Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To Know and Follow Hard After You

I was privileged to have a high school experience unlike any other. I came out with an excellent education, a decent amount of confidence, a great spiritual foundation, and one very good friend. Despite this, I would not, if given the chance, want to relive any of my high school years. (I would, however, like a video recording of all my history classes with Mrs.Allen- those videos would be worth more than their weight in gold).

I was even more privileged to attend a university where I found unexpected friends, mentors, and a whole side of myself that I think I had refused to believe existed before because it didn't fit the expectations of my culture.When I embraced this side of myself, I lost part of the old me. Some of the old me needed to be cast off because it wasn't genuine, but part of it was good and that's the part I'm now hoping to regain.

I don't think about my past often. (Or at least I don't anymore). I've made peace with the bad parts, accepted the good parts, and moved on. I have been happily living in the present and looking to the future for the past few years. What has me on this nostalgia train is music.

I've loved music since the day I was born. When I became a christian and my family started going to church regularly, I found great joy in the worship music of that time (starting in 1998). I learned about the great lengths of the love of God from Third Day's "Love Song." I was humbled by "We Fall Down"-( which is also the only song I ever learned to play on the guitar). I remember getting to church early and standing in a dark, empty auditorium singing to the Lord. I was always singing. In praise band, ensemble, and youth choir at church, and then in praise band and choir at school (not to mention at the top of my lungs in the car, humming down the hallways, and in my room with the headphones on).

When I went to college I still listened to music a lot, but I stopped singing as much. Then, when I graduated and got married, I almost stopped listening and singing altogether. The past five years have been the only five of my life void of music.

But, recently that has changed. Since coming back to Longview and finding Oakland Heights, I  feel like a slow fire has been building, reigniting my passion for the Lord and at the same time, for music.

How does all of this tie together? This slowly building fire reminds me of the passion I had when I was younger (particularly in high school). I don't want to go back to high school, but I do want the fire back. I've spent the last several hours listening to the same worship music I did in high school. I miss the music. I miss the worship within the music. I miss the boldness I had then (well, it was bold for ME). I mean, I stood on a stage to sing to the Lord. ME. I did that. That doesn't sound at all like me now, but I want it to.

Give me one pure and holy passion
Be my magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You

To know and follow hard after You
To grow as Your disciple in Your truth
This world is empty, pale and poor
Compared to knowing You my Lord
Lead me on, and I will run after You

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Real Life Mommy

I feel like I'm finally getting into the swing of this whole mommy thing.

My child is old enough to make a giant mess at every meal, warrant a bath every day (sometimes more than one a day), I'm too busy to actually bathe her every day, she is fascinated with dropping things, screaming, and dumping out everything. Violet has acquired the ability to make a nice neat stack of toys a giant mess is less than five minutes, and immediately afterwards completely loses interest in her toys, and instead starts examining the floor for dirt and trash (which is always abundant). She does most of this while smiling, babbling, giggling, and making my heart melt.

This is the mommy life I read about. What's funny is that as exhausting as it can be, it's SOOO GOOD. I know my floor is dirty (even though I scrubbed it on hands and knees a few days ago). I know the laundry is piled up on the couch. Even though we do at least one load a day, we only catch up all the dishes about once a week. The "dining" table is inevitably the place we pile books and sewing stuff, and the bathroom floor still has last week's mail on it. (Because who hasn't gone out to check the mail only to realize they had to use the bathroom RIGHT THEN, and proceeded to read the mail on the toilet? This is real life people.)

 I LOVE taking her to grocery store. Sure, she gets bored after a while and wants to be held, and plays with my keys and drops them a thousand times, but she also gets excited when a stranger smiles back at her and smiles when I show her different fruits and vegetables as I put them in the cart. She babbles at me as I tell her about what I'm buying and what we will make with it. Someday she is going to be my favorite shopping partner. I know, because every time I take her with me (along with the inconvenience), I show her that I care about her. I show her that shopping is a special time to talk to mommy. I show her that it can be fun, rewarding, and economical :) I could choose to shop when I wouldn't need to take her with me, but most of the time I don't.

 Real life as a mommy has required some adjustments to my parenting ideas. I've thrown out so many of the things I've said I would never do. I've embraced the season that we are in and whatever makes that season more enjoyable. So that means she isn't in cloth diapers everyday (although we do still use them regularly), we eat cereal puffs from the can, we adore anything that can be picked up with little fingers that isn't messy, and we like the idea of applesauce in a squeezable pouch. It means that we don't always read a story before bed, she doesn't always wear pajamas, and at home, she doesn't always even wear pants.

Real life mommy holds to only one real belief as far as parenting goes and that is to train my child in the way that she should go. Not train her one way, then train her another way, then another. Our life is messy and imperfect, and that's okay. She goes where we go. She eats what we eat. She starts out how we want her to continue on.

It's a beautiful mess.