They Change, But So Do We

woman reflectingAll the clichés are true: Your life changes when you have kids…They grow so fast…Enjoy the time you have with them while they’re little.

We are so focused on how our children develop almost growing inches overnight and starting preschool in the blink of an eye. Little people are always changing and we are watching as if the first flower of spring is stretching open it’s beautiful petals. The tendency is to get sucked in by the joy, chaos, and busyness of serving the perpetual needs of our children to the point where we don’t even notice how we ourselves have changed.

Physical changes are probably the most obvious and nearest our consciousness every day. If you own a mirror, I’m sure you notice your fine wrinkles, grey hair, or maybe a little extra weight. But oh how we’ve changed on the inside!

My entire story before kids seems like a distant past life. Now with the wisdom of having walked the twisted roads that spark self-growth, I can see all that I’ve gained in my new identity. Compared to what it once was, my heart is soft and full. I have learned to love deeper than I ever fathomed and to truly give much more than I receive.

2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

I never knew what real service meant before. The kind that requires the emptying of self, putting others first even before my most basic needs (Nope, can’t get that bathroom privacy). Blasting at full force, the constant “doing” for my family has dominated me to the point where if it stops, I feel extremely anxious and selfish. Like a fish out of water. How strange!

Motivated to provide for my family, I have developed new abilities and desires previously untapped. I have actually started cooking. Real food. It’s crazy! I wake up every morning to exercise and shower before my boys wake up. And I so miss the beautiful snow of a northeast winter. I’m at peace with all my changes and would not trade this simple-soul life, but what else is lurking behind that blinding question: “Who am I?”

My fear for us, dear friend, is that we shed ourselves so completely in the name of caring for family and daily survival that one day we wake up and have no idea what our passions are or what we want to do with our time now that the kids are in school. I’ve seen this happen to many women. Lost. Confused. Hopeful but scared.

What’s the point to all of this? Awareness. Just as you notice, appreciate, and cultivate your children’s’ changes, please be mindful of your own. Both the deeply positive and the grieving or troubling. Acknowledge and nurture yourself, dear friend. Take time to reflect, journal, and illustrate the core components of your interior and public life.

You matter. There is no one who can be who you are and do exactly what your uniqueness offers the world. Don’t lose sight of that. Bloom, thrive, and confidently rock your changes! How have you changed?


I Care About You, Not Your House

Stacy and NicoleDear Friend,

When I come visit you for a playdate, you apologize for your house looking messy or dirty. You convey regret, almost embarrassment because you did not dress up or put on makeup…for me. Why do you worry about how I see you? Who has wounded you with judgment against you and your home life?

Let me tell you the truth about what I really see. First, I see a kind friend who has generously welcomed me into the interior of her precious family life. The character, the warm feel of unique memories, is so cool to see. Now I’ll be honest. Sometimes taking in your lovely home and all that you have triggers self-judgment and guilt that I have not achieved more for my family. But it’s just a fleeting thought that is quickly overcome by my deep appreciation for your desire to spend time with me and my boys (who will likely leave their mark in your house. Sorry!).

Valuing our chance to connect and grow in friendship, I want to know about you – what’s on the inside. How are you doing, really? What’s your story? Dear friend, please know that I think you are beautiful just as you are. No makeup or trendy clothes. I could not care less about your eye liner or wardrobe. So what if your house is crammed with enough toys to fill a Chucky Cheese? Who cares if you’re in sweat pants and mismatched socks and your kids are jumping on a couch with holes in the fabric? I come because of you, not the material aesthetics and worldly charms.

Dear friend, please know that I see you. I value everything you graciously share with me and delight in God’s gift of your presence. I admire everything you are and revel in the ways your talents and spirit bless me. My truth is so far from what the world loves: money, appearance, working constantly to feel like you matter. Instead, my truth is a love that will always reach out, scoop you up, and let you know that you’re not alone. I see you my beautiful friend. Do you see me?

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Stacy and Sarah

Please Grow Quickly but Stay Small

boy in dad shoesI couldn’t see how far I was from the present until a friend illuminated my perspective. Having twin toddler boys often leaves me exhausted and at times drives me mad and projecting into the future when they are older. I hover in my pleasant imaginary space where they can feed themselves without a total mess, use the potty, and dress themselves without tantrums. Oh sweet relief! In times of stress and frustration this looks like a great blessing to look forward to. But what am I losing in exchange for it?

There’s nothing like little feet running to hug you saying, “Mommy! I love you Mommy!” I am the first and last person they clamor to see each day, want to lay with on the couch, and play “Mommy tickle you.” One day my boys will be too big and cool to spontaneously kiss and hug me, to cuddle with me, to desperately want me to hold and comfort them. Am I ready to let this go? Do I really see that what I have with them right now is incredibly precious and evolving so quickly?

Reflecting deeper, I can imagine how I will feel when my little baby loves are mature and experiencing the pain and evil that pervades this world. SMACK! It hits me in the gut. Their innocence and unbridled joy will fade. But right now, this moment, is a rare opportunity to live fully into the connection I have with them and the unique purpose of my role through their eyes. Today I see their perfection despite my challenges.

James 4:13-14: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

I might be eager to put them to bed each night, but how I love their sweet sounds, smiles, smell, and cute little bodies. Now I see how important it is for me to revel in the present. To ingrain poignant memories that will fill my heart through the struggle, growth, and constant change of a human life.

Dear friend, do you see the beauty and value of who you are and where you are today? Take a deep breath. Hug your little one tight in your arms. Smile. The view from here is awesome.