Counting My Blessings

I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts in my head lately. I’ve even occasionally sat down to start writing some of them, but those are all half finished. Our fall has been incredibly full, and on the days when we are home, it seems like there is always so much to do. Not the least of which is chase after the Three Musketeers, who never stop moving and never leave a room untouched by their loving gentle hands. I love these three so much, and they make my days so full. I want to remember these days when they are all grown and gone, and I’ll think to myself, what were those years really like? So I keep telling myself that I need to sit down (ha!) and record some of what’s been happening lately, so I don’t forget. And I am trying to make the time to do that.

There are seasons of my life when I don’t notice a lot of growth. Sure, I might be relearning  some good lessons, but it’s not a season of challenges that force me to become a better version of myself. This fall has not been one of those seasons. :)

There have been multiple things that have been stretching me lately. We tried out a new Bible Study this fall, and while I loved the study, the timing and location didn’t work out for us. Halfway through October I called it quits. For several years of my life (mostly teens) I would join things, not like the way they were going, and decide to quit. And then I realized that quitting was maybe not the most mature way to handle myself, and so in my twenties I really pushed myself to live up to my commitments, no matter how stressed or burnt out that made me. Now, in my thirties, I’m trying to find some balance. I need to honor my commitments, but I also need to be realistic when something is not working. And as long as it is not a rash, emotional decision, then it’s okay to say “this is not working for me, I need to step out.” I’m also learning to make A LOT fewer commitments. I have the type of personality where I am terrible about signing myself up for way more than I can actually handle in a sane way. So I am really trying to think, pray and talk to Lover before I jump into the next thing with no forethought.

 

I also started working on a couple of new sources of income this fall. I’m renting out our house on AirBnB, and I am reselling things on eBay. I’ve prayed for a couple of years that God would give me an opportunity to make a little money on the side without impacting my time at home with the kids. I love doing photography, but the scheduling and editing photos, etc doesn’t really work for me in this season of life. I still do shoots for friends, but that’s about it. What I love about eBay is that when I have the time I shop for things I can resell (and I can shop with the kids!) and then list them on eBay, and when we are having a busy week or a sick week or whatever, I leave it all alone and pick it up when I have time. You’d be amazed at the things people will pay good money for! And AirBnb, while it is a lot more work, and schedule dependent, has been great because while we are staying in a hotel my only responsibility is spending time with the kids. It’s been great for our family time.

God has also been teaching me so much lately. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s been an interesting mix of learning to be courageous while also learning more vulnerability. I have such a tendency to run from things that challenge me, and also to run from people or situations that require vulnerability. Basically my default is running. Not physically, mind you, because I think actual running is crazy pants, but mentally and emotionally.

 

Instead I am learning to open up, be honest about what I am thinking and feeling, and let people in. Having kids has been great for me, especially three kids, because I can no longer pretend that I have it all together and all under control. That’s simply a blatant lie. I forget things, my house is well loved and lived in, and my kids often look like scraggly ragamuffins. Oh and the days they dress themselves? Fuhgeddaboudit. That usually means snow boots in summer, black socks with sandals or even two unmatched shoes. Crazy hair sticking out in every direction, and probably some kind of marker or paint on their faces. I always swore I would not be the mom with the daughter with a crazy head of hair. And then I got the girl with the cloud of crazy curls who prefers the “natural” look and can only be coaxed into having it combed and tamed maybe once a week. I believe so strongly in raising my kids to be individuals, who are confidant and able to express themselves. And one of the ways they do that at these ages is through their clothes and hair, so I try my hardest to let them be themselves, no matter how much my inner control freak may be losing it. I did have to draw the line at black knee socks and sandals though. A girl can only be so flexible!

 

And I am finding that as I let go of the need to control every motion and expression that my kids make, I’m letting go of that need within myself. I’m finding it easier to talk about my shortcomings, and about the ways that God fills in those gaps. Because the amazing thing is, when I am honest about where I fall short, it’s easier to see how willing and eager my heavenly Father is to step in and lift me up.

 

So that’s where I am at right now. Learning to set boundaries, and to stand firm in my convictions. To open up to those around me, and let them in. To let go of my desire to be in control of all things and all people.  And learning that God does not judge me for my shortcomings, but in fact welcomes them because it gives Him a chance to extend his grace and his strength to me.

But enough about me. :0) What have you been learning?

jenny

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