What we can do

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I am so tempted this morning to write my own commentary on everything that has transpired over the weekend. I feel like I could go on forever with examples of some of the absurdity and hypocrisy we have seen. It just makes me so mad. It feels so obvious, doesn’t it? Women march for freedom and inclusivity and yet ban pro-life women from marching. People say Trump is full of hate all while spewing hateful words over social media at the artists who were willing to perform at the inauguration events. Women call Trump sexist while Jay-Z headlined a concert as part of Hillary’s campaign. Yes, Jay-Z. I can’t even give you examples of his lyrics on here, they’re that bad…but guys, they are literally the epitome of sexism and misogyny.

I think somewhere deep inside I feel like if I could just write a really convincing blog post or provide a few articles with the actual facts or somehow clearly reveal the blatant hypocrisies, it’ll make a difference. But guess what? It won’t. The people who agree with me will like it, share it, and rejoice that someone else feels the same way as they do. The people who stand in the opposite camp will comment with passionate disagreement while feeling frustrated that people like me just don’t get it. I’m not going to miraculously change these people’s minds, as much as I wish I could.

S0, today, instead of continuing my rant in a fruitless effort to convince people of their error, I’m going to give a you a list of things I (and you, too) can do in light of recent events.

1. I can continue to strive to be the best wife, mom, daughter, friend, and sister I can be. None of what’s going on effects my day to day life. I can still choose to respond to my husband in love, choose joy in the mundane tasks of chasing a baby around, doing laundry, and cooking meals, and choose to speak words of kindness to my family members.

2. I can choose not to respond on social media with the same hatred many others are displaying. I refuse to sacrifice my reputation on the altar of politics. Choose your battles, friends. What if, a year from now, someone who you responded to with hate and sarcasm is now looking for answers in the face of some trial or crisis? You have a solution for them…the hope and peace that can be found in Christ…and yet do you really think they will come to you in their searching after your hateful remarks?

3. I can choose to extend grace. Grace for those who don’t agree with me, who don’t understand, who stand on the opposite side. Choose to show people love and kindness despite our differences. Do I still speak the truth in that love? Of course. But the truth of God’s Word, not the “truth” about the inauguration attendance, Trump’s real policies, Hillary’s past, or the biased media.

4. I can pray. Pray for Trump and his advisors and his cabinet (1 Timothy 2:1-4), knowing that whether I like him or not, he is now my President. He deserves my respect as an authority ordained by God (Romans 13:1). I can also pray for the souls of those who disagree with me, even those who spew hateful words at me or the people I support (Luke 6:28).

5. I can remember who I really am. I am a sinner saved by grace. Different in only one way from the women who cheered when Madonna said she’s thought about blowing up the white house, from Jay-Z and his horrendous lyrics, from the reporters, from the the people breaking store windows and trashing the city streets. God saved me out of my sin, out of that darkness and brought me into his marvelous light. It’s none of my doing and all of His.

6. I can have an eternal perspective. This is the world, we’re talking about. We shouldn’t expect them to agree with us or see it from our viewpoint. The world has hated Jesus all along and we are told many times to expect that same hatred (Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13, among others). Don’t be surprised by this. Instead, let it fuel your desire for Jesus’ return and your passion to see others come to Him before it’s too late.

May this encourage you in what feels like a very discouraging time. Remember that God has placed you on this earth at this very time with a purpose. A purpose to glorify Him and make Him known. Don’t let politics, self righteous anger, and pointless debate get in the way of that purpose. Happy Monday!

a new moment

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Happy New Year! I wasn’t really planning on skipping the entire month of December, but it’s now January 9th and I haven’t blogged since the end of November. Oops! Life got the better of me in December…get-togethers, shopping, a teething baby with what seemed like a never ending cold (which turned my happy boy into a cranky little bear who wouldn’t sleep or be put down), and special times with my sister who was visiting from Texas for the month! It was very busy but so much fun. I’m still in denial that Christmas is over. How did it go so fast?! I blinked and here we are in January. Gone are the Christmas decorations, holiday excitement, neatly wrapped presents, and family gatherings. In their place comes routine, long winter evenings, and new year’s resolutions.

Ah, resolutions. There is, of course, something about a new year that makes one evaluate what in their life needs changed or improved. This year I have a long list, as usual. Eat healthier. Be more consistent in my Bible and prayer time. Exercise more. Be more intentional in my relationships with people. Put my phone down more often. Waste less time. Blog more consistently. Become a better listener. And on it goes.

There’s isn’t anything necessarily wrong with making resolutions. It’s a great time to reevaluate, begin healthy habits, and make a few changes. But here’s the problem. How many of you actually keep the resolutions you so enthusiastically make on January 1st? Not me. Nope, I’m the one you might find  skipping my work out while eating chocolate and mindlessly scrolling Facebook on January 30th despite my best intentions at the beginning of the month.

It’s so very easy for me to fall into a pattern of giving up. Well, it’s the middle of January and I’ve only worked out a few times so there goes that resolution. It’s just too hard to disconnect from social media so maybe I shouldn’t have made that resolution in the first place. Oops, I ate a few too many cookies and fast food on Monday so I guess I’ll just eat whatever I want this week and start new next week or maybe the next or the next.

But here’s something I’ve been learning recently in my quest to make some good and healthy changes in my life. We aren’t stuck waiting around for a new year if we mess up. We aren’t even forced to wait for the next month or week! Each and every day welcomes the chance to start anew. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning, every hour, every moment. We can ask forgiveness if necessary, pray for strength and help, and begin again.

So I ate a donut for breakfast on Monday? I don’t need to wait until the next day to start eating healthy. I can begin again at lunchtime. So it’s Friday and I haven’t worked out all week? I can work out on Friday instead of telling myself to wait until Monday to try again. So I’ve found that I’ve wasted quite a bit of time lately scrolling through nothingness on my phone? I can begin again that very moment by making a choice to put the device down and do something wiser with my time.

So let’s not fall into the trap of giving up. Of waiting around for the next day, the next week, or the next year. Jesus transforms our lives moment by moment, day by day, year by year. I certainly wish we could just make the decision to change something about ourselves and then boom! the next day we’ve been transformed. But that’s just not how it works. We have to fight our battles each and every day. Make a choice in every moment. Start over and over and over and over again.

And then at some point, almost without notice, after many daily battles and do-overs (and with much help from the Lord), you’ll look back over the year and realize you have changed. The choices that you made each moment slowly add up to reveal that you really did keep some of those new year’s resolutions after all.

And so that’s my encouragement to you (and challenge for myself!) in this new year. Don’t give up on those resolutions. Keep at it. Start over the millionth time if you have to. Change doesn’t happen in one day. We’re given the chance to begin again with each new moment. What a beautiful thing!

One of my favorite quotes (from one of my favorite movies) says:

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables

Let’s all remember that as we go about keeping our resolutions! Happy new year once again!

Life Stages

Looks who’s back! I took a [not so] brief hiatus from blogging and now I’m back and hoping to be much more consistent in my posts. As many of you may know, we recently welcomed a precious baby boy into the world. I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed nearly every minute of the two months since he’s arrived.

Although there are a thousand things I want to write about when it comes to this new adventure of motherhood, there is one thought that has been especially on my mind in recent months. I think it’s because time seems to be going by faster than it ever did before. If that’s even possible!

It’s this idea of life stages. You know what I’m talking about. There’s high school, college, jobs, dating, engagement, marriage, babies, retirement, grandchildren, you name it. Now, as I look back at the life stages I’ve been through so far, I realize just how much I wished each stage away.

When I was in college, especially toward the end, I just wished that I could find a boyfriend. Life’s biggest and most prevalent question mark (in my mind) would be answered. I’d just be so much happier if I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I’d ever meet my future husband…

When I was just getting to know Seth, I wished that he’d just ask me out already! I could stop guessing at what his true feelings were. Did he really like me or was this just a one-sided thing? I’d just be so much happier if I just knew for sure that he liked me…

Seth finally asked me out and pretty soon I started wishing for marriage. I could plan the wedding of my dreams! I’d be so much happier if I just knew for sure I was going to marry him…

Not too long after we got married, I wished for babies. I couldn’t wait to be a mommy and I knew I wanted to start a family sooner rather than later. I’d be so much happier if we could start trying to have a baby…

When we began trying to have babies, I couldn’t wait to actually be pregnant.  I feared how long it would take and how many months were going to go by before I saw that plus sign on a pregnancy test. I’d be so much happier if I could just know a baby was growing inside me…

When we found out we were expecting, I couldn’t wait until I was far enough along to tell people. If I could just get to twelve weeks, I’d be so much happier knowing that my baby was healthy and made it through the most crucial trimester…

Twelve weeks came and went, and I just wished my baby’s due date would hurry up and get here! I was tired of worrying about the health of my unborn baby. I’d be so much happier if I could just hold a healthy baby boy in my arms…

And that brings us to now. And although it’s not quite as tempting to wish away this stage of my life, it brings a whole new level of worry. I worry about decisions, about his health and wellbeing. Is this normal? Am I doing this right? Will I be a good mom to a little boy?

And did you notice something in each of those scenarios? Each stage of life brought with it something new to worry about. I really wasn’t happier in the next stage. The worry I thought I’d be so happy to be rid of was just replaced by something else! And what did I miss in each of those stages because I was too busy waiting for the next one?

I didn’t understand that my college years were some of the most precious years with my family and friends. Since I commuted to college and didn’t have a boyfriend, I was able to spend lots of quality time with my grandparents, parents, siblings, and friends. Now I can look back and thank God for those extra years I had to enjoy spending so much undistracted time with the people that meant the most to me.

I didn’t realize that the giddy excitement of just starting to get to know Seth would soon pass, never to come back again. The way my heart jumped at just a text or a look from him. The excitement over seeing him for even five minutes.

I didn’t think about the fact that the dating stage is so short and so special. You can go out, have fun, spend money, and enjoy each other without any of the added pressures of life. Soon we were engaged and we had to think about finances, buying a house, the wedding. We had to make so many decisions in such a short amount of time! The biggest decision we had to make when we were dating was where we wanted to eat for dinner.

I didn’t notice how precious the first few years of marriage are. After kids, you can’t just sit down in the evening and have an uninterrupted netflix marathon. You can’t make dinner and sit down in peace without worrying about a crying baby or about feeding someone else. You can’t have date nights on the spur of the moment. The freedom of the first years of marriage is something we’ll never get back.

I think this theme plays itself out in all the stages of life. Don’t wish them away! Enjoy the stage you’re in, whatever it may be. Know that God has you there for a very specific reason. Yes, each stage brings its own worries. But each stage also brings something special that you’ll never get back once you move onto the next one. Look for that special thing. Ask God to help you focus on that and leave the worries in His hands! It’s hard, trust me. I’m (slowly) learning to let God have the worries and just enjoy each stage. These days with my baby boy are going by so fast. I don’t want to miss what’s special about them because I’m too busy worrying and wishing for the next thing.

As usual, the Bible sums it up best:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:33-34

Give your worries to Him and go look for the special!

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