Nobody Asked Me

Nobody asked me if I was ready for my eyesight to fade and my hair to gray. Nobody got my approval before gravity started to take its toll on parts of my body that used to be positioned a little higher. No one checked in to make sure it was okay for my oldest to sound more like a man than a boy and for my youngest to outgrow me (if not quite yet in height, for sure in attitude). Nobody got my go ahead for my husband and me to become middle aged.

And yet…

Here it all is. It’s as if this planet we live on has picked up the pace. Days that used to have 24 long hours, weeks that had seven slow days, months that had four long weeks, a dozen months that felt more like a baker’s dozen to get us to a year- I’m pretty sure all of those things are happening at an accelerated pace now. Nobody asked me if it was okay to change the speed of my life.

I don’t recall receiving a written inquiry as to whether or not I was comfortable with my parents becoming senior citizens.   Nobody asked if I felt adequately prepared to think about things like long term care and college payment plans and retirement.

I feel a little dizzy, really. The earth circling around the sun so quickly, spinning on its axis so fast my head is left swimming. I try to look up and catch my breath. Focus on a fixed spot in time, this moment, right now. Sometimes it works. And sometimes I’m left spinning, mouth open, lost in time, unable to take it all in.

Regardless, it’s become clear that nobody is going to ask for my permission, make sure I’m ready, check in or even pause for a second.  This life, it’s happening, with or without my approval and at a pace that I don’t control. Time is busy doing its thing. All I know to do is take a deep breath, say a prayer,  jump in and get to doing my thing right alongside it.  It’s that or get left behind.

 

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When?

When did he start taking up so much space in the doorway?  His head so close to the top?  And when exactly did the soft curves of a little boy body give way to the harder edges of the young man he’s become?

When did she lose those chubby cheeks, the ones that little girls have, round and full?  When did her cheek bones become so defined, chiseling out the face of a young lady from beneath the fleshy softness of toddlerhood?

When did he put away his dinosaurs for Legos, and Legos for Nerf guns, and Nerf guns for video games? And how much longer before he puts it all away for a girl?

When did she stop pretending to take my order in her play kitchen and start actually creating things in mine? And when did her dress up bin full of costumes and princess gowns get passed over for hand-me-downs from cool older girls and real nail polish and make up replace the plastic look alikes?

When did they become so witty and capable and articulate?  I can’t find the moment. I can’t pinpoint a “before” and “after.”  It occurred in steady breaths, in moments doing the ordinary, over another dinner, while one more load of laundry dried.  It happened over many Tuesdays and random afternoons.

And when does it stop?  The excitement of watching them grow those wings; the ache of seeing them use them? When do their lives become more theirs than mine, and how do I prepare my heart for that?

When does “this time” become the last time, and will I even know it?  Will it arrive with an announcement or, like his growing body and her disappearing fleshy cheeks, will it just happen? No defining moment- just something extraordinary in the middle of the ordinary.

When?

 

Sometimes She Forgets

I think that all too often, women forget how very amazing they are.  My life is filled with women of great beauty and strength. Different in size and shape and color and station and gifts- a wonderous bouquet of humanity. Some are strong in a big “take charge” kind of way. Some have strength in a way that is quiet and steady. Others have strength in their fun-loving, joy bringing ways. Many are strong in ways they can’t even recognize in themselves.

The older I get the more convinced I become that part of why God fills our lives with other women is because we need to remind one another how amazing we are.  We need to help one another recognize the beauty within. The world is quick to show us our faults, to highlight impossible bodies, to glorify the artificial. But every woman I know, she has a gift or a talent or a characteristic that deserves praise. She is wonderfully made.

But sometimes she forgets.

On a day when her pants fit too tight, she leaves the house a bit late, her day gets away from her before all the boxes are checked, dinner comes from a drive-thru, and no one has clean pajamas, she forgets. She forgets that she is enough. She forgets she is amazing. She forgets she is valued. She forgets that she matters. She forgets that she is loved.

If I’m lucky, I can catch her on that day and send her a note, make a call, send a text. I can remind her that who she is is far more than the woman she sees in the mirror. She’s more than the wrinkles she sees, more than the number on the scale, more than the cleanliness of her house, more than whatever demon haunts her, more than the lies the devil tells. I can help her to remember that she’s an amazing friend, a great mother, a hard worker, a devoted wife, a loving person, a thoughtful woman. I can remind her that her presence in my life is God’s gift to me.- a great, beautiful, generous gift.

Because sometimes she forgets.

Nervous to wear #servelikesarah

Since yesterday after picking up my beautiful #servelikesarah t-shirt, I’ve been feeling a bit nervous and also like I need to apologize in advance.

I never had the great privilege of meeting this lovely girl, but since she left us, it has become abundantly clear that she leaves a mammoth footprint, a huge shadow. Stepping lightly and lovingly in the world, and definitely leaving a wonderful, giant, gentle mark.

And all of the sudden I am acutely aware of how inadequate I feel to wear this shirt.    Proud to honor her, grateful to be able to have a visible way to show support to her family, glad for the chance to increase the size of the Lottie Moon impact… but nervous to put it on.

Sarah was an example of surrendering and serving.  I have much to learn from her.  So when I wear my shirt, it will be a visible reminder to myself of what it means to surrender and to serve. I know I’m not always going to get it right, and I’m afraid that I won’t always be worthy of HER shirt, but much like our Heavenly Father, I believe that Sarah won’t hold it against me.  Still, I feel like I need to apologize.

The journals she has left behind and that her mother has so generously shared with us, have taught me enough to know that she’ll be pleased with my effort and my desire. Not for recognition of her own name, but that it works to expand His kingdom and give Him glory. That I want to grow closer to God, to be His hands and feet, to say His will, not mine be done- that is how I’ll wear my shirt. And this is how she’ll know that I am her flock.

Mindfully putting on this shirt, it will be, for me, almost as if I am wrapping myself in a prayer. A prayer that God will use me in a way that will touch hearts, that in my own life and community I will be on mission.  Just as Sarah continues to be on mission.

But when I am wearing the shirt and fall short, my prayer will be that I never tarnish the good name of #servelikesarah, that I never tarnish the name of the God she loves. It feels like a great privilege to wear this shirt and a huge responsibility.  But with hope and courage, I will proudly put it on as a reminder to do my best to #servelikesarah.