Hello, friends! I hope that this post finds you well, wrapped up warm & happy in the magic of the Christmas season.
This is the first year that Roman really “gets it.” That makes the wonder of the season all the brighter for me. Gratefully, consumerism hasn’t taken hold of him. He understands that he will be receiving Christmas presents, but that is not the focus of his attention. Mostly, he is thrilled by the Christmas decorations on the homes that we pass, catching glimpses of Santa, carols on the radio, and hearing stories of how magic reindeer can fly.
He’s also taken the sweetest interest in the story of baby Jesus (or “baby Jeeza” as he calls him), and the little family gathered there in the manger. I am so grateful that our church family has taken such care to teach the children of our congregation all about that story and the true meaning of Christmas.
Last week, we had a “Living Nativity” at church. Marina was a lamb and Roman was one of the Three Kings. It was a lot of fun and a memory that I will cherish deep in my heart forever. I couldn’t beliebe how well Marina “performed.” Roman did quite well too, all up until he had to give a present to the baby Jesus. It seemed that Mr. Roman was quite attached to that present himself and things got a little hairy after that. Hello, three-years-old, you’re so sweet & sour.
After the performance, we enjoyed fresh bakes goodies in the fellowship hall, surrounded by friends. It doesn’t get much better. ♥
There have been moments recently where the beauty of life brings me to my knees. Life teaches me — over and over again — that the human heart has a capacity for healing far greater than I could ever imagine.
I’ve seen people rise up from the ashes of extraordinarily tragic circumstances, grow wings, and fly once again. I’ve seen people look in the actual face of horror and loss, trudge through it, and somehow come out on the other side to live in light and grace once again.
We’ve all heard the trite phrase, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” But what I know now is that it’s not simply a pleasant motto to help push us through difficult times. It’s an undeniable truth. An impenetrable coat of armor that can shield us during even life’s most trying obstacles.
Adversity is painful. The trials of life can cut us so deeply that there will be days, weeks, months, and even years when we will be certain that we can not go on. You will ask, “How can a body withstand this?” But you will go on.
One day, you will rise. You will laugh again. You will love again. You will swim in the sea and the summer sun will warm your skin. You will sit beneath the stark night sky and watch the stars sparkle into infinity. You will feel wind on your face and the simple, undeniable magic of raindrops falling on pavement will make your heart beat a little faster.
After pain, when the healing begins, life is changed. Every color is a bit brighter; every taste a bit sweeter; every sound a bit more lovely; and every touch a bit softer. Don’t ever doubt that you will get through whatever it is that is testing you. You will.
A few months ago, I returned to therapy after nearly ten years away. I’m seeing the therapist who changed my life all of those years ago. I’d been trying to handle “it all” on my own for a very long time. Then one day I broke down and said, enough. A weight was lifted from me then.
That’s the beauty of surrender, isn’t it?
You say– I can’t do this on my own. I need help.
And that’s okay.
Therapy was hard in the beginning. I had to twist out pieces of my life and hold them up into the light. It’s a painful process. It’s been slow going, but it’s going.
I’ve been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast series, Magic Lessons, and in the season finale, she interviewed Brené Brown. In the interview, Brené talked about being a creative and sharing. She said that when she’s going through something painful, she doesn’t write about it. She doesn’t write about it until after she has healed. She said that sharing it before she is healed would be a disservice to herself and to her readers. The wounds are still too raw as we move through the processes of coping and eventually healing.
That’s where I’m at. I haven’t yet begun to heal. I’m still in survival mode.
I’m not sure if I agree with Brené, though. I think that there is an importance in sharing as we move through pain. There is beauty and value in rawness. But I do agree that we must be ready. It’s so important that we don’t throw ourselves into sharing too soon.
During therapy yesterday, we spent a lot of time talking about guilt, self-forgiveness, and self-grace. After a lot of digging, we came around to an enormous crux, an earth-shattering (for me) revelation about how I’ve been treating myself and how it’s been damaging me.
It was as though we had been digging and digging these months. Then suddenly—CLUNK—the metal of my shovel hammered hard into the roof of a buried chest. We pulled it out into the light.
As I was leaving her office, I said–I really need to focus now. I need to put everything else aside and focus on forgiving myself, on giving myself grace.
She told me to speak to myself the way that I would speak to my children–with unconditional love & forgiveness. It’s such a hard thing to do, but it’s time for me to do it.
An answered prayer.
At times, I’ve witnessed my prayers answered with such specificity that it’s startling. Back in August, I returned to the church where I attended Sunday school as a girl. Every time I go into that building, my heart swells. I always want to be there more often, do more, give more. I volunteered to redesign our church website and to manage our Facebook page. In doing these things, I thought how much I’d love to do more, perhaps even to get a job within our church. But it’s a small church and as far as I knew, there was no staff. I continued volunteering and cherished my time at services & fellowship.
Last week, after a particularly stressful day at home, I told M. that I’m going to get a part-time job. Some days, being a stay-at-home-mom sucks the life out of me. I haven’t spent a single day away from my children in the last three years. Such closeness brings with it incredible joy, but — let’s be real — a lot of suffering, too.
I’ve been feeling this itch to have some space of my own and a part-time job would be such a blessing. Time away from home, away from the babies, away from the never ending to-do list of domesticity. Even a “commute” seems like a novel thing to me. Time in the car alone? Without a toddler whining and an infant screaming? What a treat!
One night last week, I woke up to use the bathroom. I stumbled across the living room with Marina in one arm and my phone flashlight in the other. I looked down to check the time and saw that I had a message from our pastor. She said that our church secretary is moving away and that the position needed to be filled. As she was writing up the job description, a light bulb went on, and she thought of me. Within a couple of days, we had worked out the details and the rest is history.
Ask and it shall be given.
Seek and you shall find.
Knock and the door shall be opened.
// Matthew 7:7
Forgive me if this post is a bit scattered, friends. I’ve just been wanting to check in. For so long, my blog has been almost entirely about the babies & motherhood. I’m not sure where I’m headed in this space next, but I do know that I’m doing a lot of self/heart work during this season of my life. Sharing bits of the process through writing always feels right in my soul.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a sponsored post and then I’ll check in to share some of our holiday celebrations soon. I’m sending you lots of love & hopes that your holiday celebrations are full of every light, peace, and joy.