Using What the Good Lord Gave You

I'm tired of thinking I'm winning if there's no one in front of me. I'm tired of being so preoccupied of whose next to me that I stumble and fall; that I stagger out of line and onto the field. I'm tired of thinking that my reward somehow looks different than yours. It doesn't. We all get the same prize. I'm tired of looking for improvements instead of stretching and using what I already have. I'm tired of feeling stuck in calling instead of moving in freedom. I'm tired of trying to understand myself, instead of working to hear God. 

Mostly, I'm tired of looking for purpose when it's already been given to me. 



It's what motherhood has presented to me as a gift. But that which I deny, time and time again. I receive each interruption with exasperation, with frustration, and sometimes with anger.

Inside, I'm screaming. On the outside, I'm barely holding it together.

You see, I want more of me. 

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I'm the sentimental sort. I tend to obsess over the details - over stories and pictures and keepsakes from the past. I also have a need to process all the major milestones in my life through writing, and my birthday this year is no different. In fact, turning thirty has been something I've wanted to celebrate loudly.

I've successfully done that I think, in a few different ways.

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Sometimes, I bake at night. The kids are in bed, there's nothing left on my to-do list, and a lot of the time I'm really just trying to manage a serious sugar craving. This is the perfect storm - and how I almost always end up in the kitchen at 11 PM on any given night.

Unfortunately, I'm not Martha Stewart. My measuring cups are more often used as bath toys then for their original design; and my so-called baking cupboard is pretty bare. But, I like to pretend that baking and spontaneity go hand in hand - generally throwing all the rules out for a make it work moment.

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Hey You.

Yes, you. Did you know that I made you? That long before you were a twinkle in your mother's eye - you already existed within my heart? That you reside there - permanently. Even at your worst daughter; even when you feel alone, invisible, or hidden.

I see you.

You've been trying too hard, daughter. You've been trying to assign yourself worth by your performance; by others perception and approval of you. You've replaced the cross with your hustle, and your insecurities. But don't you remember child? I sent my Son for that.

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It had been a couple of months of me staying at home with my kids full time when it happened. It was summer time; perfect mornings, sun shining bright, and hours spent at the park. I had the freedom to stay in my pajamas all day or take the family to the library, lingering for as long as I wanted in the stacks of books. I drank a lot of coffee, and a visit to the drive-thru of Dunkin Donuts became a weekly before grocery shopping treat. 

It was everything I had wanted. Or was it? Somewhere in the middle of my dreams come true, I began to question myself. "Wasn't I supposed to be enjoying this?"

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How often do we wait for our feelings to catch up with our intentions? 

We talk about what we wish to improve or make progress in. We set goals, come up with mantras, and find accountability partners. And when we still feel frustrated or disappointed, it's far easier for us to give in then to push through. 

Embracing the season we are in is a daily challenge. It contends for us to make the most of the life that we are living - to savor each moment. It requires commitment and perseverance. 

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The realization didn't come until about 10 pm. I had literally wasted my entire day to grumbling and complaining.   

It had been another difficult day. Another napped skipped. Another tooth popping through. Another messy room. Another tear-stained face clamoring for attention. Another dinnertime battle. Another late night. 

These were the things I was focusing on - the things I was allowing to define my day. And yet, there was so much more. 

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I have a confession. 

I have a secret that only my innermost circle knows about. In fact, I've hidden it so well that maybe even they've forgotten I struggle with it. 

It's debilitating. Sometimes, I can't get anything done as I inwardly battle against it. It causes me to overly criticize myself, my circumstances, and the people around me - always resulting in disappointment and negativity. It literally displaces my joy and infects my heart with discontentment. 

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Recently, I was reminded of the power of our stories - how simply sharing our past can equip others in their future, their right nows. How, just by showing our scars another can find healing. And then, I thought about my husband and I's first baby. Not my two year old son, who right now lays in his daddy's arms in our bed - but of our very first baby, who I imagine is with all of ours Father- in His arms, in Heaven. 

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My son is just now beginning to recover from being sick this weekend. I've been wading through vomit and diarrhea; trying really hard to embrace this season even in the midst of moments like these. For right now, that means literally being both a trash receptacle and a soft place to land; cuddles and hugs freely given. It's both bittersweet and hard. But, it's holy. It's a reflection of God's own love for us.

This being my son's first time to take ill, I can only imagine how scared and confused he has been. How do we explain bellyaches and throwing up to a two year old? We can't. How do we explain that it will all be over soon - when he doesn't really have a sense of time or a point of reference? We don't.

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I believe that embracing the season we are in is grounded in cultivating contentment in our daily lives. Contentment is both the result and the engine of our praise. 

It seems that nowadays, there's many opportunities to express praise. We create gratitude journals. We post statuses on our social media once every day for a month to show our thankfulness. It's certainly good practice, and definitely changes our perspective. However, the entirety of our lists will not satisfy or fulfill us because often the items we list are those things in which we have and we hold. Our praise can't only be for the things that are tangible as they are temporary and unreliable.

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