But Seriously, Who Does That?!

Men! Ugh!! Who can understand them?! I mean, who does that?!

Have you said (or thought) one or more of those phrases in the last 48 hours? Was it in reference to your husband? Go on, admit it. If it helps, I’m over here raising my hand. Now, think about the same husband. How many good comments have you said about him in the last 48 hours?

Often times I find myself sharing more of the annoying moments of marriage with people than the good moments. And, when I share them, I dwell more on them. And, that’s completely dumb because those moments make up a negligible amount of our time together. It also paints a much bleaker picture of marriage in general and encourages others to complain about their husbands. Because who doesn’t love a good husband-razzing session?

But, I’m calling crap on this now. Not to say there aren’t genuinely appropriate moments for lamenting or advice-seeking. That’s why God made girl friends. But, we are prone to misuse these moments, sliding right past the zone of appropriateness into gossip and complaining. Let’s do something about this, friends! Let’s challenge ourselves to praise (I said praise, NOT WORSHIP) our husbands. Let’s focus on the amazing things instead of the dirty socks on the floor. Cough, cough. I didn’t say this would necessarily be easy.

Here, I’ll go first:

599956_10100542609029078_567909000_nBecause of my faith, I believe that marriage is a picture of God and the church. That, in essence, it is to mirror that relationship. Recently, during a meeting with some wonderful women, we began discussing how God lavishes his love and gifts on us (feel free to read Ephesians 1 for more details). And, as we were discussing how he gives us his best gifts, how he almost obnoxiously lavishes us with them, I immediately thought, “This is what my husband does!!”

Every holiday, I know that I will get a present that is hand-picked for me, and it will be the best on the market. Because that’s what my husband gives to me. He spends an enormous amount of time making important financial decisions (almost annoyingly so, sometimes), but he picks out the best. He gives the best for me. I don’t even have to worry about there being something better or more perfect out there. He already gave it to me.

This is just one small snippet of how amazing he truly is. But let’s just embarrass him with one thing at a time.

How is your husband amazing? Feel free to be as cheesy as you’d like, just keep it G-rated, because I only have so much space in a trashcan to lose my lunch.

Share the Rainbow

Typically, I shy away from giving my opinion on a variety of political and social issues. For one, I find that those who are more than eager to offer their opinions are doing so in such away that divides and hurts people (and I am looking at both sides of the aisle here). Second, I have more than enough to deal with in my own life before I can start picking apart the actions of others (for instance, today I could have fed an entire family in need on what I spent at Starbucks…hello, selfishness).

But, then there is this hashtag, #shoutyourabortion. And, it’s a thing. Like a real, trending thing. And, my heart has shattered and landed in my gut. And, I’ve realized that I just can’t be silent. You see, there was a time I didn’t think I could have children. Which was a relief, because I definitely didn’t want them. In fact, I faked being excited about having a kid up until the point I was pushing my daughter out.

nature-person-hands-girlMy first pregnancy wasn’t planned. Actually, many would label the pregnancy as an “irresponsible choice.” You know what is also an irresponsible choice? Calling it that (also, my Starbucks visit…see above). The only time I contemplated abortion was when I thought, “man, I wish there was a way I didn’t know this was a baby.” But, I did. From the moment I saw those 2 lines, I knew there was a baby. Not a group of cells. A baby. A child. A person. A life.

And, I chose to walk through an incredibly difficult period filled with judgment. Just a few of the not-so-quiet whispers behind my back (or sometimes straight to my face) I heard were as follows:

  1. “Wow! She should have been more careful.”
  2. “Her poor parents. They must be so ashamed.”
  3. “I bet she was trying to baby-trap him.” (only got this one from people who didn’t understand my independent streak)
  4. “A baby is the last thing she needs.”
  5. “That was irresponsible.”
  6. “That’s what you get for whoring around.”
  7. “Slut.”
  8. “Wow! That baby does NOT look like a preemie.” (in response to our daughter being born 6 months after we were married)

As you may have already guessed, most of these comments (for which I have come up with VERY, VERY harsh responses in my head) came from people who were active in the church. The very people who are supposed to be a beacon of God’s grace!! And, with every plunge of sworded-tongue, I was so glad that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there was a baby. A child. A person. A life. Because if I hadn’t been sure, I might have been shamed into making a much different decision.

While my heart cries for every child we lose to abortion (I would, quite literally, take them all in if I were allowed…or if it were humanly feasible), I am absolutely disgusted by the way we, as Christians, treat women who are walking in this period of confusion and guilt. We have to change the way we see these pregnancies if there is ANY way to end abortion. We cannot shame away abortion (you would think The Scarlett Letter would have taught us this by now). But, we have been given two extremely powerful weapons in this fight: hope and grace. Hope and grace. Hope and grace. Hope and grace. Say that out loud as many times as it takes to sink in.

My daughter (the one I never thought I wanted) constantly makes me see things in a way I never have before. Recently, she has insisted that she is the My Little Pony character Rainbow Dash (she even has the glitter costume to prove it). And, I will admit, at first I was NOT on board with this obsession. My Little Pony!! Glitter Rainbows!! But, as she prances around, shouting “I LOVE RAINBOWS!!! Rainbows make me happy,” I am reminded that I, too, love rainbows. They symbolize the hope and grace I have in Christ. The hope and grace I am supposed to share with other. There is a promise and freedom in rainbows.

Today, as I was trying to figure out how to piece together all the feelings, I came across a note I wrote to my daughter about her name:

Dearest Lillian,

One day you will hear a famous quote by a man named William Shakespeare: “What’s in a name?” Your daddy and I took very special care in picking out yours. While you might not share our last name forever, you will carry around “Lillian Grace” your entire life. And, we hope you do it with pride.

Lillian means in Hebrew “My God is a vow.” You will learn the overwhelming truth in this statement over the hopefully many years you are here on earth. For God’s promises will not fail you, even where you fall short. And, trust me, you will fall short. But, don’t worry, you are not alone: every single human has failed at some point or another. And, it is when you do that you will understand the meaning of the word (and your middle name) Grace.

However, the meaning of the name Lillian is not the only reason that you have your first name. One of Mommy’s favorite verses is Luke 12:27. It says to “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” As you will soon learn, the overall context of this verse is telling us to worry about nothing; God has it under control. Mommy and Daddy will spend our lifetimes trying to teach you this, and you will spend yours learning to comprehend the magnanimity of this lesson.

Mommy and Daddy can’t wait to meet you, and we can’t wait to watch you grow up! We know that you are a wonderful blessing, and will teach us so much more than we can ever hope to teach you.

Love Always,

Mommy

So, there you go, friends. God’s promises will not fail us. His hope and grace will not fail us. Embrace this. And, share it. #sharetherainbow

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*I do feel it particularly important to add that we were also afforded grace by many individuals. And it was refreshing and greatly appreciated.

I’ll Hold You Up, Friend

This past Sunday, I spent 2 hours getting ready. I dressed myself and two children (well, three if you count the heart-change Lillian had about her outfit) and packed three bags. You read that correctly. Three!! One for Lillian. One for Lucas. And the backup-diaper-bag I call a “purse.” I made lists. I checked stuff off. I made last minute dashes into the house for things forgotten. Mr. Moore and I then wrestled the children into their carseats. And, we looked at each other and sighed. We were on our way.

On the way to church, I reflected on all the happenings of the week. How I wish the kids would sleep through the night. How I’d gone to Starbucks a few too many times. How exactly I was supposed to process all the horrendous stuff going on in the news. How I this. How I that. Never once did I think how God was about to rock my perspective.

Halfway through the praise and worship portion of the service entered a man in a wheelchair. An elder wheeled the man to a spot up against a wall in the aisle, where they were met by a man in a striped shirt. The elder and the man in the striped shirt lifted their disabled brother out of the chair and into a pew.

After a brief exchange between the man in the striped shirt and the disabled man, I saw an act simultaneously so small, yet so great. The man in the striped shirt offered the disabled man his arm, and he lifted him up. And he held him there until the very last bar of the last song. And, there they stood, praising God in unison.

As I tried to discreetly remove the tears from my eyes, I started reflecting on this beautiful thing that had just taken place. And, I thought of how many times I’ve seen those around me struggling through this or that. And I’ve been too busy with checking off lists and packing bags. Or I’m too exhausted from sleepless nights. And, I have ALL THE GOSSIP in the news to formulate opinions on. I’ve just been too [me-centered] to offer an arm.

And, in these few minutes at church, I realized just how wrong I’ve been. And, really how wrong we’ve been as Christians. Friend, while I realize we are supposed to take care of our families and ourselves, we have totally missed the mark on taking care of each other. Or, at least I have. But, I am not called to be first. Or second (sorry, I Am Second, campaign). Or third. I am called to be last. I am called to hold others up.

starting from $1.99So, take my arm, my hurting friend, when you can’t stand on your own. I will hold you up. I can’t fix it, but I know the One who can. I will stand with you where you are. I will cry with you. I will pray for you. And, I know there will be a point in life where I need it. And, I hope you offer the same.

Purpose For Every Season

At some point during my childhood, I formulated a game plan for my life. I would go to college, graduate with honors, go directly to law school, graduate and get married that fall (September 25, 2010, to be exact). Then, and only then, I could start on accomplishing the real purpose for my life.

Amazingly enough, I finished this checklist (maybe not on time, but fairly close). And, you know what? Afterwards, I found new excuses why I wasn’t living out my purpose. I worked too much. I had an infant. I had TWO kids. And, even this week, I’ve caught myself thinking (multiple times) that, once the kids are in school, I can go back to focusing on pursuing my goals and fulfilling my purpose.

Aside from the obvious humor (or horror) of me thinking I had to be married in order to start living purposefully, there are two things that make me hugely sad about my line of thinking. First, if I keep going like this, I could be 85 before I’m ready to start living out my “purpose.” Second, I have effectively marginalized each season of my life. Instead of continuing down this path, I want to take a few steps back, look at the bigger picture, and give myself the advice that I wish I’d had as a teen:

Reminisce (even miss), but don’t dwell on, the past. Know your purpose. Live the present to its fullest. Think and prepare for the future. 

Reminisce (even miss), but don’t dwell on, the past. One of the most annoying pieces of advice that I have repeatedly received since becoming a mother (which always seems to come when I am lamenting about lack of sleep, my toddler melting down in public, or my house generally looking like FEMA should be sent in to clean up) is this: “Just remember, you’re going to miss this.” And, I get why people say it. I may have even repeated it to another. But, it’s generally a terrible saying. It makes me feel guilty for missing another past–a past that held more sleep and less unidentifiable food (hopefully) stains, more abs and less grey hair, more free time and less mess. And, in a time where I already feel guilty about 98.5% of the time, it’s just not helpful.

So, I would like to officially change that not-so-helpful phrase to the following: “This stage in life is difficult. The last stage in life had its own challenges. And, the future is likely to have its own challenges, too. But, just like you miss sleep, alone time, and the use of your given name, you will also miss the chubby cheeks, the funny pronunciations, the snuggles and the rush of pride your toddler emits when she pees near (but not necessarily in) the potty. It’s okay to miss the past. But, make sure it isn’t impeding your ability to build sweet memories that can help you get through the challenges of your next season of life.”

I know, I know. It’s a mouthful, but I really do think it gets more to the point. If we can’t reminisce on the past, then what real purpose was there of having it?

Know your purpose. First, I would like to quickly debunk some recent theories that I’ve heard about my calling and purpose recently. My greatest calling is not raising my children. It’s just not. It is a great calling (an amazing one, in fact), and I do not take it lightly! Just looking at the surface of this statement immediately calls into question the first 27 years of my life. My purpose is not to be a good wife. It’s just not. Again, it is such an important, important part of my life, and I do not take the commitment lightly. But, again, it is not the sole reason I am here.

And after exhaustive thought, the only purpose for my life that I can come up with is this:

  1. To love God with all my heart, soul and mind; and,
  2. To love others.

It is the only overarching purpose that was applicable when I was 2, 10, 18, 22, is still applicable now, and will be applicable in every season after this. This is the only purpose that I can put a career on hold and still accomplish. And, if I can accomplish this purpose, then everything else should fall into place.

Live the present to its fullest. Please note that I said “Live the present to its fullest,” and not “Live for the present.” I think that we have a tendency to get these confused. I am resolving to take each season of life (whichever season it currently may be) as extremely important. And, I plan to act accordingly! No more waiting for “x, y, or z” to happen!

Think and prepare for the future. I don’t think that I was incorrect in having goals and a plan for my life when I was a child. And, believe it or not, some of the goals I had then, I still have now, even though I’ve nixed a few (I’m probably NOT going to be the First Lady or an ambassador to China). And, I have added plenty new goals (like retirement). In fact, I think it is extremely important and necessary to sit down and draw out a plan for the future. Just as long as the checklist doesn’t become everything.

So, now that I’ve psyched myself up, I have some living to do!

How are you accomplishing your goals and living out your purpose during this season?