Thursday, February 19, 2015

We dance.

Words are a gift of mine. Both to me and from me. God uses them to etch away at all the troubles of my heart. He also uses them to help me reach others. They are my jam. They keep me sane. 

I grew up in dance since I was 18 months old until college. I dreamed of being a prima ballerina and watching The Nutcracker and The Rockettes and basically breathing everything dance. I spent hours in a studio and competitions dancing every week. That's why music is my second gift. A good song speaks to my soul in the most honest way. I think it's the combination of the lyrics and movement. You know how a line in a song seems like an arrow right to your gut and you're getting all preachy, like... "Yes!" Everyone must hear this. That's a Facebook status!" I used music and dance as therapy for most of my youth. Most times when I couldn't find the words (I hadn't quite mustered the courage to be so wordy) I danced it out. "Left it all on the dance floor" as we would say. Dancing to a song with amazing lyrics= my euphoria. 

Now that I'm old (okay I'm not old. Just 26.) But having two kiddos and a third on the way makes your body FEEL old. I don't know about you but I feel like 25 is the magic year. Up until 25 my body did what I wanted and I ate like the Poster Child for Twinkie. Then I turned 26 and God's all, "Now you gotta work for it?!" And then all the wonderful genetics started kicking in.. like saddle bags, and cellulite, and varicose veins, and stretch marks. Don't you just wanna see me naked now? Thank you Baby Jesus for Spanx! Anyways, what was I saying? Oh yes, now that I've got more gray hair than I can keep up with plucking (thanks Grams. I hear you passed this down) my body doesn't allow me to do much more than car dancing and lyric loving behind the wheel. So I get down with my bad self at red lights.

Wow, that was a long winded intro. But here's the point. Today I was on the way to preschool and I needed a good ole' jam sesh to drown out the sound of my child to reach closer to Jesus. ;) THIS song is on a completely legal burnt CD from my wise and faithful leader friend, Lisa. She's like the Master Splinter of finding good music. I'm just a teenage mutant ninja turtle basking in her wisdom.

Soooo... I've heard it before but THIS time. We had a moment. God and I. Like He said, "this song IS YOURS. It is so true to you and my relationship. To all we've been through and where you are. LISTEN, and rest in it." Let me tell you I sobbed, and I sang, and I pretended that my big ole' pregnant belly self performed a dance with moves I can only still do in my head." Join me. Read these lyrics while you listen to the song....

It's painfully obvious... HELLO! We Dance! I dance. God's meeting me where my gift is! In dance! And another funny reason "we dance" is such an intimate thing for me is because in my super rad Mama's group we tend to do "visualizing" a lot. We get a song going and we close our eyes and see what God shows us. Some people see a hot Jesus like in the Old Spice commercials (don't judge. it's not nice), some people see Jesus lit up and glowing, some people can't see Him and that's okay too...but ME I always see my living room from the vantage point of standing at the top of the stairs. I see Jesus cradle me in and slow dance with me, my head on his shoulder and His arm on my back and  on my head.... like a dad does to his little girl at a "daddy-daughter dance". Most often times I physically feel my weight sink into Him. Like I'm not even forced into holding myself up. It is intimate. It is magical. It is amazing... So this part gives me that visual...

You steady me
Slow and sweet, we sway
Take the lead and I will follow
Finally ready now
To close my eyes and just believe
That You won't lead me
Where You don't go

All my life, I've fought for love. To get the love I wanted, needed, ached for in ways that were desperate and unsatisfying. How often I feel we all do that. Spend our whole lives fighting to be loved. To meet the qualifications we're told that makes us lovable. To meet the standards of others to make ourselves feel worthy of their love. But the battles already been won. God is Love. He's victorious. He loves us. Here it is..

And I've been told
To pick up my sword
And fight for love
Little did I know
That Love had won for me 

I've had a lot of life packed in my short years. Lots of joy and lots of mourning. My middle name is "Joy" and so is my daughter's. I think God is so clever that way. One of my main objectives and messages to mama's and friends and loved ones out there is to have JOY in the mundane. He's gifted me a rescue, a sunrise in the morning, a hope, a joy after every struggle. It's represented in the life I lead now. Being 18 and pregnant seemed scary and lonely and well, a struggle. But I see my joy.. my Sienna Joy now and she is the biggest light in my journey of life. In her eyes I saw Jesus. She drew me close to Him. God locked eyes with me. He gave me joy...He helped me dance...

Just you and me
And I will lock eyes 
With the One who's ransomed me
The One who gave me joy for mourning
And I will lock eyes
With the One who's chosen me
The One who set my feet to dancing

I know this last part doesn't just speak to me. So often, especially as women, and even more so if you are an emotional and deep person like I am.. life can feel lonely. When you feel things so deeply and evaluate situations so intently, it feels like a burden just to live in such a troubled world. but THIS...this line shows us where our peace can be...

It's nice to know I'm not alone
I've found my home here in Your arms

What's your song that "God wrote for you"? If you don't have one. Find one! I promise when you feel like the creator of the universe has done such a romantic gesture to meet you in the middle of your living room for a slow dance to an intimate song.. it's magical. It's life changing. It's life giving. I pray each one of you can feel the way I feel when I hear this song. When I feel the relationship I have with God himself deep in my soul. 

And just in case you need some cuteness to debrief from the word vomit I just gave you... Here's my sweet girl at her dance recital when she was younger. (She looks JUST like me here). I pray she dances with Jesus always.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


            Today I'm going to break the cardinal rule of "good mommies" everywhere. I'm going to share one of those moments in mommy hood that no one sees.. so we all pretend they don't happen. You know the times where your voice turns into some dragon like sound or you just scream GO TO YOUR ROOMS MOMMY IS GOING TO LOSE IT! Just me? It's okay, denial is not just a river. ;) It's the moments behind closed doors that we are just flawed human beings and we just can't use our Mary Poppins voice to ask "please make wise choices" one more time through a crap-eating grin like we have to do at Chick-fil-a or Publix, or anywhere else the judger-Mc-judgersons are watching.

          I set up the story a bit, well because if not, I just sound like a witch. I caught whatever sickness my kid had last week. It's two days of vomiting and other nonmentionables where you can eat nothing. I'm 20 weeks pregnant so that was my worst nightmare. Not to mention my stomach was contracting in between sessions of nausea in a dry-heave type of way. Got the visual? You're welcome. Basically Hell on Earth. I'm sure of it. A pregnant lady who can't eat a thing and yaks up her entire insides all the while having contractions while not being in labor. Yup. The devil himself created those conditions.

         So fast forward to where I lose my "Mommy of the year" nomination. This was the first morning this week that I woke up without feeling like death, and somehow it looked like my house had turned into a war zone. As I got the kiddos ready and out the door, I already had my days missions and check list and food I was going to eat on my mind. The last thing I yelled as I grabbed my keys and phone was, "Sienna, throw on your jacket and grab your backpack. Then get it in the car. Hurry! You have enrichment before school!" We make it to school at 7:47.. two minutes late to enrichment but that's like basically on time if you know me well, so I considered it a victory.

        "Okay, take off your seat belt, grab your bag, get ready to tuck and roll.." Okay, I'm kidding about the tuck and roll but these safety patrols at carline are no joke. They are all sorts of rushing and it makes me nervous so we have to get ready for the dismount. (Welcome to my children's world. They have a mother who is afraid of 5th grade safety patrols. How did I even qualify for this position?) The look of fear comes over my daughter's face. She repeatedly looks around in the same spots over and over again to avoid eye contact with me and to seem busy... like her backpack was going to magically appear in our car the second time around.

         That's when I did it. I rang her a new one. "How could you forget your backpack?! I said GRAB YOUR BACKPACK! I have so much to do Sienna!? Do you know some girls your age have to fold laundry and clean and help their mommy so much and I just asked your to get your own back pack!" I cry as I type what I remember saying, because immune to it in my fit of rage.. I can clearly see her face now as I remember. Sad, lonely, afraid, feeling like she's not enough, and unloved. "Now I have to go all the way home and grab it and come all the way back! You always want Mommy to do more for you! It's never enough!" Then she said nothing. and I said nothing. The dang short and stumpy dark-haired kid opened the door with a grin... "Good Morning!" he said as his words cut through the harsh tension that flooded out of my car. He quickly looked down and just shut the door. I let my sweet girl get out of the "safety" of our car into the big wide world to start her day without a kiss and a goodbye. My heart breaks. Instant shame. Instant grief.

          I wasn't even out of the school parking lot when I thought about why what just happened, happened. I do that all the time, I dissect things. On a deeper level, always. It's a blessing, and a curse. My response to my girl immediately reflected back to me, and really had nothing to do with her. So often my "issues" with my kids are direct reflections of how I feel.

          The last two days had been horrible. I was bathing kids in between hugging the toilet. I was making breakfast in between being curled in a ball on the bathroom floor. I know you're thinking... stop whining! But even as a mom you think... someone save me! PS: don't grow up. It's a trap. The days of hours in bed with gatorade and chicken noodle soup and cartoons when you're sick... ARE OVER! But deeper than that.. ever since I was younger I've had this pressure to have the mentality of handle it all yourself! Whether those around me intentionally or subconciously meant to.. the vibe I got from the world was, "you don't need help. you need to deal with it." It's funny because I come from a line of STRONG women. They've been dealt hands in life that you JUST CAN'T IMAGINE. And they pride themselves on not needing a dang thing from anyone else. They tough it out. They conquer and kick butt and take names. Man that's a lot of pressure to live up to.

          Maybe I'm more sensitive, or maybe I've had the revelation that each one of them and us as women can only handle this life on our own for so long before it catches up to us. This whole week I've cried as I repeatedly thought all of the lies... "where's my help?" "I'm so unloved" "I just want to be important to somebody!" I envied other people that I could remember who have others "swoop in and save the day" when they have a paper cut. Here I am again, in a childlike state... "you don't need help. you need to deal with it."

          I looked in the rearview mirror at myself. My little girl self and saw eyes that said, "Sad, lonely, afraid, feeling like she's not enough, and unloved." I had been screaming to my little girl the exact harsh words I felt the world telling me. The last two days, my whole life, in all the hard times. I'm regurgitating and repeating the cycle that if she needs help, it's a burden. That I am conditionally here for her and there's a limit to what I will do for her. Do I want my little girl to be independent and strong and courageous and responsible? Yes. But more importantly I want her to be secure in knowing I've got her back. That the world is tough and strong enough without her being tough too. She can be vulnerable, and soft, and sensitive, and forgetful, and I will be there to help her.

        So besides starting a therapy fund along with her college fund.. I came home to get her backpack. I wrote a note that said

Sweet Girl, 

I am so sorry that I got so frustrated that you forgot your backpack. Mistakes happen. It's okay. Mommy makes mistakes all the time. You are perfect and loved just the way you are. I love you. 

Sorry! Love,
Your biggest fan 

        Then I pinned it on the outside of her backpack and dropped it off in the office. I was intentional not to hide the note so she can see that we don't have to be ashamed of our mistakes. We just have to own up to them. I'm praying she forgives me. I know it won't be the last time. I'll have plenty of apologizing in my future to my sweet little girl and the little girl that looks back at me in the mirror...

Just in case no one has ever said it to you....

Dear BELOVED jacked-up child of God,

You are perfect just the way you are. 
Mistakes happen. It's okay. You're forgiven.
The pressures of this world are hard and scary and overbearing. 
You are not alone. 
You deserve help. 
If there's not a helping hand to reach out to because people are self consumed and sometimes
just oblivious to your need (maybe they even asked but you're still used to the generic 
"Awww thanks but I'm okay" answer....
REACH OUT TO ME. Cast your worries on me. 
Tell me all about them. I'll listen. I'll lighten your load. 
My yoke (dunno what the means? Me either. Let's translate: it's the wooden piece on the back of two oxen's back to keep them together while in the field. AKA: the weight on your shoulders!)
MY BURDENS are easy. Let's trade. 
If no one's ever told you... Tell yourself in the mirror,
"You are loved. You are important to the creator of the stars" 
Let me help you. I love you....

So much love.
(I hate to speak for God. BUT I'm pretty sure he'd say that)

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