A few months ago, I started reading a book that I should have read way more than a few months ago.
Many people told me I had to read Love Does, by Bob Goff, but these people don’t know this one little thing about me: if you tell me I should do something, I’m not going to do it. Because you can’t make me. (Geez, what a jerk.)
But once I actually sucked it up and started reading Bob, it was like my soul was a big balloon and he was methodically pumping it fuller and fuller with every word. As Bob wrote about his adventures in life, loving people by saying “yes” to every opportunity set in front of him—from the kid wanting to get engaged to his girlfriend on Bob’s lake that turned into the most elaborate, over-the-top proposal, to encouraging people to make more room in their life to do “stuff” by quitting less important “stuff” every Thursday, to all the children in Uganda who Bob has used his financial and legal resources to save from horrific fates—I was ready to burst. Not with air, but with love.
And when you are so full of love, you have nothing to do but let some of it leak out. My husband became my leak-catcher.
He’d get an email, nudge on the couch or tug on his pajama sleeve every five minutes while I was reading Bob.
“He’s a lawyer, but loves Jesus and people, just like you!”
“He has an office in Disneyland and enjoys being there more than any grown man probably should, just like you!”
“His favorite book is a thesaurus, just like me!” True story. I could read it for hours. (Geez, what a nerd.)
Chris had no choice. He had to read Bob.
And suddenly, he, too, became full.
That intersection of full hearts by two people who love each other, love Jesus and want to love people so much they are bursting at the seams, it’s an incredible and dangerously wonderful place to be.
But scary. Because you start doing things like taking month long breaks from blogging and Googling things like, “What is God’s will for my life?”
Bob says something powerful at the close of his book, though, which is something that I keep returning to, time and time again: just try to figure out the next step, the next good thing, and then do that.
About a month ago, I noticed that Bob was putting on a conference, just a few hours away from us and I just had this feeling we had to go. Bob would be there, Donald Miller (you should read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Today.), and the ever awesome, Kid President. I had to go.
It turned out, I couldn’t–due to some obligations with my kiddos and some friends’ kiddos–but somebody had to go and represent this family of ours. And thankfully, Chris said he didn’t know why, but he just felt he needed to go.
So even though it didn’t make much financial, logistical or practical sense, Chris drove up early this morning to hear his hero speak.
This afternoon, I talked on the phone with my very full and very love-leaky partner in life, and we both got choked up as he told me about his encounter with Bob. The words of inspiration he’s already heard. And the huge desire we both have to leak some of this love out of us.
I can’t wait for both you and I to hear the rest of this story.
But somehow, I don’t think it’s mine to tell.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48b, NIV)
It’s an odd feeling, dreading a holiday in one’s own honor, but dread-filled is exactly how I’d describe my emotions about Mother’s Day.
Don’t confuse my words here–I am very excited for the gifts–but it’s not what you think. My family can save their money and skip flowers and candy, or replacing the yoga mat that Chris inexplicably ruined doing P90X. And for the first time in years, I don’t want a decorative placemat or kitschy dishtowels, condiment spoons and bowls. (That doesn’t bode well for a you all getting a recipe up in here, does it?)
What I’m looking forward to are the tissue paper-wrapped, handmade goodies the girls snuck upstairs to hide under their beds afterschool. I have no idea what’s inside, I can just assume they were pasted together, painted and glittered up with love (only to lose half the goodies they were bedazzled with while getting shoved into a backpack at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon).
Those are the gems I can’t wait for.
But the whole darn day just makes me super uncomfortable.
“A day celebrating you, moms, and all you do.”
Ick. Super, blechy, super itchy, like-a-too-small-wool-sweater on a sticky, steamy day ick. Because no matter how you stretch it, Mother’s Day just doesn’t fit me.
Mother’s Day makes me uncomfortable for the mom that can’t live up to the greeting cards. Who admittedly isn’t the “Best Mom Ever” and feels like a fraud even opening a card claiming that title.
The mom who yelled at their kids to put away their Legos and grab their homework and lunch and get in the car right now one too many mornings last week.
The mom who turned the TV on so she could get dinner made, a phone call returned, the laundry put away or thirty (okay, fifteen) minutes on the treadmill.
Then there’s the “not-a-mom” who so desperately wants to have kids but can’t, or who, bless her sweet soul, lost a child that was never born. She, who hasn’t been able to move past the pain and see all the children in this world who need her as their mother, their mentor or their friend. There are too many not-a-moms and too many momless kids, and I grieve for both sets of broken hearts.
Mother’s Day makes me uncomfortable for me.
Because celebrating all I do right as a mom only makes me more aware of all the things I do wrong. The way I see it, the times I do something stellar should greatly outnumber the things I screw up super badly if we’re going to deem the occasion brunchworthy. French toast and strawberries shouldn’t be spared for the mediocre.
But even more so, I don’t want to celebrate “me” for doing something that I just do. I breathe. I sleep. I eat. I mother. That’s what mothers do. That’s what love does. We’ve been entrusted with these little sculptable balls of clay that we paste together, paint and glitter up with love.
And for that, I don’t want to be celebrated.
I want to be reinforced and I want to be encouraged. I want a card that says, “Nice try.” And “Keep practicing.” And “Try harder.” And “You’ll do better next time.”
That’s what I’d like. That and a prayer that some of those goodies I’ve bedazzled my kids with will stick somehow.
Those are the gems I can’t wait for.
You may have noticed it’s been quiet around here lately.
It’s going to continue to be that way, at least a little while longer, and I’m going to try to explain why.
The hardest question I faced over the last few weeks of interviews, book promotions and press was, “What’s next for you?” I’d be talking a million miles a minute, gesturing and smiling, words and answers flowing freely to question after question, and then the “what’s next” question would inevitably come.
Quickly, I’d get very quiet.
Because I don’t have a specific plan of my own for this space, future books or my “career” as a blogger and truth be told, it feels glorious. And a little scary.
I do know a few things:
I’m exhausted of thinking about myself. I don’t know where I got the idea that I was important enough that I needed to write about myself daily. I don’t need to. I don’t want to. It’s distractingly noisy for both you and I.
Our family is changing. I couldn’t love these three people more. I have grown to treasure them in ways I regretfully didn’t before, and so things have looked and sounded different around here than they did three years ago. You’ve noticed–we’ve changed. And we’re still changing and growing. I want to soak up every second of this stage of our family before we move onto the next beautiful, miraculous stage that is coming. And I need to figure out how much, if any, of this new stage I want to share publicly.
I will keep writing. It’s been my constant love, all along, as far back as I can remember. Even while I’m quiet here, I’ll still be writing at She Reads Truth, for as long as they’ll let me. And though I don’t know when or what it will look like exactly, in time, I’ll write here again as well. Food is not quite the passion it’s been for me, and so I need to get that passion back or make a change, but I’ll always be writing.
I will keep looking for and seizing opportunities to serve. I believe that during these in-between times of life, we can be a waiter or a server. I choose the latter. In addition to serving in the usual ways we do in our lives, Chris and I will be going to Guatemala this August with Food for the Hungry. I’ll be sharing our trip and the work this great organization does through writing about it here. I hope you’ll want to be a part of it too. This is the stuff, people.
Last, and most importantly, I need to rest in Him. I’ve got to make some room for the Lord to continue do His thing with me and our family. I’ve had so many plans, goals, things on my plate, that I’ve left little room for the Lord to work.
But I can tell you, He already has.
I can’t help but think that maybe all that has happened here was meant for me to live through and to change me. I am so thankful for all of you, for this space and for these experiences, good and bad, because through it all, He’s been moving me to be a better me. I am so, so grateful.
And yet, I know I need to step back, at least for a little bit longer. I’ve got to shift my focus.
I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve shared with us so far. I hope to see you again soon.