Black-Eyed Peas and Other Resolutions

No. No recipe here for black-eyed peas.

More of a recipe for the new year…

 

I get giddy about January.  I love the thought of a fresh start, goals to strive for, and opportunities that await.

I’ll admit, some years I am discouraged.  Only human, I hope to achieve this or that and end up in a complete opposite space by January 3rd.

This year I was a little bit slow to make my list of resolutions.  I was {and still am (and probably always will be)} a bit unsure of where life is going.  As December slid out of my hands, I was lackluster when I considered the future.

It has always been in these times of waiting and drifting that I learn and grow the most.  But even as unconcerned as I tell myself that I am, because I know something golden will come out of this season of life, the planner and dreamer parts of me are running haywire.

I once heard the perfect analogy for my life.  Coincidentally, this piece of enlightenment came to me in one of my life’s many waiting and drifting periods.

“Be like a duck.” — Staying calm on the surface but paddling frantically underneath.

beaduck

This can mean many things to different people, but it always seems to cycle through my mind when I’m more or less “stuck.” Trying to keep my demeanor in check when really my questioning and anxiety are out of control on the inside.  The duck idea comes up other places in my life too.  I tend to want a lot of projects on my plate at once, making me, again, strive to appear cool and collected when really I bit off more than I could chew.

January 1st knocked on my door, and I still didn’t have any resolutions to hand over. What is wrong with me this year? I wondered.

I sat down on the couch with a notebook, a computer, and a pen and tried to plan.  Tried to dream up some vision or goal or hope or intention for 2017.  I visited some websites with lists of ideas for the new year, you know the kind: “Get Organized in 60 Days” and “A Workout Plan That Won’t Feel Like Work.”  Normally these would be super appealing to me, but instead, I just kept scrolling.

Suddenly, on the screen in front of me I saw it– black-eyed peas.  

Gross.  If I search my mind, I cannot uncover a memory of tasting black-eyed peas ever in my life, but I have..right?  And they’re gross..right?  I mean some people like them, sure, if they have just always grown up eating them.  If you’ve had something since childhood, then yeah, you’d have to just like it.  But otherwise? Gross.

2017 just clicked.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT BLACK-EYED PEAS TASTE LIKE!!  Why don’t I know?  What else of life am I missing?  And why am I not out there?  Doing and trying and tasting and knowing?

The stars are aligning as I write this, so-to-speak.  As 2016 dwindled down, I had been praying for God to make me bolder.  Not only in my faith, but also in life.  And with this black-eyed-pea-epiphany (or, e-pea-phany if you will 😛 ), 2017 has been given direction.

I don’t know what opportunities will arise, but I will take them.

I don’t know what surprises are around the corner, but I will happily greet them.

I don’t know what foods will present themselves in front of me, but I will taste them.

I don’t know what sorrows I will face, but I will accept them.

I don’t know what lessons will be taught, but I will be sure to apply them.

I don’t know where God will lead, but I will follow Him.

I don’t know where life is going, but I will stay calm as I paddle like hell to keep up.

 

 

dear-sister

Sister Girl,

You are not ready.  You won’t be ready next year, or the year after.  In your whole lifetime, really, nothing prepares you for this.

No matter how intensely you’ve thought about it or arranged your life around it, bringing a child into this world is something that no one can ever really be ready for.

 

You will not be ready for your first glance at that tiny miracle that you now call your own.

But, you can rest in this: Whether tears, smiles, or nerves, it’s a split-second you will never forget.

 

You will not be ready to rise to your feet and make your way to your little one at all hours of the night.

But, you can rest in this:  A beckoning from your babe will fill you will a strength you’ve never known.

 

You will not be ready to see your groom change into a father before your naked eyes.

But, you can rest in this:  Transformation provides a new layer to your love.

 

You will not be ready for the advice every woman, mother or not, will spout at you.

But, you can rest in this: There are still more women who have your success as a mother in mind, and you will be thankful for that support.

 

You will not be ready to make decisions about your tiny bundle’s future.

But, you can rest in this:  Insight is only a prayer away; so pray sister, pray, pray.

 

You will not be ready to hear the sounds of your sweet babe coughing and sniffling through the night.  

But, you can rest in this:  That babe has a mother who will tend to her incessantly, how much more blessed could that sweet child be?

 

You will not be ready for the heartache that lingers long after you’ve left your little one for the first time.

But, you can rest in this: Time will reunite you both, and those moments will be even sweeter than most.

 

You will not be ready for your baby to become a toddler, nor your toddler a child, and the list goes on…

But, you can rest in this: Though we have to keep moving forward through this life, at the same time, these will be the best memories to look back on.

 

And finally, mostly, you will not be ready for the unending, inconsolable tears that will be shed.

But you can rest in this:  That sweet baby will be too young to remember you crying all the time. 😀

 

With Love,

Your Big Sis

sister

 

Transitions

Praying the other night, there was a theme that arose: transition.

I have tried to be diligent the past few weeks, praying through the trials on our family and job changes, and for a few days this week, a friend’s request for prayer about a transition out of a job has popped up, and then rounding out my prayer the other night, I talked to God about the transition into motherhood that my sister is traveling through.  At that point it was clear to me that transitions, or maybe just the future is one of (if not the only, as I thought more about it) prayer requests that springs forth most often.

Season for everything2

The bible states there is a time for everything, and I just want to meditate on that for a second.

Some transitions hit us so abruptly, we get slapped in the face with the reality of ”things work this way now” or ”nothing will ever be as it was”… Some transitions we can almost see on the horizon and we just float, waiting for that wave of change to wash over us. In both scenarios, anxiety is present. No matter how the page turns; quick with the flick of a thumb or slowly wavering over in a breeze of wind, there is still the turmoil of saying goodbye to the last chapter.

Even in transitions of a positive nature where the days ahead seem to be in our favor, the adjustment period between each season of life provides plenty of issues to be worked out.

I presented a question to myself when I was scrambled amidst these thoughts: Which is better: a quick, bandaid-like shock that shoves us into a new phase of life? Or, a longer adjustment period where we can just about foresee what is on the other side of the mountain? Which would I rather go through? Which would amount to the least stress? When I pick one, is there a way to avoid the other?

An answer to my question formed: it doesn’t matter.  All in all, I can’t control any of these things anyway.   So, why not turn my focus elsewhere?  Why not lift my eyes to what is constant?

God will be with me in all seasons, through whatever transition-quick or lengthy. Why not flip my worry into a praise: wherever I am, he has led me, and wherever I’ll go, he will lead me. For all seasons, until the end of time. Amen.

Season for everything

After praying and thinking about transitions that night, I awoke to this verse on my phone that I had saved YEARS ago.  I love its encouragement.

Finding the GOOD in Mommy Guilt

Last night I yelled.  I have before, too.  That ugly, throaty, harsh tone that my husband had never heard before our sweet daughter came along.

But, last night, it was different.  Only two words were emphasized in this animalistic timbre.

“I’M TIRED”

It echoed throughout the walls of my mind, before striking my heart with its icy selfishness.

We had tucked the babe tightly in her bed at 8:30.  She flitted around upstairs for two more hours, wearing on my sanity.  After many minor battles, she abruptly drifted off to sleep.  Then it was my turn, so I climbed the stairs to bed and tucked myself in only to be woken up by her tiny voice about an hour and a half later.

“Mommy?”

“Can I come in your bed?”

Whatever!  Whatever at this point.  I trudged across the hall and unlatched her gate, urging her to follow me back to my bed.  She stayed put.  Yelling out to me, me -now snuggled back under my covers- yelling back to her.

Daddy stepped in to calm her down, but she would have none of it.  All she longed for were the comforts of mama.

Now boiling, steaming, and calculating the sleep I was losing by the second, I stormed over to her bed, scooped her up, along with the thousand animals she cuddles with each night, and marched back to my room as I ugly-yelled, “I’m TIRED!”

 

I thought that she needed to know.  I thought that someone needed to hear it in my voice just how tired I was.  Tired of the back and forth.  Tired from the day, now behind us.  Tired from the past three years of waking up at least once a night.

Or maybe this grunt of exhaustion was spewed out because I just needed to validate my own feelings; it’s stupid-late o’clock and everyone should be asleep by now- aren’t I right about this?

 

My blood still bubbling, we settled down together into my bed.  Her little voice whispered.

“Mommy, why you yell to me?”

“I don’t like you yelling because it makes me cry.”

“Please don’t do that next time, Mommy.”

Tears of my own begin streaming down.  My heart ached for how much I love her.  I called out silently to God:  Then what, Lord?  Do I just never sleep?  There have to be boundaries, and consequences; she’s old enough to know that it is time for bed.  I can’t stay awake like this and just keep talking, telling stories, signing, entertaining, can I? 

Yes, you can.

That was the answer.  Yes I can.  Suddenly everything faded away for me.  I saw clearly.  My daughter is a gift to me.  It is my job to take care of her.  Suddenly I could see that sleep didn’t really matter, what time we woke up tomorrow, was no longer a worry.

I had all of these fears in my mind about what would happen if I did not sleep as fully as I could.   Would we be able to check off all of the items on my list of chores and activities for tomorrow?  Would we be happy with each other and not crabby from a night of wakefulness?  Would we wake up early enough to get a nap in at the right time so that bedtime the next night could go smoothly?  And the day after that?  And the night after that?  Looking back, and in my time in prayer, I discovered just how trivial they were.

But more so than that, in this messy, tear-stained jumble of mommy-guilt, God revealed my true need for a Savior.  And just how special; how teachable, this ugly moment would become.  No matter how much of me I give to my daughter, how diligent I am in serving her and caring for her, I will fail.  Though heartbreaking, it is important that she knows this, too.

This lesson is almost unbearable to learn.  It is humbling.  Putting myself aside, and accepting that I am nothing-without Christ.  Submitting to the Lord and asking Him to change my ways of thinking; to slow my responses; to stifle my anger, and fully admitting that I can not do it alone.  Asking Him to show my daughter my heart and my intentions; to shield her ears and her delicate heart from the harshness of my yelling voice; to reveal to her that only with Jesus’ example of love, and earnest prayer and reflection can we be better to each other.

 

There will be days I am tired, days I am sick, days I am selfish, days I am lazy – the list goes on.  These days I will drown in guilt knowing that I should have done better for my daughter.  These days I will remember that with guilt, comes repentance and with that, redemption.Blog7

 

I am redeemed. Thank God. Redeemed.

 

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