Thursday, June 3, 2010

living this charade

Why as women do we find it so hard to be ourselves? We pretend a lot in life.  We pretend in our social circles, our churches and even our blogs.  If we all took one day out of the year and decided to be the "real" us, I think we would all see that we have so much in common.  Even though we are so different from each other based on childhood, backgrounds and current choices, we remain the same. We long to feel like who we are is enough.

When I look back through the years at the things I have posted in my blog or former blogs, I cringe.  Thank God for the change He has done in my life. Thank you GOD!

For a long time I was not content with the title of "Mom".  Because of that, I had to make sure everyone, the blog world included, knew that I was also a baker, a singer, a worship leader, a runner and then a "marathon runner".  There is nothing wrong with allowing others to know about those things in life we are passionate about but there is something wrong with the motive behind it.  

This pregnancy with baby #4 was planned.  I knew it was going to happen but I did not know all that would come with it.  I have shared with all of my close friends how much this baby is a gift because of the work God is doing in my personal and spiritual life. Every single time I feel a tiny flutter that will soon turn to a full on kick, I am reminded of the growth happening in my life as a woman.  Not only am I pregnant with a precious child but I am pregnant with vision.  The day to day struggle to like who I am and to be comfortable with who I am is present.  But it's getting better. 

When my new blog design came about a few months ago, I struggled with the buttons. The buttons that I have yet to edit and write inside.  "The story of Mama Sings" hasn't changed but the story involves a time in my life when I was still in the mode of making life all about me.  Before getting pregnant the "About Me" section would have been filled with words to let all of you know what I can do. As women we are taught by the world around us that we must promote ourselves in order to be seen or heard.

As the Lord continues to mold and shape me, this pregnancy season continues to be a very "sweet" time with Him.  There is nothing like running marathons one year and being the smallest you have ever been to being pregnant and told by the doctor "NO EXERCISE." By no means do I think I am huge but my body has drastically changed.  As the cellulite pops up and the bottom widens I cringe at the thought of bathing suits. But even more, I cringe at the fact that I was wearing some of the stuff I did last year.  Looking back I know now that I was in the midst of some big time vanity.  I do not think I wore anything that left me "hanging out" but I do feel that I was not modest enough.  I told one of my  friends the other day who is also going through a time of purification with the Lord, "Can you believe we loaded up our kids to the water park and wore the bathing suits we did?"  This is not a blog post written to debate whether or not a woman should wear a bikini when she is a Mom.  It is just me sharing the process of what the Holy Spirit is showing me.  Gaining weight will change your perspective and striving to live a Holy and pure life for Jesus Christ will transform you.

Of course I miss the weeks I ran 25-30 miles. I miss the marathon training and the sacred time alone with my Lord. I miss being able to fit into almost anything and feeling so strong.  I miss being able to call myself a "marathon runner".  I also miss the days before bankruptcy when we lived in a gorgeous custom home and when I drove a brand new suv.  But I don't miss losing it. All of it.  Every single time my life is stripped of something, God replaces it with peace and fulfillment beyond what I could ever imagine. 

I can't help but smile when I look at what God has been doing these past few months.  When we moved at the very beginning of this pregnancy I was in "hormone crazy land".  Thankfully I left that land pretty quick!  But the hormones, the move, the morning sickness and the stress that comes with all of it, was making me a very unfriendly wife.  Jeremy and I were clashing and arguing daily.  I called my friend/mentor, Kim in Virginia, almost every other day asking her to tell me what to do.  It's so nice to have someone in your life who has been where you are currently. She would talk me through the crisis for hours at a time and pour such Godly wisdom into my fragile self.  The Doctor at this point was telling me I could still run if I wanted and then suddenly I have a "prolapsed cervix".  Any control I once had or thought I had was GONE.  I was devastated and depressed. But if you know me, you know I am also as stubborn as a bull and I won't stay down long.  God has never failed me and He was not about to now.  Something begin to change when I lost control of what was happening.

You see this pregnancy I am experiencing didn't begin almost five months ago, it began the day I ran the Chicago marathon all the way back on that freezing day in October.  I remember thinking as I ran the streets of Chicago that I would probably have a baby around the same time next year. I was still fighting that idea and I cringed at the thought of losing my fitness but the thought was there. Even then the Lord was giving me vision and preparing me for what was to come. (side note: He does do this you know! He is preparing YOU right now for something. Pay attention!)  Suddenly in December my mind was settled and I knew adding to our family was in the future.  

Not only in the months before did I have constant "baby thoughts" but I fell deeply in love with my family.  I began to feel such a bond with the words "Wife and Mother".  My obsessive running became less and less and the more I let go of making sure I got my daily run in, the more I fell in love with my family. It was never wrong for me to run or to run marathons. It was a gift and I pray I get to do it again especially now that Jeremy is about to train for his second marathon.  But when the running went away, I saw some things that needed my heart and passion more than running. More than anything else! I saw where my focus had been. I saw vanity and pride. I saw addiction to maintaining a size 2 instead of maintaining a heart for Christ and a heart for my family.

As I said a few paragraphs up, something began to change when I lost control of things happening around me.  As I surrendered, God took over and gave me brand new eyes, brand new sight for FAMILY and my Marriage.  The things that were once important for me to share with all of YOU, is no longer there.  I don't have to let everyone know what I have done and what I can do because what I am right now is ENOUGH.  It's my new Holy Spirit inspired mantra. "IT IS ENOUGH."  When you settle in and see that who you are and what you are doing is enough, you fall passionately in love with the life God has given you and the people in it. 

I'm not gonna lie. I would love to post pictures of all the "things" I am doing.  I could post our Homeschool Schedule at the beginning of the year and some of you would gasp in awe.  But for me, my motive would not be pure.  The truth is, any schedule I make will work great during the newness of our School year but I think we all know how that goes once you settle in. The Schedule changes.  I could post a lot of things so you would all know how well I have it together but the truth is I don't have it together. I have good days. I have great days! I have days where my home runs like a well oiled machine and other days when we are in our pajamas till noon.  I have bad days. Horrific days. Days when Jeremy and I are at odds (just the other day over me wanting to get rid of dogs and him wanting to keep them). Days when I doubt who I am and feel insecure about every inch of my body. Days when I can't think of a craft to do with my kids to save my life (crafts are my handicap).  Days when my kids are acting awful and I am disciplining and crying all day long.  

This is not a rebuke to those of you who post pictures of their hobbies or the things going on in their life. I will post pictures here and some of it will be things we have done as a homeschool family. If it is a craft, you better believe I will post it because whatever it is, it will be easy and hopefully encouragement for those of you who are "craft challenged" like me! But I do write what I am writing to share what God is showing me. As HE changes me and I rid myself of SELF, I find all of the posts I have done about MYSELF and what I can do absolutely disgusting. Deep down if I listen to my gut, if we all do, we know when what we are saying, writing or posting is for self or for others.  When I visited a homeschool group the other day I found myself letting them know that I ran marathons.  Later in the day I was disgusted. Why did I need to fit that into the conversation? What was the motive? Why did they need to know that about me? As I dissected it, I realized that I felt insecure and needed to let them know that I could so anything and everything.  I have every right to be proud of what I have done and what the Lord gave me the ability to do but behind those things I often find my flesh longing to come out and make an appearance.  The argument to this blog post may be "I'm a mom and blogging is for me! It is about myself and there is nothing wrong with that."  I have said that so many times and it's a valid argument. But I believe God put is here to encourage, challenge, inspire and help one another.  I just want to make sure I am doing that instead of making others feel inferior or left out.  My own personal conviction is that sometimes I may engage in things that do make other women feel inferior and since I often feel inferior or unqualified, I don't want to make anyone else feel that way.  It's all a part of the change and vision God has given me during this "pregnancy".  It's hard but it's freeing.

The most miraculous thing has happened over the last few months as I've "lost control".  My almost nine year marriage has reached a new place.  There are some things taking place in our marriage that is brand new. We have had incredible seasons of growth but I think for the first time my husband is getting "all of me".  It's a huge thing to celebrate!  So many lies in my head about who I am are beginning to die.  So many strongholds from the past are falling off of me.  

Okay so what "About Me"?  What will go there on this blog or future blog designs?  Well, you will just have to wait and see! But I can tell you this, it will be what the Lord gives me. I want Him to author my life. I want Him to be in the driver's seat and I want Him to reveal "Who I am", "What I can do" and "What I have done".  More importantly, "What am I gonna do?"!  

I love what Romans 12:2 says about being transformed. As women of God, are we being transformed in everything we do? Are we changing? Are we becoming whole hearted wives and mothers? If we aren't, what needs to change? What must we surrender?  

Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message)

1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I wish I could give all of you a big hug because I know every single one of you has pain. You have a story. You have a childhood. You have a life that means something and so many of you are afraid to let others see and know the real you.  But sweet friend, Jesus wants to know you. He wants you to be the real you.  He loves the real you.  So I encourage you, as I learn to do the same, to be the real you. Allow yourself to take the mask off in whatever area or areas of life you are and be the real you.  

If you haven't spent some time in the arms of your precious Savior lately, close your eyes and listen to this song. Whatever burdens, heartbreak or pain you may be carrying, listen to this song and allow it to be your prayer. It is mine.

I love you friends!


Christina said...

Thank you again for sharing your journey. Everything that you share hits home for me - BIG TIME.

Wanted to let you know that whenever you share something - whether it's a cute craft, a cake you've baked, a new pair of shoes you've bought or something that is hurting you - it ALWAYS either inspires me, gives me a new homeschooling idea, lets me know I am NOT alone or gives me a good laugh.

Thank you for opening your life to us. <3

Anonymous said...

Needed to hear this.

Karen Hammons said...

Wow. You have blessed my socks off girl! Thank you for being so open. You are such an encouragement to me!!


Kelly Ann said...

I love those verses. My favorite part is in verse 1 where is says "God helping you". Even after all these years, I still seem to "forget" that. That is a huge part of my charade: I have it all together. Well, that is a HUGE lie! Keep being real and others will follow you...I will follow you.

LOVE that song by Sanctus Real!!!