Monday, July 28, 2014

Things Take Time

A couple of weeks ago, our pastor at church spoke about "slow miracles." Yes, the miracles that happen in an instant and immediately are wonderful, but most take time.

In my last post I mentioned that I felt like this summer had been a sort of time of reinvention-- but if we're being honest, it's really been something going on within me over the last few years with the most intensity coming this summer. I don't know that I have the vocabulary to really describe it, but I'll give it a shot and try to keep it short.

Basically, I've kind of stopped caring. Not in an "I've given up" kind of way, but in the "I no longer care what other people think" kind of way. I am a recovering approval-addict. Starting around high school, I cared so much what others thought that I didn't really know who I was. I wanted my teachers and friends to think I was smart and witty and good at a lot of things. I wanted strangers to think my makeup and clothes and semi-athletic build meant I had it all together. I did everything every glossy magazine told me to do. It continued into college and into my early career.

But at some point in the last few years (I can't really pinpoint when things changed), I stopped seeking that approval so desperately. The growth I began experiencing in my faith started spilling over into my work and my friendships. I heard God whispering that His was truly the only approval that mattered.

And of course I've still struggled and still fought it. I've still been a sucker for a trendy outfit. I've still picked up books that everyone has raved about but that I really didn't like. I've still made sure I haven't left the house without makeup.

This summer though, I've done those things less and less. I haven't picked up a glossy magazine and couldn't tell you what the fall trends are-- not that they matter since the majority of my maternity clothes are seven years old and I really don't want to buy more with 15 weeks left to go. I've left the house without makeup more than I've left with makeup. I've pursued my own interests, read the things I want to read, and not put much effort into making sure people think I'm particularly smart or witty or that I have it all together (I really don't). It's been a slow transformation and reinvention of sorts.

Over the weekend, I went to the shores of Lake Erie with my family for a day. I walked along the beach and picked up some sea glass. There wasn't a lot to find given that a break wall stops a lot of "stuff" from coming to shore, but the sea glass gave me pause for a bit. Sea glass goes into the water as trash. It is litter. It is broken and ugly and rough around the edges. But the more time it spends in the water, the smoother it becomes. It turns into something beautiful and worth holding onto.

Slow miracles are like that. It takes time for God to smooth out our broken and ugly and rough edges and turn them into something beautiful. But the process is worth it.

I'm not finished yet. Not by a long shot. But I feel like a lot of those broken and ugly and rough edges have been undergoing a gradual smoothing process as I let go of the need for approval from others, as I grow in my relationship with my creator, and as One Ordinary Dad and I wait patiently for God to move on the vision we have for our family.

Fast miracles bring fast relief and freedom. But relief and freedom exist in the slow miracles too.

One Ordinary Mom :-)

PS...If you'd like to listen to the slow miracles sermon, head here: 
Click on the "Wonders Oakley" message from 7/19.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Been a Year?!?

Is anybody out there?

It's been almost a year since my last post. And that's okay. We were busy with kindergarten, and One Ordinary Dad's new job (and then another new job, and then another new job-- we think this one will work for a long while and is a good fit for our family), B starting preschool somewhere, keeping house, having fun, and dreaming big.

Which brings us to today. I started blogging at a time when pretty much none of my family members had joined Facebook. Blogging was a way to show off pictures of my kiddos without sending annoying picture-heavy emails each day. They're all on Facebook now, and let's be real, I just lost steam.

But I'm back. We'll see how long I manage to stick around this time. Our 2014 resolution was inspired by Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years-- we're going to live a better story Okay, we kind of started this before 2014, but we're continuing to live it out (more here). It doesn't mean we're spending oodles of money (though we did visit the mouse a few months ago).

It means saying yes to the things we want for our family-- for the story we're living and creating each moment. And it means saying no to things we know don't benefit our family or have a part in our story (yet-- not all things we say no to are bad).

And it's working. 2014 has been really really good to us. Our biggest yes of all?

Well, we decided to say yes to another baby. We've been waffling on this one for about a year. And then back in the winter it became clear to both One Ordinary Dad and I-- our family just wasn't complete. Miss E will complete our family when she arrives this fall.

So for now I'm getting ready to start my eleventh year teaching, Miss C will be in first grade, B is going back to preschool, One Ordinary Dad is working from home, and we're soaking up the summer sun (and dancing in the summer rains) as much as we can as we live our story.

This summer has also been a reinvention of sorts for me. Maybe that's why I logged back on and wrote this post. More on that later, but let's just say I'm finally, at the age of 32, figuring out who I am and who I want to be, and feel incredibly comfortable in my skin.

Blessings to you all, whoever is still reading,
One Ordinary Mom