who have chosen to embrace life, as it is --
     . . . this is C'est La Vie: The Magazine:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

a trust thing

When you chase so hard after something you are certain is part of your story --

. . . and you find that it's not what you wanted, necessarily,
          it's just what you believed would be true . . .

. . . and all those years of worrying that you might possibly be wrong,
          that there's no guarantee your dreams will ever come to be . . .

. . . and something monumental actually does happen . . .

. . . and it happens in you . . .

Such was the case with me.

: : : 

I wanted to believe.
I wanted to know God is real.
I wanted to know in my own knock-my-socks-off way.

I thought I wasn't good enough, that perhaps He was annoyed and irritated with me like I was with myself, and like I imagined so many other people were with me.
All my fears, all the anxiety I carried around with me . . . it all became asked of me as possibilities to consider.

     What if my groom dies while we're still in the midst of raising him?
     What if our son dies?
     What if we die and leave him alone?
     What if I lose my job?
     What if I get sick and die?
     What if this dream never comes true?
     What if I never have the close relationships I longed for all those years?

To face fear is the only way to move through it. 

To avoid it or be quiet about it, only allows it to stick around longer and take up residence, keeping me frozen.

Do I trust Him? That is actually the real question to all my anxiety.

I always made every anxiety about Me.

I tried to ensure certain possibilities by eating a certain way, or working out a certain way, or learning all I can to fix all the things.

What if it isn't really about me?

What if someone in the crossfires of my story actually needs to be there for God to do some miraculous work in their lives?

What if the challenges my groom and I face with our son are really the way God will draw Boy-Man to His heart?

What if my imperfections are a way for someone else -- possibly someone who isn't even within my close knit circle -- to see the Hand and Face of God?

Do I trust Him with life, as it is?

: : : 

I think about the times I've lived reckless, the times I threw my hands up and pitched a little fit, pretending I didn't care. I contrast those choices with how my life is at this very moment and I am utterly amazed, incredibly humbled, and in slack-jawed awe.

Where my life is at is nothing short of a miracle. It is most definitely a reflection of the Hand of God, there is simply no other explanation. Because, I certainly haven't done enough good to be here, and it certainly can't be luck that brought me here.

My life is a reflection of Grace that says I am loved, as I am. 

There is nothing I need do to earn favor when my heart longs to honor Him, even though I can tend to selfishly want what I want.

I've realized that I can trust Him.

I can be naked, fully exposing who I am
     . . . and I will be held
     . . . safe and secure.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

learning the ways of rest

I was deceived. For years I was under this misunderstanding of Grace.

Scratch that. I didn't know about Grace. Really, I hadn't heard of it.

For years I judged women. Admittedly, I still do.
     Mostly, I judge myself.

So when the Physician's Assistant asked me four weeks before my due date how I was feeling, and I told her the truth (because I've learned its importance), I wasn't quite ready for what she offered me.

I had a plan to be out of work on a set date and even that plan was a generous helping of rest I hadn't ever considered nearly 11-years ago when I was last pregnant and down to the wire, so to speak. Back then, I worked until Noon on the day of my scheduled induction . . . two-weeks after my due date. Yep. I sure did.

Everything had been going so well and I truly didn't even consider an end date for work except unless something happened that would require being taken out of work, or actually being in labor.

This time, I mostly had the same viewpoint; except, I thought about how difficult it is to go to work each day and wonder if it'll be any day, and I thought about my nearly 11-year-old Boy-Man and how I'd really like some time together before we become a family of four. So, I planned to take a "vacation" starting the week preceding my due date and just continue a stay-cation until the delivery, at which time maternity leave would begin.

Knowing our "plans" can get sidelined, I was prepared for the possibility of potentially getting taken out of work earlier than expected, or of something going quirky that would derail all of my highfalutin plans. So, I kept my ideas loose-ish.

What I hadn't considered was being offered to be taken out of work "to rest," and it not necessarily being because anything is wrong. 

I told my PA how exhausted I am . . . how the baby is "so low" . . . how I'm incredibly uncomfortable . . . and of the regular-ish (Braxton-Hicks) contractions.

She reminded me of the magnitude of pregnancy and encouraged me to consider resting even more than I'd so diligently and deliberately focused on (and was) doing.

     But, it just seems so silly . . .
     Women have babies all the time . . .
     There's not really a compelling reason . . . 

     What will people think? 

My perception of pregnancy had deceived me from reality.

I thought mean things like:

     Women who didn't enjoy their pregnancy weren't appreciative. 
     Women who complained about the discomfort of pregnancy are weak. 
     Rest is for the weak ones.

Yeah, I was a judgy one -- tight-fisted, insensitive, irrational, and incredibly intense!

I'm not sure I ever considered all that pregnancy requires of a woman's body, especially in the last month of pregnancy. I'm not sure I ever considered kindness, either.

So here I am with nearly two-weeks until this baby's due date . . . with a tween-age Boy-Man who is so happy to have his Momma home . . .

     And I'm still learning the importance of rest . . .
          I'm still learning the ways of Grace.

You can preach truth at me all the livelong day to loosen my grip and rest, and I'll nod my head in agreement that I get it. I write about it. I preach about it.

But growing is a process, and it requires my patience.
Even though we know truth it doesn't mean our "muscle memory" automatically reprograms. 
Though I am willing and aching for a life with less fear-based living that is the reason for my tight-constricted way of living, I'm definitely a work in progress and still growing. 

     I'm continuing to chase hope for my "muscles" to further develop . . .
          that I will live less clenched and rule-based.
     I'm learning to be patient in and with the process.

Maybe this whole experience of letting go and saying "yes" to the opportunity for rest, offered by one sensitive, understanding, and wise Physician's Assistant was one of those moments that will bring me ever further into living the kind of life I believe I was created to live.

I was hardwired to be a hard-worker, a "go-getter," and (at least slightly) Type A. This is a good thing. It helps me get things done and accomplish goals. Yet, it isn't all of me.

About my concern of what people might think?

I'm hoping that like my Physician's Assistant ultimately did, others might look into my eyes and with honesty say:

     "I get it. I so get it. And, I'm with you."

Because, as much as we all know loosening our grip is important, and we want to grab our friend's by the shoulders and shake them until they get it, I have to believe we're all a work in progress . . . we all struggle to fully rest.

And one of my biggest realizations?

    There is no shame for the difficulty in ever more fully learning this truth.

It was a couple of friends who stood in the gap for me, holding space for my continued growth. They walked alongside me in my struggle and didn't judge me or make me feel inadequate.

These few friends didn't try to fix me. They didn't tell me to get over it and command me to "simply" loosen my grip.

These few simply held space for me by opening their hearts, offering unconditional support, and let go of judgment. These friends honor the necessary part of the process.

As one dear friend prayed for me, I also pray, for us all:
"That the paths you are so prone to go down -- the ones of production, the ones of appearance, the ones of showing yourself worthy -- that the rigidness of those routes would soften, and that what spills out the edges of that would find new ground and new ways to make paths . . . for newness of life to grow . . . and a new strength to come from giving over to the work of God."