Thursday, January 26, 2012

Standing Up.

"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

A lady mentioned this phrase to Adam and I this week during a conversation we were having, and I didn't think anything of it at first except that in the context it was said was really funny (the lady was claiming basically if you weren't a Baptist then you would fall - aka our nondenominational church was wrong). Anyway, that's not what I want to discuss here...I've been thinking a lot about that phrase today. Maybe not the phrase itself, but the cascade of thoughts and emotions I've had since the first thought.

Lately it has been extremely hard for me to find any motivation to do anything, except surviving. I would love to blame this realization on the babies, and granted my life is busy because of the boys, but the more I think about it, the more I come to understand it's been hard for me to become motivated my whole life. I would LOVE to lay down at night and be satisfied with what I accomplished that day*. I feel like I have lost a lot of my passion, my drive, my desire for things I used to be excited about...I think these things have just been replaced by a new passion, a different passion, for my family and my sons, but it has felt really strange lately. I am completely, madly, totally in love with my sons and "working" as a mom, but it's like every relationship - no matter how much you love someone, you'll have a fight eventually. Momhood and I are fighting right now.

I believe that when you become a parent your life changes in many many ways, all of which are for the better...the changes may be difficult to swallow at first, but they are better. However, I think it's time I stand up. I want to stand up for myself in ways I haven't allowed myself to in a long time. I blame the boys for being tired and not accomplishing more around the house and in my personal life. For two months now, I was supposed to start exercising and get a haircut. OK, exercising would be more difficult, but how hard is it to take a couple hours out of one day and get a haircut? I blame them for not reading the Bible like I should or forgetting to send out support letters one day...the important stuff. The dishes can wait. I do feel like housework is important (after all, it is part of the job description...kidding. But really.) but it's more understandable to let that sort of thing slide when you have babies. It is not ok to blame my kids when my desire to walk closer with the Lord gets put on a back burner.

So, tonight, I'm standing up. I may not believe you have to stand for one denomination or else you'll fall, but I do believe you need to stand up for Jesus. And I've been sitting down far too long. Far, far too long. I think I'm going to become one of those people - I need to set some goals, and I need some accountability. I've seen more and more people posting their goals on their blogs, maybe I should do that? It definitely hurts more to fall in front of people than when you're by yourself.

*I realize how defeated I sound right now, I am not. I also realize that raising two boys is productive in itself. And I know I don't need to be obsessed with my "performance" from the day, I can still have a productive day without finishing a checklist of items.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grieving "things"

As Christians we are taught from a very young age to not become caught up in material "stuff"...nice cars, the newest trends, a fancy house. This is not to say (in my opinion) these things are wrong or that Christians shouldn't/can't strive for a better than average financial standing, but the Bible is definitely clear about where we need to store our treasure. I have always interpreted this to mean we aren't meant to be consumed with the "things" of this world or allow earthly possessions to get in the way of our walk. On a more personal note, although my family was always blessed growing up and I never went without the essentials, I have never considered myself to be materialistic (save my love for shoes of course...everyone has their vices!). I always imagined myself living among and serving the "least of these" so I didn't think having a big house or new clothes was important to me...

Then we started seminary and experienced several interesting living situations - we found ourselves living in New Orleans surrounded by amazing houses and dreams of rebuilding and designing our own house (after Katrina there were a ton of houses you could buy pretty cheap). However, we knew we wouldn't be living in the US for too much longer, so it wouldn't be worth it unfortunately to buy any property...instead we settled into a extremely small, kind of ghetto, but quaint one bedroom apartment on campus (I'm being very generous to Willingham Manor for those of you who know what it is). We've moved several other times since then for lots of different reasons, the main one being we needed more space for our growing family (TWICE!). All of this to say, I'm pretty used to packing up our "things" and trying to be as simplistic as possible by getting rid of excess stuff along the way. We moved back to North Carolina in May after graduation and believed after we found an apartment and settled in we wouldn't have to move again until we made our big move to France at the end of the year....or so I thought...

Last week we found MOLD growing in our apartment. Nasty, disgusting, growing like crazy, MOLD. Not only was it in our apartment, but it was making it's home right next to the window where my boys sleep beside each night. Gross. And not liveable. Needless to say, we were pretty upset and went to talk to our apartment manager right away, and although the company is great and this lady is as nice as she can be, they aren't willing to fix the problem completely. So, as parents, there's no way we were going to let our babies sleep in a mold-infested house longer than they had to. We debated and deliberated for days and came up with a solution we think will be best for our family: we're going to move in with my parents again. I know, I know, right about now most of you are thinking we are absolutely nuts, and we probably are, but it seems like the best option. Once we decided that, we only had a few days to sign all of the papers and move our things out (which we're still in the middle of doing)...if you know Adam and I, we aren't for moving slowly, and this is no exception, although this one isn't entirely our choice:) Thus I come to the point of this blog post: boxing up our life again.

But it's different this time. This time I'm not boxing up our "life" and our "things" for a few days or even a few weeks while we drive across the country or move somewhere new. I'm packing our things up for years, possibly. Can I just say I was not as emotionally prepared as I imagined I would be for this moment? In my head and my heart I knew I had almost a whole year to prepare myself to say "goodbye" to our American life: our extra clothes and shoes, our boys having their own rooms and a semi-ridiculous amount of toys, my very own kitchen with my own cooking supplies, etc. Granted, I realize I'm not saying goodbye to American life altogether, we're still going to be here until the end of this year, but still...I admit it, I am completely, totally grieving "STUFF". A day hasn't gone by this week that I haven't shed a tear (ok, several...maybe some sobs too) over all of our things being sold or given away. Don't get me wrong - I am beyond stoked at this new adventure in our life we'll be going on soon...I just didn't expect this part to happen so soon. My parents are still living in a small rental house in Greensboro until they sell their house in Charlotte, so we really are having to get rid of almost everything, or else store it until we return from overseas. I'm having to pack boxes that say FRANCE/AFRICA on the label...oh my goodness. I admit it, I'm definitely more attached to material possessions than I thought I was...this week has been hard, we've had to make a lot of tough decisions, but it has been healing as well. I honestly believe when you make a choice like we have to follow God's plan for us and head overseas, living all of our loved ones and "stuff" behind, there is a grieving period. And I'm in the middle of it...and it will probably not be a short grieving period, throughout this year and while we're gone, I'm sure I'll feel different stages of grief. It is still so liberating and healing to know that God knew this was going to happen - He knows how we feel and even feels with us. Our God is a God of emotion as well and it's just nice to know that's ok to grieve (in a healthy way of course) and that our grief is one step closer to the bigger plan He's had for us all along.

As for living with my parents, feel free to throw up some prayers for all involved...:) But that will be ok too!