Man, it’s been so long…
As I continue moving forward after all that happened over 3 years ago, I’m finding so much joy in my present circumstances. Yes, even in the midst of the crazy uncertainties all around us, I see how God is moving and beautifully orchestrating certain areas of my life today.
Initially my thoughts and plans for the blog were to just write about the past; how it all started and how my family and I endured the really difficult times of that season. I would wait on the Lord to show me what to write about; thinking I would only talk about the intensity of that situation and God’s hand moving in my life back then. Up to this point I would wait on a stirring or a recollection of something that happened during that time. Then, and only then, would I sit and start writing.
Although He has shown Himself strong and faithful throughout all that started almost 5 years, He still continues work in my life now. I’m starting to realize that it’s time to share that as well — that to not share these current experiences would be like putting a bowl over the bright lampstand of His present faithfulness. I’m not sure why I fought this so much. Maybe it was a fear that I was not being chronological or that I was somehow not staying true to the purpose of what I intended to blog in the first place. I now see that just as you cannot choose which piece of a puzzle you’d like to set in place first, so it is with the things God desires for me to write.
So here I am, 3:40 am on this 18th day of November, wide awake, feeling this nudge to push through and just start writing again. I’m putting my trust in God that whatever He desires for me to talk about; good or bad, then or now, will come alive through this blog. I’m laying down the perfectionist in me (which really only exists in my writing) and I’m pushing back against it. I realize this “get it right, get it perfect” mentality has slowed me down, even to the point of freezing me up completely. As much as I hoped each entry would be this perfectly eloquent and visual story, I just want to let go now. I need to. I need to push through this place of fear of failure, of not being as consistent as I hoped, of not having this ideal weekly blog post that others way more experienced than me may have. Most importantly I need to push through and ignore the whispers of Satan telling me to let this all go; that no one cares, that there’s no need to share what happened then or what’s happening now. All of those lies of the devil were getting to me, but I’m not falling for it anymore. So here it goes.. just writing, free flowing in this particular entry; not even sure which direction this is going.
I’ll start by saying there is so much joy in my heart that I can’t contain it. At times I feel myself smiling from ear to ear, or laughing so hard it hurts, or just being goofy with my kids in ways they’ve probably never seen before. I find myself just thanking God for all that He’s doing, thanking Him that I feel so alive in ways I’ve never known, that I’ve awakened from some sort of slumber.
I’m learning to soak in and enjoy the silly times with my littles, as well as cherish the emotional, physical, and spiritual growth I see in the big ones. I’m learning to not make a big deal of the little things like spills or messes, and even embracing my 2 year old’s masterpieces on the walls — realizing a coat or two of paint can eventually cover it anyway. I also find that I’m retraining myself to parent my children like how God parents me — with patience (lots of it), grace, mercy, small nudges to do right like how the Holy Spirit deals with me (versus long lectures that were the norm.)
Not only am I enjoying being a mom and all its undertakings, I’m enjoying my friendships more as well. Whether just long-time close friends, my church family, school or sports associated relationships, I’m seeing the need for them even more and appreciating the support we all give each other in our deepest times of need. Especially now as the world seems to tell us to isolate, I see so clearly the need to commune.
I find myself laughing a lot more and loving it. For lots of years, laughter, joy and fun had not been a part of my life. During the hardest of times, I was told that I idolized fun. My pursuit was to be about being perfect; having all my ducks in a row, having an immaculate home, and making sure everything was just right: from kids, to laundry, to the financial organization, etc. I always looked at fun as part of a balanced equation. Even more than that, I just knew it was a part of my personality. Yet at that time it seemed to be drilled in me that something was evil about it. Looking back I see how the devil had tried to rob me of my joy, robbing me of the way that God made me, ME.
Thankfully, after so many years of the slow fade of who God made me to be, I’m back, snapped out of it, and a new version of me. I see myself blossoming in lots of ways and grateful for it. In my office there’s a scripture verse familiar to any woman in pursuit of God. It’s the well-known 31st Proverb about the ideal godly woman. The artwork on my wall had this part of the scripture: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and SHE LAUGHS WITHOUT FEAR OF THE FUTURE. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:25-27
Up until this point, I never understood the laughing part of it and in some ways found it out of place. Now, I see that part of the verse in a whole different way. I’m sure there’s a Greek or Hebrew translation, or an even deeper definition to the word “laugh” that I can study or intellectualize, but I’m taking it at face value as I experience it today. Whether laughing at silliness, laughing at my quirks or shortcomings, or laughing through tears of sadness, I do see the good medicine laughter truly is. The joy that God tells us to have, to embrace and to choose daily, IS MY STRENGTH — vital to fight off all of Satan’s schemes to make me fear or be discouraged.
I know this sounds pretty cheesy to say but I’m going to say it anyway. I’ve been in a cocoon for years, and my butterfly wings are finally ready to fly and be on display for the world to see. Not for vanity reasons but for God-glorifying reasons. To show that there is so much beauty out of ashes, that God is not done with me yet, that there’s so much of a story left to tell. I’m excited again, I’m glad to be writing again, and I am, with God-trusting laughter, looking forward to times ahead.
Dear Lord, thank You for how You’re transforming me and making me new all over again. It feels so good to have a joy, to laugh, to have a smile on my face, to hear my friends say, “Eileen, you’re back!” Lord, You simply amaze me. Nothing but praise in this one. I just love You and thank You for being You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.