Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making Strides

Today my son Dustin told me that he counted all the people in our family. He pointed to me and to Colton and to himself and added in dad of course and then pointed to heaven twice and said "five and six." He smiled sweetly as I rubbed his head and told him how much it means to me that he remembers his sisters and counts them. I love that he takes his big brother roll so seriously. He has always been an old soul.

I spent the rest of the day missing my girls but in a different way than usual. No tears, no depression, no questions...I just let myself feel the void. I listened to the silence made my two missing little girls and looked around at the mess that wasn't there. The Aubrey and Ellie shaped hole in my heart is permanent, but I'm getting more used to it. Not that I like it, but I accept it. It is just part of me now.

I am making strides.

I wish you could all meet my little Colton. At 8 months old he already has five teeth! He is crawling all over (has been for a while now) and loves to eat blueberries. His latest totally adorable habit is this little wave he does. I think he has discovered his hands and is impressed with how he can make them rotate at the wrist. He holds both of them up and waves countless times a day with this darling look on his face. He is in awe as am I. In awe of my amazing baby and all the cute things he does. And amazingly I feel that awe most of the time without wondering what cute things Aubrey and Ellie would have done that I will never see. Instead of sadness I smile.

I am making strides.

The past two weeks have been rough for me. I got sick. And I mean SICK. I got this sore throat cough and congestion thing that latched on to me and wouldn't let go. I was even sick on my birthday. I HATE being sick, and not just because it is miserable, but because I always blame myself for getting sick. I just know it is my own fault for not taking care of myself like I should or eating too much processed food or not getting enough sleep (I blame Colt for that!) and I just know that my body is trying to tell me something, trying to send me a message, if only I could figure out what that message is. I took herbs and Vitamin C and wrapped a hot pack around my neck with essential oils all in a attempt to heal myself. I was determined to beat it . But I didn't. It kicked my butt for 11 days straight. 11 DAYS STRAIGHT! I was miserable without question, but this time I forgave myself for getting sick. I let myself off the hook for not being indestructible. I also didn't let my disaster of a house make me feel like failure as a wife and mother. Being sick and house keeping are fundamentally opposed and I let it all be ok.

I am making strides. (And I feel much better now...I am back to training for the Tough Mudder)

Blessed. Content. Healthy.

I would have never thought it possible.

Yet it is.

"...with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My 30s

So today is my birthday. I turned 31. To be honest I don't really mind. Once you pass 30 the years get easier to swallow. It really isn't that bad being in my 30s anyway. It isn't bad at all.

When I was young and used to think about being in my 30s it felt SO far away. I would cruise around in my blue 81 El Camino feeling a lifetime from 30. I was sure that by the time I was 30 I'd be settled and secure. Settled meant married with kids and secure meant finally at peace with myself, not because I finally accepted my imperfections but because by the time I was 30 I had fixed them all.

I executed my genius plan of getting settled by marrying a Marine and moving 6 times in the first three and a half years of marriage and enduring two deployments (with more to come). And that inner security I was planning to cultivate, well it turns out that for every flaw I thought I had at 16 I really have two more, and this time they are actually real flaws. At 16 I wanted smaller thighs, now I want more integrity, discipline, selflessness, and conviction.

Now that I am in my 30s I laugh at myself at 16. My expectations bordered on crazy and turned out to be impossible. Here I sit at 31, no where close to over the hill. but more like suspended somewhere on the uphill slope holding on for dear life. I still have a ways to climb before I'm in the clear, if there even is a such thing.

So does that mean I am behind or that did I have it wrong from the start?

I am pretty sure I had it wrong from the start. One benefit of hindsight right?

I have a completely different perspective now. What I thought was up to me to accomplish with my own power and will, the life that I was going to carve out for myself, the person I was going to become, was never really within my ability in the first place. I over estimated myself and underestimated God. The life I had planned was much easier. But the one I have now is so much richer.

After 31 years I have not learned better life management skills or become more organized. I have not discovered tricks to successful living, mastered running my own life or being my own person.

What I have learned is how to let go.

I have learned to surrender my life, my dreams, my hopes and my plans to THE ONE who knows how to give me the life I need, the life that will make me less like the person I wanted to be at 16 and more like the person I want to be now, the person I need to be-more like Christ.

I can't say that I always enjoyed the process and I still have a lot of questions, but I value the fruit. I am hungrier now than I ever have been to be the woman God wants me to be so that I can live the life He wants me to live.

I don't want to do it all and have it all anymore. I only want to do and have what really matters. I don't want to be settled and secure. Self-sufficiency is overrated. I want to get better at letting God run my life, at surrendering, and at trusting. And if that means my life falls short of my expectations at 16, I am ok with that. What did I really know at 16 anyway? What do any of us know?

I will leave you with what has become my favorite Bible verse. I included two different translations. It really puts things in perspective.

2 Cor 6:3-10
3 We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way we act, and so no one can find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit. 7 We have faithfully preached the truth. God's power has been working in us. We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are well known, but we are treated as unknown. We live close to death, but here we are, still alive. We have been beaten within an inch of our lives. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. NLT

2 Cor 6:3-10
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. NIV
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