Thursday, August 21, 2014

Womanly Worth {And Where Not To Find It}

"Are you going to take pictures of it for your blog?"

We're standing in the kitchen and I'm cleaning up the last bits of deep purple jam spills on the stove. My oldest daughter is standing, admiring the jars lined up to cool under the southern window, jewel-tones shining in the August sun. I set down the dishcloth and lean against the counter.

Last week, I went camping without a camera. It was an odd feeling and at times I wondered if I was "missing" the moments by not snapping pictures of them. Of course, I wasn't. I was living them instead. Life has changed a lot in the past few years, and one of the biggest ways I see is how everything must be immediately documented and shared. I buy into it just like everyone else. Like the whole "if a tree falls in a forest" analogy, it begs the question - if a Mama makes jam out of blueberries she picked and doesn't photograph it to instantly share, did it even happen?

In such a short time, the world has revamped how we live and, in some ways, changed why we live the way we do. The constant sharing and proving ourselves worthy to others feels flat to me, and I struggle to put my finger on why, exactly. After all, I love peeking into the lives of my friends, liking their shares and posting pictures of my most recent creations. There's certainly nothing intrinsically wrong with there?

I was raised by a woman of strength and confidence, certain of her worth and largely unconcerned with the opinions of others. She was simply too busy with the work of real life, raising 7 children, schooling, helping her husband's business and striving to live by God's standards. She never once instagrammed a cup of tea she made. She never once took a selfie. She never once tweeted about how many times she woke up at night with her toddler. She was real, she was strong, she was sure. She worked hard, loved fiercely, and lived her life as an act of worship.

It often seems our quest for acceptance and approval has us doubting ourselves more. We know we give others only a glimpse of our lives but we measure ourselves against mere glimpses of theirs, guiltily sure that the perfection we perceive is pervasive. We are peer-dependent long into adulthood, and we adhere labels to ourselves to try and keep up. Defining ourselves by what we do only serves to cheapen the truth of who we are. We are more than a collection of labels. We are more than the names we give ourselves. "Homeschool Mom." "Natural Parent." "Minimalist." "Professional." 

Our lives were meant to be lived out in a daily practice of giving glory to God, blessing others by showcasing the fullness of His grace. In the instant gratification world of sharing and (sometimes) over-sharing handpicked moments of our lives that put us in the best light, that can fall by the wayside. There's no guarantee of grace in seeking the approval of others. You can give and give and come right out empty. But in giving it right back to Him? You're always, always filled.

Real womanhood isn't found in instagram photos or the number of likes on a tweet. It's found in the strength of the knowledge of daily grace, the embracing and practicing of gratitude and the humility of handing it all over to God. That's it. Not in how often you get a pedicure. Not in how many kids you have. Not in the last time you remodeled your kitchen. And not at all in whether or not you lose that last 5 lbs from your last baby.

The secret to living in the beautiful fullness that God has for every woman, you don't need to make jam. You don't need to feed the kids organic produce, or bust through the glass ceiling at work. You don't need to lose that baby weight and you don't need to plant a garden. The secret is to know that your worth is abundantly more than anyone earthside could ever quantify. And the only thing you need to do to claim it? Live each day as an outpouring of gratitude and praise to the One who made you.

When you do? The whole world will see you shine.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Days Of Wonder #MindfulMotheringMondays

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

This past week, I left knitting and books at home. I left this blog unmanned, without so much as an archived post synced up and ready to post. I didn't even take my camera, but piled kids into a van and bikes on the back and drove 3 hours to the coast, fleeing everything to just wrap myself up in us. Because sometimes that's just what you need, cupping moments and taking everything down to the bare minimum.

Parenting doesn't always feel precious. Marriage doesn't always feel like the immense blessing it is. These relationships that we live and work inside each and every day can most certainly lose their luster in the daily march of monotony. Still, I'm keenly aware that these are the moments, these chaos filled days are the times we'll look back on as being the most glorious. The most life-filled. The most worthwhile times of our lives.

These days aren't the prettiest. The baby fell and cut her mouth, the 9 year old sick on vacation, missing an entire day of blueberry picking in the sun to rest and heal. The weather barely entered the 70s, hardly beach - worthy. There are squabbles between siblings and adults, and times when there are just no words. There are 6 children outfitted with 6 different personalities in 6 different stages of development. There are two parents convinced that each child was formed and intended by the Almighty from the very beginning of time, struggling to parent each in the individual ways they need to be parented. There are prayers for grace to cover over the holes because no matter how much we wish we could be perfect, we know our flawed humanity lurks behind each decision we make.

But that's where there is hope. And where there's hope, there is anticipation. Our freezing cold week on Lake Michigan's shore, flying kites and watching the sun set at the end of each day - it spurred something in me. Anticipation. Excitement. For as hard as these moments are, I can still see the wonder. Still feel the miracles. Fall is quickly on the way and I'm looking forward - and up. Towards the place from whence all good things come, I know that we are right at the brink of the next great thing. Every day filled with wonder if you know where to look.


{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes. A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life. A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now.

You might post recent struggles or thoughts. Maybe just a picture or a quote. Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post. Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together. Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday?

I hope you'll meet with me! Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below in the comments. Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us! And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter. This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:


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Friday, August 8, 2014

A Picture, a Word, a Song ::This Moment::

For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call on you.

Have a lovely weekend.

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