Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Maybe It's Not Maybeline...

I have an ugly problem. 

I've struggled with it for pretty much as long as I can recall. There have been times in my life where it wasn't such a battle... Sometimes because it didn't feel so forcefully overwhelming... and other times because I stopped fighting, and allowed it to carry me wherever it willed. 

In the battleground of my mind and mirror I've bled in anguish and experienced victorious freedom. I've walked securely in that freedom that my Savior offers for years, only to have it rear its ugly head, and in an instant revert my mind and heart to my insecure fourteen year old self... Apparently she's still around. 

And apparently she's not overly impressed with the 32 year old version of herself. With my stomach that's been flatter, arms that have been stronger, eyes that were sharper, legs that used to run faster, hair that was blonder, skin that used to be clearer, mind that was smarter, smile that's been straighter... And when her criticisms showed up in my mind sounding like part of the "Mean Girls" script, but in my own voice, I was not prepared. 

See, I thought I had starved her to death. I revoked her regular diet of magazines and air-brushed-people watching, restricted her appetite for the constant comparison game, and got a new "tape" to play in my mind based on Truth. I had even learned to swallow the sweetness of compliments from honest loved ones... But she hadn't disappeared. 

She was just hiding. 

Hiding behind the thick "make-up" concealer of the right hair style, better fitting clothes, acquired make-up skills, clever responses, harder efforts, consistent workouts, well-behaved children, fashion advice, slightly impressive drum skills, handsome husband, edited selfies... Behind my shell of having it "all together"... 
A shell I don't even remember constructing.
 A wall that I fear to look behind, yet have no clue what I'm guarding. 
A blockade that stops true intimacy, even with the God who created my deepest parts...

It was my seeking Jesus for that deeper closeness that loosed the ugly issues I had been concealing. God does answer our questions, be sure of that. It was the gentle hand of my loving Savior that removed my ability to ignore that deep down in my core I still clung to the perception that I am ugly. Physically: ugly. Emotionally: crazy. Skillfully: inept. Practically: annoying. 

I don't yet have clarity as to why I would cling to these assumptions. Possibly as a self-depricating defense against the chance that others found me this way... But there I was, staring in a mirror, seeing ugly, hearing Jesus call me "wonderfully created", and not knowing how to reconcile these. I prayed. I cried. I shared with close friends. I studied His Word... But the same passages I'd highlighted on my journey to past freedom just added to the question "why am I back in this pit?"

God still speaks. It wasn't Isaiah 43:4 calling me precious & loved. It wasn't Psalm 139 telling me I am hand-crafted wonderfully. It wasn't Romans 8:35-39 stating that nothing can seperate me from God's love... Although those are all amazing truths. It was Philippians 1:6 that God used to whisper to my warring heart "be confident that I WILL complete this work in you that I started."

Not in myself...
Not in my appearance...
Not in my mirror...
In Jesus.
He is faithful. He is true. He is working in me...

So I'm planting that seed of Truth deep in the dark recesses of my heart. I'm not just swallowing it down lightly to feel better momentarily, but truly letting it do battle with what I fear so much. It's scary. It's hard. Yet I'm convinced there will be a harvest of true freedom and beauty that is worth more than the fight can hurt. 

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Tale of One Day...

Valentines day... Oh the sweetness of our February 14th... It went something like this:

I woke up to a Hannah-made card next to a surprise breakfast of cold toast & an apple (she gets her culinary expertise from her mom). So adorable. Since it was a snow day, the kids who are capable of dressing themselves, played in the almost two-feet of snow. Then inside for hot cocoa and a valentine card scavenger hunt (what else do you do when you have 42 valentines laying around?!?) After lunch we FaceTimed with family and took naps... At least that's what I assumed happen since I woke up in a puddle of drool and it was 1 hour and 37 minutes later than when I entered my bedroom... The afternoon held festivities such as making "Fuzz Bugs" out of pom-poms and mustaches (thanks Nana), 
heart-shaped pizza, 
and heart banana cakes! 
We finished off the day with a Valentine's dance (with a play-list sporting Cupid Shuffle and the Chicken Dance) and by flipping over the last few love note hearts on their door. 
This day seriously happened. I know you hardly believe me. That's why I posted so much photographic evidence. 

But so did this day...

On Valentines Day it was ReaLLy snowy. So there was a snow day. That meant feeding actual breakfast to 2 more mouths than intended while I tried to get myself and Theo ready for an 8:15 AM appointment. While locking Theo up in his car seat, I investigated the draftiness to find the door to the basement wide open. My mom math skills quickly deduced that it had been open for roughly 20 hours... since the time the previous day when Hannah and Mic were instructed to come in through that door after playing outside. Enter a minor panic attack over our next gas bill. The snow drifts were obviously too high behind my car, so I strapped Theo's seat into Brice's Subaru, and after multiple attempts made it out of our driveway 15 minutes late. 
It wasn't on the snowy roads, or even the icy hike into the office, no, I made it all the way to the check-in desk before I realized that I packed the wrong kid. Yes. The wrong kid. It was an appointment for Maverick, Theo was who I brought. This is funny when you're not kicking yourself while trying to figure out how you're now going to make it to the new appointment on a weekday when there are already three appointments on the calendar... Oye. 
Over the next few hours I broke up, participated in, or ignored bickerments pertaining to socks, valentines, scavenger hunts, spelling, cheese burritos, naps, Cupid, teeth brushing, Shaun the Sheep, snow day homework, googly eyes, & gloves... To name a few. Nap time came to an abrupt end with 1 screaming baby, 2 poopy diapers and 4 kids wanting snacks. It was like the morning all over again... 
The real fun begins (as it always does) when I attempted to prepare dinner. I got the older two distracted with the "Fuzz Bug" craft and was beginning to make pizza dough. Between the time I poured the water and was measuring out the flour, Maverick woke up, sat on the potty, got up from the potty, peed on the floor, sat back on the potty (for a reminder of where tinkle is supposed to go), got up from the potty, and had diarrhea on the carpet... Yum. This whole scenario can be enriched by imaging the older two pestering me to help them glue the antennas on the "Fuzz Bugs" and complaining about how it smells. By the time I got everything cleaned, scrubbed, and sanitized (& diapered), I realized I had no clue how much flour I had already added to the dough! Good thing I'm such a natural in the kitchen, because I just guessed. 

I know what you're thinking... "Praise The Lord she didn't provide photographic evidence of THAT part of her day!" You're welcome. 

It was just a day. It was amazing and terrible. It was low and it was high. It was the best and the worst... All within the same 3 minutes. I laughed and danced and played and baked and taught... And I cried and yelled and prayed and begged and sent S.O.S. texts to Brice at work... I cursed having four children, and I cherished moments with each of their deep eyes and contagious smiles. It's the good and the bad that we vowed. It's just how days go. 

We could choose to hope for only the amazing and expect nothing but Pinterest perfect results... And we would be dramatically disappointed and frustrated. We could choose to focus only on the stress and fights and our total lack of control over our days... And we would be tragically embittered with even more of the same. Or we can dance to the beat and roll with the punches. We can cry out in frustration, apologize after our parental temper tantrums, join in the imagining, and giggle uncontrollably (like a 6-year old boy upon the realization that "tutor" is another word for "teacher")... Maybe we can just strive to savor the sweet moments, react rightly in the unexpected, and have grace in the repetition. Sounds a lot like love...

So I guess it was a very fitting way to spend Valentines Day.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Character Profile:

Special Agent: Mic

Known Aliases: Buster, Biggy, Micker Man, Mic-smaster, pickle-man, brother-man...
Super Powers: 
- Creation: can make anything with crayons, pens, markers, clay, or Legos.
- The Super Sniffer: can detect a smelly diaper, secretly consumed piece of chocolate, homemade bread before it's being baked, coffee breath, or silent release of gas at incredible distance, speed, and accuracy.
- Truth Telling: if he has an opinion it will not be withheld. This is a benefit to his character, but a slight hindrance to his attempts at covert information handling.
- A Single Dimple: reports have come back that, even though it lacks a pair, his dimple is extremely charming and can work in his favor when seeking a "yes" answer. 
- Power Belching: he has worked long and hard to perfect an enormous, deep, burp from the gut that makes parental figures think they may need to grab a bucket... He claims an inability to help it. Either way it's an impressive release of gas from a miniature man.
- Sweet Words: pairing his tenacity for truth telling with his generous compliment giving is a heart-melting combo. He loves to build others up verbally and often adds a "hold you me" hug to really make his point. 
- De-Strangerification: WARNING! This agent does not know a stranger! He notices and makes friends out of people who are in his immediate environment. Check out clerks, passengers on the same plane, other children at the store, cafeteria workers... It's rumored he gets this ability from his Papa. 

Future Plans:
- Build Robots: Mic is working towards a career in construction... And if that could be the construction of robotic life that would be the coolest. Ever.
- Visit Mike and Moses in Thailand: He communicates with and prays for two boys on the other side of this world. He is determined to go meet them one day that they might play together with the cars & cards he has sent them. 
- Fly on Airplanes. Often: Fellow passengers beware. He will not let you sleep through your trip. He will make friends with you. If you are slightly uncomfortable with air travel, I hope you get to sit next to him. 
- Be a Daddy: This super hero agent hopes to leave future heroes in his wake. Early reports show this to be a favorable impact on this world. 

We look forward to keeping a watch on this guy.