How to Swimsuit Shop without Shame

Gina Butz emotions, truth, wholehearted Leave a Comment

how to swimsuit shop without shame

Last week I took a trip to hell, also known as swimsuit shopping. Not only do you have to see what your half naked body looks like wrapped in variously fitting and often times unflattering spandex, but you get to do it in a room designed by a sadist. Who thought fluorescent lighting in dressing rooms was a good a idea?

But I was determined to not let it ruin me.

First of all, I felt I would greatly benefit from having this girl with me:

And then I thought maybe I should just BE this girl.

I decided that whatever thoughts came to mind about what I was seeing in the mirror, I would focus on what I love. Then again, love can sometimes feel like a stretch. But grateful? I can definitely be grateful for what I have.

I am thankful that I have a whole body to dress.

I am thankful that I can stand up and shop on my own, without help.

I am thankful I live in a place where women are free to wear what they want, because I know of the oppression so many live under.

I am thankful that this body has housed my soul, been its barometer reminding me when I need to eat, sleep, breathe, for over 40 years.

I am thankful for my stretch marks because they mean I have been blessed to carry two babies.

I am thankful that the shape of my body means I have never gone hungry, when so many do.

I am thankful for a husband who praises my body, when I know that there are women who are demeaned because of theirs.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to rest and refresh myself, giving rise to the need for this suit.

I am thankful that I have money to buy a suit since I pulled a Gina and forgot to bring any of the three I already own (and thank God for 60% off sales).

And on and on.

Gratitude can surround our hearts like a shield, protecting us from that which would tear us down. As we gather the pieces of what we can celebrate, our eyes are turned off what we lack and onto how we are blessed.

I survived my swimsuit shopping. Actually, I more than survived. Gratitude kept my head above the water, like a lifesaver made from grace. It keeps us afloat in the deepest waters.

 

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Related posts:

Let’s Be the Grace Givers

Beautiful 

What Will We Tell Our Children About These Tragedies?

Gina Butz faith, grief Leave a Comment

what will we tell our kids about these tragedies? thoughts on faith in the midst of terror

Our kids return tonight from a month long mission trip during which they have been out of contact and presumably unaware of all that is happening in the world. I wish the only thing I had to explain to them is why people are looking at their phones even more than usual, to the point of running into other people and walls and such.

Instead, after sending them off just after the Pulse shooting in our own city, we have to tell them that while they were gone, the nation was in uproar over the sudden deaths of two black men at the hands of police. We have to explain to them that during the protests that followed, five police officers were shot and killed. There were bombings in Baghdad and Turkey that killed over 300 people combined. And last night in France, more than 80 people were killed during a celebration. Lord, have mercy.

How do we deal out this information? How do we help them understand why? Part of me wants to shelter my kids from knowing the horror that this summer has brought, but they must know. They must know because we want them to be people of compassion, people of the world, people who enter in to the sorrow of others and weep with those who weep.

Will it make them fearful? I don’t know. Maybe. But I know the path to peace is not to ignore reality or choose to only see the parts of it that make us comfortable, that we agree with, that directly affects us. We cannot hide from the truth, but we can choose how we respond to it. 

We can choose, as a family, to be people who cling to God. We can’t explain to our kids why all this is happening, but we can remind them that there is always hope because of who He is. We can cry out to Him for mercy, healing, strength, wisdom, compassion, guidance, help. We can be people who remember that this is not our home, He is.

So we will tell our children about the atrocities our world has seen this past month. We will tell them, not to make them fearful, but to make them aware that this is the world we live in. We will tell them that this is when we look up, not for answers, but for help, to navigate this world as people who love it well but hold it loosely.

We will cry together for the world. We will pray together for it. We will live, not in fear, but in hope, in trust, in faith. We will face the truth and respond by looking to the One who alone can save.

 

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10 Books for a Journey to Wholeheartedness

Gina Butz growth 5 Comments

10 books to help you live more wholeheartedly

On the journey to being wholehearted, we need a lot of encouragement. So much of mine has come through my literary friends. These authors have been spiritual companions and guides, and I hope they may be for you as well. Let me know if you read them, so we can geek out about them together.

Abba’s Child
Brennan Manning grabbed my heart with The Ragamuffin Gospel, but this book was the one that cemented the importance of “defining yourself radically as one Beloved by God.” This is where I was introduced to the concept of the “imposter” or “pharisee within”-the false sense we present to the world that we think is more acceptable than who we are. Manning says of the heart, “wholeness is brokenness owned and thereby healed.” 

To Be Told
I’m a huge Dan Allender fan-this man speaks the language of the heart. In this book, he encourages us to ask the question, “Do I really believe that God not only wrote my story but that He also loves my story?” There are two versions of this – the book and the workbook. The book is a great place to start; the workbook is like the book on crack. You could spend a lifetime answering the questions in it! If you find yourself wanting to dig deeper into your story after the book, then pick and choose questions from the workbook to help you. They would make great discussion starters for relationships!

Strong Women, Soft Hearts
I was given this book after a tough international move; it set me on a new trajectory. She touches on so many issues of the heart-trust, vulnerability, desire, control, relationships, fear, hope. It’s not a book on transition per se, but it has been one that I returned to each time my life has shifted significantly, because it reminds me that life is not found in staying in the safe, small places of my heart, but in embracing all that God gives me. Bottom line-it makes me want to be brave.

Soul Keeping
John Ortberg is one of my writing heroes. I have a theory that he shares the same Enneagram* type as me (I’m a huge fan of the Enneagram) which makes me like him even more. This book is a gentle punch to the gut reminder that we cannot thrive if we are not caring for ourselves at a soul level. It’s a call to slow down, recognize our needs, and learn to drink deeply from the Source of life. “The unlimited neediness of the soul matches the unlimited grace of God.” 

Rising Strong
I first encountered this book in audio form, read by Brené Brown herself; it was like walking with her every morning, which is ah-mazing. It was so good, I had to re-read it in paper form so I could take notes. My favorite quote? “grace will take you places hustling can’t.” It’s given me words for the moments when I hustle for my worth, instead of trusting that I am enough, and has given me a process by which to untangle the “story I’m making up” when I am tempted to doubt myself. I can’t say enough about how much this book encourages me to be brave in the arenas of life where God has called me.

The Faces of Rage
This book is out of print, which is a crying shame (but never fear – you can still get used copies!). In recent years, my awareness of how rage and contempt keeps us from being wholehearted has increased. This book reveals how we use contempt to avoid feeling pain and loss, and the ramifications of choosing contempt instead of moving into those areas of grief. More importantly, it gave me hope that God can heal those places of pain so that we don’t have to use contempt and rage to cover it. Perhaps most convicting, “When we spend our lives consciously or unconsciously avoiding loss, we aren’t available for meaningful relationships-not with God, ourselves, or others.” Uff da.

Inner Voice of Love
Henri Nouwen writes in a similar vein to Brennan Manning, which is probably why I love him. Both of them camp out in God’s amazing love for the broken hearted (which is all of us). This book is a collection from his private journal during a time when he struggled to hold onto the truth of God’s love for him. “Keep saying, ‘God loves me, and God’s love is enough.’ You have to choose the solid place over and over again, and return to it after every failure.” Indeed. These entries encourage me to keep listening to His voice speaking truth to me.

The Return of the Prodigal Son
Nouwen has been such a companion on this journey, he lands himself on this list twice! He wrote this book after an afternoon of staring at the painting “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt. He shows us how we can find ourselves in both the younger and older sons of the story, and how, ultimately, we are to become like the Father. I have always identified most with the older brother. What broke me from this book is that the older brother is just as lost as the younger brother, because he lived like a servant who had to earn his place, rather than as a beloved child. But, “whether I am the younger son or the older son, God’s only desire is to bring me home.” 

Sacred Parenting
Hands down best parenting book I’ve ever read! Yes, I tend toward hyperbole, but I am not exaggerating in this circumstance. I love it because it’s not a how to book. It’s a “here’s how God wants to shape you through parenting” kind of book, and I needed that. Two principles stood out to me. First, I can’t be a perfect parent who never sins against my kids, but I can be a confessional one who apologizes to them when I do sin. Second, when I apologize, and when I discipline, these are moments to show our kids not how to behave, but that they desperately need Jesus. It was challenging and encouraging all at once.

Bravehearts
It’s hard to find good books about relationships for women, but this book nails it. I love that she casts a vision for loving extravagantly, which involves embracing the deeply vulnerable desire for relationships while trusting God for the fulfillment of them. This encouraged me not to kill that desire but to seek healthy ways for it to be lived out.

*bonus book:
The Wisdom of the Enneagram 
I was introduced to the Enneagram about eight years ago from some other leadership coaches. My initial reaction was, “This is a load of crap,” which is how I respond to most personality assessments. Mostly, that was because I didn’t want to own the results it was showing me. (I’m a 3, by the way). Not surprising, because the uniqueness of this personality typing is that it doesn’t just tell you what you do-it tells you why you do it. It reveals core desires, needs, sin, and how you live those out. For me on this journey toward being wholehearted, it has helped me see where I seek life and love apart from God, trying to meet my own needs through less than satisfying ways. It’s also helped me understand my family members and friends in such a way that I can love then better (I think. I hope). Be cautious in looking into this online though-there are several websites on the Enneagram that have a strong new age foundation. I would recommend The Enneagram Institute, which is the site associated with this book.

So there they are-some of the books that have changed my life. What has God used to help you grow in wholeheartedness? I’m always looking for a new read, so tell me!

Keeping a Sabbath Heart

Gina Butz faith, life lessons Leave a Comment

Keep a sabbath heart - how to have an attitude of rest in God day to day

5 days in to my sabbatical and I was zen, y’all. I was so relaxed and peaceful that one night I actually chose to cook. It’s a magical place if Gina feels enough emotional margin to invest time in something she both dislikes and is average at.

My zen-like state remained throughout the next week, and I felt like I could have tackled anything.

And then I got tackled.

First, it was the teenage boy realizing the ACT was going to be harder than he thought, resulting in two days of major angst (there’s no angst like teen angst). Then it was the attempt to pack for every contingency of a month long trip for our kids, with the accompanying anxiety of “Oh my word, we’re sending our kids to the other side of the world for a month!” Add in a few extra teenagers and a giant dog for the last days leading up to departure, and friends, my zen was GONE.

I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed with myself (well, I could, but it would be a bald faced lie). Two weeks of connecting with God and my own heart, and all I found dissipated within a few days? Sabbaticals are a wonderful, beautiful gift, but surely there’s a way to maintain the kind of peace I touched in that time beyond them, right?

The fact is, we can’t always take the time away from our schedules to be restored. And when we do, we want to be able to carry that spirit into our regular life. It is both a time and an attitude. So how do we keep the attitude?

The next two weeks, as I settled back into my time of rest, I asked God to show me what it would take for me to keep a sabbath heart regardless of the circumstances. Here’s what I walked away with:

Respect your humanity
I’m not very good at respecting my own limits, as I’ve made clear before. But to have a sabbath heart, I have to recognize my own humanity. I can add task upon task, attempting to accomplish as much as possible, and pretty soon I’m overwhelmed. I’m learning to take moments to step away and just be, even if it’s for 5 minutes. The tasks will be there when I return, but the time away reminds me that I’m not a machine. I’m human, and humans are limited and needy. Owning that keeps me at a better pace.

Set good boundaries
It’s not just ourselves pushing the pace, but often the needs and demands from the people around us. It was a strange feeling to field requests for help during my sabbatical – everything in me wanted to say “yes” to them, but the buffer of sabbatical gave me a nice pass to say “no” (and I appreciate that everyone respected that). Without the excuse of something like sabbatical, it is easy to respond to needs without considering whether we have the resources to respond well. So I’m trying to stop for a moment before committing myself – not because I don’t care, but because I want to be able to care more in the long haul.

Do what truly feeds you
It’s easy to want to get away from our responsibilities for a time, so we take easy routes like Facebook, television, getting lost on the internet. But there is a difference between escape and restoration. This sabbatical reminded me what truly feeds my soul, and it’s activities like worship, silence, scripture. Nothing wrong with those other things in moderation, but when I need a break and my time is limited, I know I’m better off grabbing something in that window that’s really nourishing.

Keep a short emotional account with yourself
You know the scene in The Incredibles, where Mr. Incredible is being shot by big black balls? They stick to him and slowly expand. At first, he ignores them and tries to keep running, but eventually they engulf him. This is how I tend to deal with emotion. Feelings take time to process, and they won’t go away on their own. Having a sabbath heart requires me to keep a short emotional account with myself so I don’t end up carrying anxiety, anger, or other emotions that can pull me down. I’m learning to stop and bring my emotions to God more quickly so that I can exchange them for peace.

Stay close to the well
A few years ago I wrote a post for my friend Judy’s blog about staying close to the well.  I reflected on how God has an abundance to offer me, but I’m not always inclined to go for what I need. Our souls are like gardens that need tending, and in times of trial and stress, we dry out more quickly. It’s easy to keep pressing on, thinking, “I’ll rest someday” which is ridiculous when you think about it – like living a few steps from a well and dying of thirst. Yes, it takes time to go to the well, but it has what we need. When I’m busier, sometimes I literally have to write in my schedule time with God or it will get sucked up by more pressing issues.

So these are the lessons I’m trying remember and practice as I’m back in the real world. I can’t say I wouldn’t have loved living in that sabbath place all the time, but hopefully until the next time this will help me keep a restful attitude.

 

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When Fear Is a Dictator

Gina Butz emotions, life lessons, personal 1 Comment

when fear is a dictator - how to take your eyes off your fear and put them back on God

Confession: I have been afraid to write.

This is problematic, as I am obviously a blogger. I also have a mostly written book I sincerely hope to finish and have published.

This fear has been growing throughout the last year. It gnaws at me when I see my computer out of the corner of my eye. It pokes at me when I see other people tweeting links to wonderful posts others have written. It shuts down my thoughts. It keeps my fingers still.

It’s a fear that it won’t be enough. People won’t like what I write. It won’t draw the audience I hope it will. It will sit out there in the open like a sad, unpicked girl at a dance, while the other posts are grabbed by the hand and thrown from partner to partner.

Oh how I hate this fear. I hate the grip it has on my soul. I hate the way fear turns my eyes from God and onto me. I hate that it is a little dictator, barking at me to stay silent, to give up, to step out of the arena because if I can’t be as great as I hope I could be, then I should quit. It says it just isn’t worth it.

I’ve had enough of my little dictator.

I recently took a sabbatical from work, a time when I thought I would write more. Instead, I found God calling me first to wrestle this fear to the ground and give it a good dose of truth. It’s time to take these thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.

The truth is that my fear means my eyes are far too much on me. Fear makes me focus on finding my own glory, not His. Fear tells me to hustle for my worth. It demands I build a kingdom for myself, and at the same time tells me I’ll never be able to do it.

Fear loves to dictate the what, the how, the when, the how much, of our lives. It tells us to shut up. It demands that we stop trying. It tells us to shrink back and hang in the shadows of the brave places God calls us to live.

Fear whispers to us, as we stand on the edge of faith, of all that could go wrong. It takes our eyes off God and turns them to the what if’s, and maybe’s, and you’d better not’s, and what will people think’s.

It silences our voices and eventually our hearts.

So this morning I am turning my eyes back to Him.

I read today in Minding Your Emotions, “We handle fear by going from self-made to God-made, from self-important to God-honoring, from self-satisfied to God-soaked, from self-preoccupied to God-dazzled.”

There it is – I go from me to Him. I tell fear the truth that this is God’s kingdom, not mine. I tell it that I don’t have to make a kingdom for myself because this is the place where I’m already valued and free. I tell it that I’m going to step out in faith anyway because it’s not about my glory after all – it’s about His.

He strips fear of its power over us.

I’m asking Him to not let fear be my dictator, but to let His Spirit be my guide.

How is fear your dictator?

 

Related:

He Makes Me Brave 

Do It Scared 

 

Tell Me the Truth

Gina Butz faith, life lessons, personal 2 Comments

the importance of having others remind us of the truth

It’s important to tell ourselves the truth, but sometimes, we need others to do it for us.

During this time of sabbatical, I have been reminded how desperately reliant I am on God and His truth, and how challenging it can be for me to invite others to carry me in the journey. Years ago, during a time of burnout, God spoke to me about this very need (so you could say I’m something of a slow learner). He led me to write this poem. Consider it an invitation to do this for me (and others) when you see the need arise:

Tell Me

Tell me the truth
about myself

Tell me things that free me
from the worry cage I’ve built

Tell me the upside-down things
that correct the world’s twisted weavings

Tell me there are rocks to rest on
so I can come in from the storm

Tell me things that breathe new life
into this valley of dry bones

Tell me again to draw my sword
to cut through the enemy attacks on my soul

They say there are no easy answers
And I know.

But there is One who answers still.

Tell me what He would say
when I’m weak and lonely and tired.

Tell me to listen to Him.

Tell me
because sometimes I forget.

 

Related:

What Parents Really Need to Hear

Let’s Be the Grace Givers

Gina Butz faith, personal Leave a Comment

Let's be the grace givers - thoughts on giving ourselves and others permission to let go

I have become known among the soccer parents as the Mom Who Febreezes Her Child.

I let this information slip during a tournament weekend, when another mom lamented that she would have to wash her daughter’s uniform overnight. I informed her that I would do no such thing – Febreeze to the rescue! I have taught my children this trick so well that I don’t have to say anything. That night, sure enough, our daughter’s uniform lay neatly on her floor, soaking in a layer of Febreeze.

You could say this is me being lazy, but I say it’s permission to let ourselves off the hook. Life’s too short and there’s so much that’s more important than my child having a clean, fresh smelling uniform she’s only going to re-stink the next day.

I didn’t use to live this way. There was a time I would have cared about how that uniform looked and smelled. If I didn’t wash it, I certainly wouldn’t have admitted to Febreezing it. But at some point I realized there’s a great deal of freedom and joy to be found in letting go of appearances and bringing out the dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. And I don’t know about you, but freedom and joy are so much more appealing than exhaustion and anxiety over what others think.

I’m happy to give this permission to others. Not only does it give them grace, but it reminds me that I am better off living in grace too. Sure, maybe they’re secretly judging me, but that’s ok. I’m living shame free over here. Try it – it’s great! Grace is something I need more and more in my own life, and I find great joy in being able to give that grace to others.

We need grace so much, but we don’t speak it out.

I want to be the kind of person who sees where I need grace, where others need grace, and gives it lavishly. Let’s be the grace givers. Start with yourself, and see how it spills over. Let’s be known as the ones who give ourselves and others permission to let go of that which is, in the end, not significant, so we can pour our energy and our hearts into what is worth our lives.

 

Related:

Just Show Up

The Soul Needs Gentleness 

In Case of Emergency, Remember This

Gina Butz Uncategorized 2 Comments

In Case of Emergency, Remember This: telling ourselves the truth in times of doubt and fear

It’s good to have an emergency plan.

Like if you are afraid you might be chased by gators. This was the thinking my friend Laura and I had while walking the Orlando Wetland Park earlier this spring. Our plan constantly evolved according to available assistance (“Ok, so here we’d climb that shelter.” As though we could seriously climb a shelter) and probably would not have helped us at all, but it gave us comfort. (note: do NOT run in a zig zag pattern. That’s a myth, and a pretty silly one).

My husband’s a planner too. This spring he’s had a sign on his desk that says, “In case of emergency, read this.” It’s a list to remind himself why he is leading certain change, the reasons why it’s good. It helps him push through when people are pushing back.

It got me thinking. Emergency plans are good for more than just escaping gators.

I’ve sensed in this sabbatical how quickly my mind can travel to fearful places. Doubts creep in. My faith wavers. I get discouraged and want to give up. I’m ready to climb the shelter (even though I probably can’t climb the shelter). I’m looking for a way to run.

Friends, this is not how I want to live.

So I’ve been mentally making “in case of emergency” lists in my mind:

In case you begin to worry, remember: He loves you. He is wise, He is powerful, He is good. He’s got this.

In case you fail, remember: this is all temporal. Your value hasn’t changed. Just keep being faithful. He’s got you.

In case your kids go to the other side of the world on a mission trip, remember: He loves them more than you do. He is with them. He’s got them.

And on it goes.

We need our go to truths for the times when we need to talk ourselves off the ledges, or we are tempted to run from our circumstances. We need them to combat the stories we’re making up in our heads, to lift our eyes off the things of the world and back onto Him.

In case of emergency, remember truth. Hold on to grace. Breathe peace. Soak in His presence.When life takes us into deeper woods, there’s no need to panic. There’s a way out of this wilderness, but it takes a minute to stop and orient ourselves. He knows the way out. Remember what He would say and let that be your guide. 

 

Related:

When You Just Have to Do One Day at a Time 

Living a Better Story 

 

I Don’t Need Rescuing (Except I Do)

Gina Butz faith, life lessons 2 Comments

I don't need rescuing (except I do) thoughts on trusting that God is our Rescuer

There are people in the world who like to be the rescuers of others. There are others who look for someone to rescue them. And there are people like me, who think, “I don’t need rescuing, thank you very much.”

Except I do. I very much do.

I try, though. Oh, how I try.

I try to hold it together. I try to keep up the appearance of competence. I have mastered self-sufficiency and ignoring my needs and emotions for the sake of keeping it going. I can deceive myself into thinking that rescuing is for someone else, the ones who can’t quite manage it on their own, who don’t have their stuff together. I’m like a soldier on the battlefield who tries valiantly to press on despite repeated arrows, “Tis but a flesh wound,” and won’t ask for help.

But underneath this lie is not strength. It’s fear.

It’s a fear that if I call for help, no one’s coming. It’s a fear grounded in those lies of too much and not enough. It’s a fear that there is no one who cares enough to offer their strength, no one stronger willing to step in. I fight for myself because I fear no one will fight for me.

I’m partway through a much-needed sabbatical, and in the first few days, as my soul slowed down, this is the fear that rose to the surface. It is the source of much of my anxiety and restlessness, my need to control my world. As I have turned it over and over, examining its root, I am seeing it for the lie that it is.lighthouse light darkness beacon

Because there is Someone coming for me. There is One whose strength is always greater, who longs to rescue, who calls me to be the child I am and rest in Him. I am being reminded that when I feel weak, helpless, and incompetent, I can step off the battlefield and just receive; no need to press on because He can take care of it, can take care of me.

He is calling me to deeper, dependent prayer, as I recognize those moments when I am tempted to take back the weight of the world on my shoulders. He is calling me to the images in scripture of our God who is our strong tower, our rock of refuge, our Savior, letting them speak grace into my tired places. I am so grateful for this fear to come to light, so that God can speak His words of life and truth to replace it.

“Because she loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call upon me, and I will answer her. I will be with her in trouble. I will deliver her and honor her. With long life will I satisfy her and show her my salvation.”  – Psalm 91:14-16

 

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Related:

Get Quiet Enough to Listen

The Battle Belongs to Him 

 

What No One Told Me About Parenting Teens

Gina Butz family 5 Comments

what no one told me about parenting teens

Since we have two teenagers in the house, I’ve realized there are pieces of information about what this parenting teens gig entails that no one told me.

I suspect this is because the ones who know are too busy trying to manage it themselves, those who are past it have forgotten, or maybe people have tried to tell me but I just didn’t listen. All viable options. Regardless, here is what I’m learning no one told me:

It’s tiring. Really, really tiring. Suddenly we’re managing a thousand details of who needs to be where and when and what that means about how we’re going to eat and sleep and see each other. They no longer go to bed at 8 pm and in fact choose the hours between 8 and 10 to broach deep, emotional topics. Not my prime time, unfortunately.

It’s emotional. Really, it seems to require a counseling degree which I, unfortunately, do not have. Teens have emotions – lots of them – and it’s a constant balance of affirming those emotions and not letting them take us for a wild ride. Boy, I hope we’re somewhere in the middle.

Suddenly it all matters.When they were little and we wondered whether or not our five year old should play soccer or dance, it wasn’t that tough a decision. Now, it’s, “Should my child try to get into this development program that might lead her to that professional career she wants?” and “Where should our son go to college?” The stakes just got higher, people.

It can be lonely. I don’t think I’ve found it this difficult to connect with friends since our kids were toddlers and I was tied to nap schedules. This might be a side effect of moving to a new place (hence losing the friends I’d made during the “let’s get the kids together so we can hang out” stage) but I find that coordinating time with friends in between work and practice schedules and just life is like finding a four leaf clover. I spend an inordinate amount of time in my car. Audiobooks are my new best friend.

I love seeing who they are becoming. It’s the coolest and scariest thing to see your kids be partly a reflection of you and your husband, and partly their own unique person. I am both proud and a little nervous that our kids have inherited my snarky humor. It’s a dangerous trait! They are us and they are not, and it’s a joy to be part of them learning to own their faith, their ideas, their dreams. They’re like our little padawans.

I don’t want it to end. Oh yes, I heard from everyone that this would go by quickly. I heard, “the days are long but the years are fast.” I heard it, and I believed it, but I always imagined a sense of completion, of anticipation of the time when I would have my time back. I didn’t know how much I would not want this season to be done. I suggested to our son that he attend college nearby and live with us forever. He replied, “I could, but then I might not become a contributing member of society.” Ok, you win, you can go.

It’s been a surprising, exhausting, stretching journey so far, and we’re not done yet (thank goodness, cause I think I’m just hitting my stride). For those heading in to this chapter – hang on, friends, it’s a great ride.

 

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Related:

Promises to My Children

I Am Not My Child’s Savior