Friday, July 31, 2015

A Glimpse at the Unseen

A while back, I stumbled upon this fabulousness, summarized well by author Shauna Niequist as she writes, "My life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. Everyone's life looks better on the Internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths--we get to decide what people see and what they don't. That's why it's safer short term. And that's why it's much, much more dangerous long term." 

That article came to mind when I posted this photo on Facebook...
...and heard later from a friend, "Peighton is so photogenic! What a great picture!"

While it was her opinion, and I'd have to agree (I mean, come on. Look at that beauty!) this was take like 20. Some of our previous pictures looked like this (all unedited)...
(Trying to eat her shoes, which were then removed for the following...)

(Now eating the tutu. Can you say teething??)

(And, not quite sitting up on her own yet.)

And this was just ONE maybe 7 minute chunk of my day. Yes, I posted an adorable picture of my baby girl but she is not always smiley and bright eyed. And that is my point.

When I scroll through my "Internet life" I imagine people think I spend my days eating cupcakes, sipping tea or coffee, snapping pictures of my always happy little girl, on romantic dates with my husband, on adventurous getaways, enjoying stress free and mess free time in the kitchen whipping up something homemade, and having an extended quiet time in the Word. That is what my "Internet life" looks like.

What my real life looks like is very different. While all of the above does occur in my life, it happens in serious moderation. And you (cyber world) only see my highlight reel. You don't see the gift cards and coupons that allow for "splurging", or the pregnancy struggles we experienced; the argument Tyler and I had on our way out for the night, or the meltdown I had in the kitchen because we didn't have all the ingredients I needed (and I'd already started making whatever it is); the end of my quiet times when I leave my journal entry half completed because Peighton's nap time ends before I anticipated, or the breakdowns as I struggle to balance it all.

You don't see the sacrifice. You don't see the heartaches. And if I'm honest, I don't want you to, because a big part of me likes for you to think I have it all together...that my marriage, family, job, friendships, and leisure time is always peachy. That I can in fact keep up with the Jones's. But I find freedom when I share that it isn't so. When I release myself of the standard of perfection and allow you (yes, even you cyber world) to catch even a glimpse at the brokenness in my life, I can REST.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Motherhood + Ministry

I have found life as a mom to be many things. It is satisfying, demanding, tiring, busy, fun, draining, full, chaotic, and at the end of every day, ALWAYS worth it. By no means have I figured it out. I'm only six months in and have a lifetime to go. But I will say, I think I am getting the hang of it. This summer has been a huge growth season for me as I navigate what motherhood + ministry looks like--two of my forever loves. The marriage of motherhood and ministry looks different for every mom I know. There is no formula. While I find that both freeing and frustrating, God is directing me and leading my heart to what He has for me.

While Peighton was a newborn, and as a one car family, I found getting to campus to meet with girls very challenging. Between the scheduled need-to-gain-weight feedings for Peighton and Tyler's already concreted schedule, I was not left with much wiggle room. Monday evenings worked out for us to open our home to four girls for a discipleship group. Tyler was on bedtime duty and I was in the zone. With a love for hosting and leading young women, I found myself yearning for this two hour window each week.

Then summer came.

I anticipated being able to connect well with girls on our summer project because, after all, we were living in dorms in community, we ate as a group, we traveled as a group, etc. And then teething started. Oh good golly! Our time in Boston may have been the most cry filled three weeks of Peighton's short life. I spent so much energy trying to get her to sleep, or reach a place of contentment. And she spent so much energy letting me know she was not a happy girl.

So that is my lead into what God taught me this summer. I never saw it coming. 


A handful of moments stick out in my mind as I type that word. Moments where Peighton was not doing as I had planned or expected or desired. She wasn't sleeping, she was hungry out of her "schedule," she wasn't happy in her environment, or she was crying uncontrollably and distracting both me and the group. Often times this required me to miss whatever was going on. And because I not only love motherhood but also ministry, this brought me to tears. I was missing out....or so I thought. And as I sat in my pity party one night rocking Peighton to sleep (well past her bedtime and well into the event of the evening), she gently grabbed my face with her little hand...and God simultaneously touched my heart. I will never forget that exact moment. It is when I realized how fleeting these days are. Peighton will not always want me to snuggle her to sleep. She will not always depend on me for her nutrition. And I will not always be able to be there to dry her eyes. Oh how quickly I was convicted. God met me in my dorm room that night, He spoke tenderly to my heart, and asked me to patiently endure the blessing of seasons. 

Although I have tried, I cannot seem to plan out how each season and stage will look for me as I journey through motherhood + ministry over the years. But, I do know this...God is with me and He is for me. As I press into His presence, I will find not only contentment but JOY in each moment--whether in my home or on campus.