Should {Five Minute Friday}

Joining in today with another Five Minute Friday. Today’s word theme is “Should.”

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Should

A master to so many.

A master of mine. For too long.

Too long.

A banner that flew over my mind, shouting out demands, always too late.

If only I had… what if… it would have been better if…

You should have.

You should.

Commands motivated by guilt, targeted at the insecure heart.

Only the weak in spirit fall for it, for the cries that say, “you’d be someone if you… because you should, you know.”

Always with a tinge of “I know better than you” behind its disdainful look.

A good mom should…

A good Christian should…

a good wife should…

or should not…

But should has had control too long. No more will I succumb to what should be or should have been. Instead, I plant myself in now. In what is. in what was. In what can be.

And I own it.

I own the mistakes I’ve made and will make, and trust that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). No mistake is unused by Him.

No longer will the regrets of should overshadow the joy of God’s grace. I allow God’s conviction and not this world’s should-full regrets, because “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

What is, is.

We can move forward, informed and learned by the lessons of life, by our mistakes, by failures. Or we can sit and wallow in what could have been or should have been. Wasted years of precious life.

Instead, I choose to live as honest as I can, raw, authentic, broken… and rejoice! Because “he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me'” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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*I’m trying to figure out where my comment bar has gone… hopefully I’ll get that taken care of soon!*

Embrace {A Five Minute Friday Post}

Wow, it’s been awhile.

I can’t begin to explain the last months or years of my life and the way circumstances can sneak in and rob the energy or desire to write. Some days I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around life enough to put words to it.

It’s been a season of listening. Of learning. Growing. Changing.

Of practice.

Practicing the hope I preach. The faith I stand on.

Practicing belief.

And trust.

Messing up and practicing mercy. And grace. And forgiveness.

And today, suddenly, I can write again. The air has cleared enough, the weight lifted enough, the timing just right… enough.

For words.

So today I once again join the Five Minute Friday crew in taking five minutes to write to a theme, unedited, and sharing it with you. The word is embrace.

Start:

Oh, the things I never knew I’d be asked to hold. The weight I had no idea I’d be expected to carry. And the failures in trying. The times I dropped the load and wept, knowing I couldn’t carry it any longer. The shame and the fear… that I’d said “yes” in my naivety and pride to carry this burden, only to find myself weak and inadequate and not-enough… and that in this revelation, my “yes” would destroy everything. Not just me. But my children. My marriage. My world. Too late.

With a passing pat on the back, cheer of encouragement, the light of hope, I’d pick the weight up again and keep walking. Keep trying. Keep believing.

But sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing.

And sometimes the right thing looks like the wrong thing. And it feels like failure and guilt and condemnation and despair… if we let it. Because that weight has a voice. A loud one. A demanding one. A controlling voice.

It demands our service while playing a tape of lies to motivate us in fear. Lies that say, “A good person would never…” “A good Christian would certainly…” “A good mom wouldn’t dream of…” ” A good wife always…” And with tears streaming, we press on. I pressed on. I wanted to believe that I was better than my fears told me.

But you know what? I’m really not. And that’s the thing.

I want to be the glittery image of all things put-together and right and disciplined and controlled and, well, perfect.

I want to live up to my idea that my worth comes from my achievements and my successes and my heroism.

And this keeps me lugging that weight around, hoping that just around the corner, I’ll arrive. I’ll cross the finish line and get my medal, my medal of value and worth and lovability. I’d be worth love. If I could find that finish line…

But then He stepped in. Shook His head with the most tender compassion. “Did you think I’d leave you like this?” He said, gently coming to my side. I wanted to make Him proud.

“See?” I said. “Look at me! I’m doing it!” My legs shook under the crushing weight.

And He knew.

He gently lifted the weight from my shoulders and set it down. My arms ached. Shoot, my whole body ached. And it felt so good, SO GOOD, to set it down. I almost felt like I could fly. “It’s time,” He said. “Time to put that away. I don’t need you to carry that. I don’t need you to do or be anything.

I just want you.”

And now I could see the burden more clearly, now that it wasn’t bearing down my soul.

Rotten. Filthy. Decaying.

Worthless.

It had been such a strong voice, so confidant and driving.

But it was nothing. And everything. And still only death.

And He took it from me.

Wrapped in His love, I finally felt myself rise. Felt His affection, not for how far I’d traveled or how much I’d done along the way, but for being.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

My ragged, frayed clothes didn’t put Him off. In fact, I sensed they drew Him to me.

This road had been long. Hard. Treacherous. And He’d been with me, step for step. The times I thought I was strong enough to carry… He’d been holding up the back, letting me struggle. And grow. And change.

Because sometimes it’s in the adversity that we discover who we are. Who we’re meant to be. Our true worth. And it will never be because of what we’ve done, who we know, the size of our bank account, or brain, or home.

This is what I’m learning to embrace. Not to hide my mess and call it clean. Or to pretend and call it real. To try to bandage and cover my cracks and crevices and craters of heart, soul, and mind… but instead, to leave them exposed.

Because THESE are where my need lies. And it’s only in my need that I meet my endless lovability and grand worth.

In Him.

 

Introducing my newest “baby” – According to Corban!

That’s right!

My newest “baby” has entered the world!

I actually wrote this sweet story about six or seven years ago when I was a new mama. I spent hours learning to both live as a human and nurture, feed, love, and entertain toddlers. This meant trying to get laundry done, dishes cleaned, showers taken, food eaten… all the while having someone calling, pulling, yanking… or, if things were suddenly quiet, drawing, cutting, smearing…

And if you’re a parent or teacher or childcare worker, you know what all of those … mean.

Trouble.

Well, for the caregiver. The kid is usually having a great time! Thus, According to Corban was dreamed up. While scrubbing the floors, my son Corban was sure I was begging to be a horse on his adventure. Pillows were bridges needed to cross carpets of lava. A bath was an ocean full of his favorite wildlife. Our backyard was his personal jungle, complete with wild animals, the perfect hiding places, and lots of dirt. And worms.

AND, a little sister tagging along in his shadow.

It charmed my heart (when I could get over my desire to actually keep something clean and could just play with my kids). One night, around 1am, this story hit me and I couldn’t sleep until I got it all down. Twenty-some-odd revisions later, my firstborn (though not first-published) picture book has entered the world. I hope it’s as much fun for parents as for children. The current 5-star review on Amazon seems to say my goal is a good one!

Pay special attention to the mama in the background and the way Corban’s imagination grows and shifts to interact with her (without ever leaving his imagination!)

You can watch the book trailer here:

According to Corban is available on Kindle, paperback, and hardback!

Feel free to share the love!