sometimes real is this.

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What do you do when discouragement seeps in? When melancholy presses down and cuts off joy?

There are times when we have to be kind to ourselves. Does anyone else struggle with this?

 

Instead of being kind to myself…

I worry that I am a terrible Mom and wife and daughter.

I obsess over the pile of laundry, the sink of dishes, the toys covering the floors.

I look at my to-do list angrily, upset that nothing has been crossed off for two days.

And then I worry a big lot of worry that cuts off all access to hope.

And I dream that I am at a potluck and eat ten brownies. When the brownie plate gets passed around everyone asks what happened to all the brownies, and I hide under the table. {True dream}

 

This is real. This is life.

Life is not the beautiful images on Pinterest, sometimes, but not always.

Life is not the Facebook statues of idyllic windows into our lives. These are momentary moments, not the always.

Life is not the always put-together, always on time, always joy.

 

When those moments are not ours, we need to redefine our expectations and be kind to ourselves.

Sometimes I have to go to sleep at 8:30.

Sometimes I have to be good with wearing the same pants two days in a row.

Sometimes I have to apologize and then get over the fact that the field trip money was late.

Sometimes I have to be still and cover up the to-do list for the day.

Sometimes I have to cuddle up and watch a movie with my kids, instead of play with them.

Sometimes I have to dream that I ate ten brownies, or we all know I can actually eat ten brownies in real life.

 

There are two other sometimes, that are actually always.

 

Always I remember…

There are others out there fighting harder battles. Everyone is fighting battles. To them I must extend kindness. Kindness and love always comes first. Even if I am deep in discouragement. Often, that is the very thing I need to lift the darkness. I need to extend my hand in understanding, the joy snakes through the discouragement.

I also have to return to what I know. Jesus has us. We are his. He is not letting us go. He loves us, even when we mess up the day, or week.  We long to be all that we can be. He knows this.

This background is the brick of my growing up home. Steadfast that is our God.

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When sometimes real is this for you… 

how do you practice being kind to yourself? 

Oh How He Loves

how he loves

I am a doubter.

I am a worrier.

I am an obsessor.

 

Sometimes I forget…

under the weight of responsibility

under the drive of dreams

under my inadequacies

 

I asked Ellie and Josiah to take out the trash and recycling for me. When I returned to the kitchen, Josiah stood on the counter cranking the window open.

“What are you doing, why aren’t you helping Ellie?” I asked.

“I am helping Mom, I’m watching her,” he replied.

Helping is not just watching from a distance. Distance is not proximity.

 

The last year of writing has at times been difficult.  Sometimes behind the computer screen, I felt too alone with worries. I felt the heaviness of doubt. I still feel it. I knew that I needed a better balance. The closed doors have been remarkable, one right after another.

Then the answer came, when I least expected it.

I will be going back to school this year. My children’s school. I will be working in a role where I am able to encourage and support, the very thing that I love the most. Peace settled over me, my balance. This gift will anchor me to the world around me and only deepen my writing of that I am certain. I won’t be looking out the window… I will be in proximity.

 

I have a friend that has been in an in-between time like me. She knew about all my closed doors and my doubt. I sent her an email- you are never going to believe this…

Only she did, oh how he loves you Lisa. 

Those words. The words I did not think of.

He loves me. He loved me enough to make me wait, to wait for what was perfect. It leaves me broken to think of it.

 

I share this because it’s how he feels about you. No matter how alone, broken, scared, or defiant you feel. Oh, how he loves you.

I hope you feel this when you read About Proximity.

Oh, how he loves you.

Oh, how he loves when you place yourself in proximity to his people.

 

Has God ever surprised you with his love? Or are you in a desert time? How can we pray? 

Finishing

100_1341When I was asked to do a guest post on About Proximity, I had a couple of ideas of what I might like to write about. But when I tried to write – I couldn’t. I couldn’t think of the words. Then I decided I need to just start. When I “just started” God gave me what I needed to finish. There are other parts of my life where I need to just start.

 

A friend from my youth group was talking to me once about how powerful prayer is. As this conversation progressed, she told me that, especially in a public school, it is important to pray WITH people not just for them. During the school year, there were many times where I felt called to pray with this person or that person. But when I would try to think of the words to pray, I backed out because I couldn’t think of them. I needed to just start and let God take it from there.

 

In my life there is a vicious cycle – the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation. I can never seem to get caught up on sleep. As a result, before bed when I normally read my devotions, I am too tired. I think in a moment like this God would want me to just start. If I were to just start reading and absorbing my devotions, HE would give me the strength and energy I need to do it.

 

When I feel called by God to do something out of my comfort zone like praying with someone at school, reaching out to people I don’t know, or doing my devotions when I really don’t feel like it, I usually think too much about it; I end up talking myself out of it with excuses.

 

I sin and fall short of the glory of God – I don’t always do what He calls me to do because it sometimes is not what I want to do.

 

But I know deep down in my heart that if I just start HE will always give me what I need to finish.

ellie1Ellie Baumann is a junior in high school and attends Zeeland West. She enjoys knitting, playing piano, babysitting, rollerblading with her sisters, and most of all, spending time with her family. She has a pretty big family… “I don’t know what I would do without them!” You can read Ellie’s previous guest post about Guatemala here and Hope here.