Monday, March 23, 2015

waiting for spring

I haven't been blogging lately. (Besides my occasional mini-blogs on Instagram.) Its hard to write about life when I know what people are hoping to hear and I just can't report that. It makes me want to hide a little bit. But God has brought me this far and I know He's still moving. I don't need to be ashamed and hang my head because I haven't experienced redemption in my marriage.

You know this season we're in right now? The literal season? I like to think of it as The Great Thaw. Winter's over. Spring is slowly and steadily making her presence known. The weather's a bit all over the place. The temperatures still drop to uncomfortable levels and we might even see a bit more snow before all is said and done but the worst is behind us and so the cold days just don't bother us nearly as much anymore. We survived that bitter winter and we get to revel in that fact another year. Not only did I survive it but I even thanked God for it every now and then.
What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?                                                                                                          -John Steinbeck
I really felt that and believed that this winter. I knew it wouldn't last forever and I wanted to appreciate it for what it was and for what it does for our spirits. Not in spite of the weather but because of the weather. We have to dig deep to truly feel thankful for it and we have to search hard for beauty that isn't obvious to most people. But it's possible. And our character becomes a little more beautiful because of it. (This may sound a bit melodramatic to some, but then you surely haven't experienced several years of a Midwest winter.)

This is the exact season I feel like I'm in right now. I feel like The Great Thaw is happening in my own life. I haven't tasted the sweetness of spring yet but I feel the pokes and prods of hope slowly making their way up through the hard, frozen, bitter soil of my life. Life still feels like a struggle. It's still hard and sad and lonely. But I feel the thaw. There were eighteen months that felt like a living hell. So I'm guessing this pre-Spring season won't be over any time soon. I'm sure my days will still be all over the place, just like the weather. The good ones will be mixed with dark ones that leave my heart clenched and my face tear-stained and my prayers just a cry of, "why me? Why this?" But those days are fewer and farther between.

My boys seem to be doing better these days too and I'm sure that's directly correlated to their mom remembering to smile more, and that silliness is always the best cure for the grumpies. I'm enjoying them again and enjoying being their mom again and that feels really good. I could look back on the mom I was for a year and a half with guilt and shame and regret or I could look back on that version of me with grace. I can say to her, you did a damn good job loving and caring for those boys when you felt like the life was sucked right out of you and getting out of bed was a victory in and of itself.

To that person at the beginning of your desert season, just take the next step. Just make it through the day today and thank God for every single little victory along the way. Like, maybe you remembered to brush your teeth. Or you fed your kids a vegetable today. ;) Unclench your fists and open your heart. Its gonna hurt like hell but there's a beauty in your heart that hasn't been revealed yet. And when it is, His love will shine through you so much brighter than you could have imagined.

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.                                                                                                          Romans 5:2-5

Monday, March 16, 2015

Wild + Free

I had the incredible privilege of attending the Wild + Free conference in Virginia Beach last September, thanks to the generosity of my dear friend Ainsley. It was mainly geared for homeschooling mamas but the conference was applicable to non-homeschooling moms as well. The bottom line was to connect mamas from all over the country who are focused on intentional parenting; moms raising kids passionate about learning with a heavy dose of nature and literature. Most of us adopt the "free range kids" mentality and push them to explore the world around them. My focus is on bravery more than safety and creativity more than comfort. I think these things will serve them well into adulthood.
Ainsley wanted the Wild + Free movement to extend even further so she encouraged anyone who wanted to to host a local gathering. There are two things I'm passionate about: opening up my home and getting to know people. It was a no-brainer. There were nine moms, including me, and nineteen kids total. I knew half of them already and half of them I was meeting for the first time. We chatted while the kids played and then we all spread out blankets and had a picnic lunch in the breezy sunshine. We just so happened to land on the warmest day of the year so far and it was just glorious. It was a joy to spend time with so many smart, creative and talented women. I think we'll be parked out here all summer. Come on over anytime. ;)

Yes, that is my third born child wearing pajamas. I had clothes picked out for him to wear but he was NOT having it. Evidently short sleeves are a form of torture in his book. He only wanted pajamas. And the king gets what the king wants.