You Know Who You Are…Don’t You?

We love the movie Moana around here. I mean, LOVE IT. Even Lou! He loves it so much, he thinks he wants to move his pale, freckly wife to a burning hot island somewhere…

Connor and I especially love the song ‘You Know Who You Are’ from the scene with Te Fiti. It’s a short song, just over a minute long, but it’s got some really deep meaning. Since we’re the emotional ones in the family, we both get choked up every. single. time.

I think it’s against copyrights to use lyrics, but I’m going to anyway (I’m a rebel like that)… ‘They have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you’.

Wow. Doesn’t that just give you goosebumps?!

Also… ‘You know who are.’

When Lou and I were having our big life talk the other night, I confessed to him that I don’t even know who I am anymore. I feel very torn between who I thought I was going to be and the person I’ve turned out to be. All of the plans I made, all of the beliefs I thought I had… It’s hard to reconcile that with where I am now.

Ten years ago, I was fresh out of high school. I was aggressively feminist, pro-choice, a member of the Human Rights Campaign, atheist… I could go on and on, but suffice it to say I was as ‘radical left’ as it gets – or, as radical left as it used to get. It’s a bit different these days… I didn’t want a family or children, and I wasn’t about to waste my life on marriage. Lou and I were in love, but another boy still had a hold on my heart, and a small part of me figured we weren’t going to make it through my first semester of college anyway. Now, I’d call myself a trollop for thinking that way.

I went right from being determined to be a lawyer and a career woman to engaged and pregnant before I was nineteen. Shortly after I was married and a brand new mom. By the time I was twenty-one, we had two kids, a mortgage, two car payments, both of us worked full-time…

That was definitely the beginning of an identity crisis, and I don’t know that I’ve ever really recovered.

Especially after we found Jesus. I was still drowning in who I was supposed to be when I started taking on ‘church girl’ rules. There was a point in time where I didn’t wear a stitch of makeup. Or shorts. I went through our house and ditched anything too…’worldly’, as far as movies or books or music…

I was that Christian mom, because I thought I was supposed to.

You guys. I’m not that mom. No matter how hard I try, that just doesn’t fit me. As much as I believe we change when we become Christians, I still think there’s a core of who we are that doesn’t change. We learn to model Christ while still being who we were created to be.

That doesn’t always look like what we might think. And that’s exactly how we reach people who are just like us, but lost in the world.

Someone asked me a tough question today. If I could go out and do something that rejuvenated me and brought me life, what would it be?

I had no idea. I had to struggle to come up with an answer, which was ‘Go out and work one on one with people through their pain’. It’s true, but…generic.

I could tell you that I believe in Jesus. That I like to read and write. That I like to be very healthy and ‘natural’. That I like gangsta rap from my childhood as much as contemporary Christian music.

But I’m also a bit torn.

There’s a small part of me that still wants a career. That could still be a lawyer or something very…I don’t know…stuffy. Legalistic. Rigid. It’s in my nature to be organized and to plan things and like things done just so.

What used to be another small part of me in the past has become a much larger part of my personality now. A part that I don’t fully understand because Lou and I rushed ahead and didn’t allow ourselves time to grow up. It’s more relaxed and creative… Peaceful and quiet. Reserved, even, but in a way that speaks. Red lipstick and Bob Marley, barefoot and black nail polish.  A weird mix of characteristics that don’t quite make sense.

I don’t know that Britt very well yet, but I want to. She has a lot more fun that I do right now. Know what I mean?

Now, I usually don’t put much stock in ‘personality’ tests or quizzes, but there are two I find interesting.

The first is the spiritual gifts test, or ‘Redemptive Gifts’. Here’s a good explanation, and here’s a decent test. First, let me say that I don’t think we should get too locked into this… It’s not a final say in who we are. It’s just a neat way to understand ourselves and those around us, and figure out where we fit into God’s plans.

What’s funny is that I score high in both Prophet (not prophecy, two different things) and Mercy wirings, which are about as opposite as can be. I’m a bit higher in Mercy, and I’ve been pursuing that nature more and more recently, which has helped be discover who I’m created to be.

I also like the personality tests based on Jung/Briggs Myers typology. Again, not a perfect analysis of who you are as a person, but it can be insightful.

I get INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) which is considered ‘rare’. It’s an extremely sensitive and empathetic personality type (like the Mercy).  It’s also a personality type that gets stuff done. They are idealists and dreamers, but can also organize the steps to get it done (hello, Prophet).

So, it makes sense that I feel a bit torn between my characteristics.

That still doesn’t define who I am. My personality and wiring have a big say, my experiences have a big say, and my faith has a big say…

But, we are all created very precisely. Life gets in the way of that, and the only way we can really discover who we are is in moments of reflection. We have to stop forcing ourselves into places we don’t fit (a square peg in a round hole, so to speak) and give ourselves grace to let go of expectations. Even our own.

I’m the kind of girl to read non-literal translations and then compare them to a literal translation (as in the Passion and the NKJV). I’m the kind of girl that listens to both Cypress Hill and Patsy Cline (or Reba… love me some Reba!). I’m the kind of girl that desperately loves Jesus but sometimes lets an F-bomb slip out. (I am working on that, though.) I’m also the type of person that can talk for hours one on one and go to really deep places but completely shuts down in a group and comes off as anti-social or rude.

And I’m done being ashamed of that. I’m done trying to force myself into something ‘good’ when it falls short of God’s best just because I feel like I’m ‘supposed’ to do it. There are true calls from God on our lives, but we have to be able to discern what those are… And when in doubt, His yoke will be easy and His burden light. If you’re drowning in trying to keep up, something isn’t right.

This post got ridiculously long and didn’t go anywhere I thought it would… Maybe I got a bit carried away.

Let me try to wrap this up before I hit 1400 words…

As much as I think we have to be careful of ‘just be yourself’, I also think we need to be careful of ‘you should be this’.

Only God can tell you exactly who you are supposed to be, and what plans He has for you. Only He can make sense of all of your traits (good and bad) and gifts and turn it into something beautiful.

Somewhere, deep in your spirit, you know who you are.

Be blessed. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Priorities 

It’s a good sign that I need to regain some perspective if I feel the need to take a day off.

Something that has been coming to mind a lot lately is my priorities. I have it in my head that my priorities are: God, my husband, my children, and then everyone else.

But having it in my head doesn’t mean I always follow through.

That list also doesn’t leave any time for self-care. Self-care should fall somewhere between God and Lou. Instead, it’s usually not on my list at all. 

I spent a lot of the morning with a cup of tea and my journal. The boys played outside and Layla was watching Lilo, so I had some time to myself to work out my thoughts. I wrote four full pages and still didn’t feel much better. 

Then, last night Lou and I had a ‘life talk’. It was obvious that it was a God thing because Lou brought up almost everything I wrote in my journal. I didn’t need much more confirmation than that!

We talked about homeschooling, personalities, priorities… I felt rather drained afterwards but woke up feeling very peaceful this morning. 

And my verse of the day was on my mind…

‘For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.’ (John 12:43) 

When it comes to priorities, I have to ask myself whose praise am I looking for? If my priorities get out of whack, then I’m probably looking for the ‘glory’ that comes from man… I go back to trying to be the BME (Best Mom Ever) and seek worth from my deeds rather than God’s grace. 

There are still decisions to make and soul searching to do, but I’ve got my priorities set right in my heart again. ❤️

Be blessed!

A Day Off

I don’t have a real post today. All I have is swirling emotions and weariness. 

Nothing that huge is happening, just the regular pressure of life. Here I am promoting a study on rest, when I have been running myself ragged. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew, and I’ve managed to do it again.

This morning was the final straw. 

Layla managed to fill her diaper in the middle of the night, because she’s still not completely potty trained. So, I woke up to pee and poop leaked all over her bed, her stuffed animals, her pillow, and of course her. 

It was the sort of mess that requires a bath and scrubbing of the toddler mattress. I’m just thankful she still sleeps on her vinyl crib mattress and that we put a cover on her pillow.

Last night Lou took the boys to a tractor pool, and everyone is exhausted because they came home after 10. They are grouchy, I’m grouchy, and Layla is grouchy and has a pretty nasty diaper rash. It’s the perfect storm for bad attitudes and harsh words.

I’m going to take a piece of my own advice, and take the day off. No school. No tutoring. No ‘work’ at all.

Just rest. 

I know there are people today struggling with something so much bigger. There are things that we can’t take a day off from. All I can do in this moment is encourage you to take a day off from the things that you can. 

To somehow find rest in all of the chaos.

To find the Prince of Peace where nothing is peaceful.

To take on the light burden in a world full of heaviness.

Be blessed. ❤️

Four Leaf Clovers

Lou and I have lots of arguments about our yard.

You see, we live in a woods. The woods itself is wild and beautiful, unkempt and untamed. I adore it just the way it is. Because of the woods, our yard is full of ‘unwanted’ weeds and mole holes, getting too much shade and becoming a harbor to all sorts of critters.

Every week or so, we argue over mowing the grass. I want Lou to let it run a little wild, too. I’d be happy with ankle-length grass. I’m more afraid of ticks than I am of snakes, and I love the feel of tall grass as I walk around the yard. I like how it brushes against my skin and the tips of the long blades glow in the sun.

I’m a total hippy that way.

Lou likes to keep it cut painfully short and wants to spray the yard for weeds and grubs and re-seed the whole thing and make it a ‘perfect’ yard. Like the guy in the woods across the road. What is it with men and yard envy??

Something I especially love about our yard is the clover. We have clover all over the place. Whenever I get outside, I make a habit of checking each patch I go by for four-leaf clovers.

In all of the five (almost six?) years we’ve lived in this house I’ve only ever found one.

This particular woods is owned by three members of the family in different chunks. There’s a lane going back to one chunk that has a wide green pasture, and we like to walk it once in a while and admire the span of fields around us. One summer, the whole lane was one giant carpet of clover. There literally had to have been millions

I searched and searched and never found a single four-leaf clover.

Saturday morning, I was feeling heavy. I told Lou, ‘I need peace and rest and I just can’t find it!!’ So, while he was absorbed in Power Rangers with the youngest two, I snuck outside with my bone broth and lime green camp chair. I sat at the edge of the yard and sipped my broth, examining the clumps of clover closest to my feet.

Remembering something I read once, I was sort of baffled that I’ve been so unlucky in finding four-leaf clovers. They’re considered something of a flaw. A defect in genetics, that happens one every so many clovers. With all of the clover around me, I should have found many over the years. Especially that day in the lane!

One in a million.

That’s the phrase that came to mind. I don’t know the exact ratio for four-leaf clovers, but in my mind they’re one in a  million. Special and unique. Rare. Sought after. Treasured.

Just like each of us is….in God’s eyes.

There was a weight on my heart in that moment for a certain beloved relative. We were like sisters growing up, and slowly drifted apart. I was older, so I went off to college and got married, had children… Our lives are very different now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about her. Or that I don’t see her.

It’s been hard for her, I know. She loved an addict too, but hers is no longer with us. As hard as some parts of my life have been, I can’t imagine that sort of pain.

The other day, she shared a Facebook meme. It was something along the lines of ‘I wish I was worth everything to someone’. I commented, ‘You are worth more than everything’ with a halo-topped emoji. You know, indicating God loves her, like a ‘good’ Christian woman would do.

That just doesn’t cut it though. Well-meaning sentiments and verses just don’t get the point across, do they?

Words fall flat when we feel so far from God and so forsaken. When we’re going through pain it’s harder than hell to cling to the fact that God loves us.

Just days before this, I had told Lou that I think God hates me. He instantly admonished me, and I conceded that God doesn’t actually hate me, but some days I really don’t feel that He particularly likes me. I feel like the ‘red-headed step-child’ – unwanted, but tolerated.

Do you feel like that? Have you ever felt like that? Do you just live in that place constantly??

I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it – YOU ARE LOVED. You are chosen, wanted, unique, desired, and divinely created to be you. There is a purpose to who you are, where you are in life, where you are physically in the world, your personality traits – good and bad, your gifts and abilities…

You are one in a million. Or, one in approximately 7.347 billion on this earth. You aren’t just a fluke, or a flaw in genetics.

Unlike a four-leaf clover, God doesn’t have to search for  you. He knows exactly where you are, and is always with you.

And you are absolutely worth more than everything to Him.

Be blessed. ❤

Review: Rhythms of Grace – Rebekah Lyons

Oh my… So, I shared this study on my personal Facebook page, but I wanted to give a fuller review now that I’ve had a chance to watch the full ten days.

I cried almost every single video, if that tells you anything. Healing almost always looks like crying with me.

This study, ‘Rhythms of Grace‘, is something of a companion to Rebekah Lyons’ new book You Are Free: Be Who You Already Are (affiliate link).

The book is on my list to get ASAP. Not even kidding… I found such peace and clarity in this study. It was short and sweet. Each of the ten videos is about 5 or 6 minutes long. Everybody has time for that! They are delivered one by one to your email each day, but I would watch one or two in the morning before getting out of bed. So, out of ten days, I may have watched videos on six days. Very doable and manageable. I like when studies don’t have to be adhered to strictly… I fall behind too often with the craziness of life.

I don’t want to infringe on her study or ‘spill the beans’, but Rebekah talks a lot about rest. What it looks like, what it can do for us, why God actually wants us to rest. It was a very beautiful blessing to me the past week or so, and I really think it can be a blessing to you.

Also – the ten day study is FREE. We all love free, right?

You can use the link above to be directed to her page to sign up for the study, or use the link for You Are Free to buy her book on Amazon (when I looked it was under $12 hardback).

I’m posting this early this morning so you have a chance to hop on over and sign up today. What a great way to start a week. ❤

Be blessed!