Letters written from a momma to her two teenage daughters.
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Dear Lauren and Lydia,
We’ve made it to a three day weekend. It’s supposed to rain for the majority of the weekend and I am totally fine with that. We have no plans really. I’m tired. I kind of don’t want to feel like I need to get up and around and go somewhere. Somehow when it’s pouring rain I don’t feel the urge to run.
I’m looking forward to making pretzel bites Lauren. I’m looking forward to doing some house cleaning, getting organized. I’m looking forward to sleep. I’m sure we’ll watch a couple of movies and maybe even play a game. Our only real commitment is to church on Sunday morning.
I guess I feel this way because deep inside me I have this urge to shut the world off for a bit. It’s the normal Friday fatigue feeling.
My back hurts…I’ve been on my feet all day. I’ve had to correct and teach and keep a classroom running smoothly for another full week. I hate to admit this but I noticed today as I was teaching a particularly stressful class (the kind that won’t stop talking) that my deodorant obviously is not nearly strong enough. When I teach I think I often operate on pure adrenaline. I’m playing the piano, keeping three parts going, noticing the kid in the back hitting somebody with his folder, giving the evil eye to the kid not standing up or not singing or who has gum. I find that I’m using my hands, feet, head nods, voice, eyes, ears and if I could I would probably start twitching my nose too. It’s a crazy job. It really is.
I know I’ll bounce back. I have to. We do what we have to. People love to say, “how do you do that?!?” But honestly, when you have to, you just do it. Part of being an adult is the reality that it isn’t really all about how you feel or what brings you happiness. Sure, I hope there are moments of happiness but I know of no job where you’re happy all the time. Work is…well, work. It’s called that for a reason.
So the thought of three days of rain does not bother me. If I was headed to some exotic location or going to try and get a suntan this weekend maybe I’d feel differently, but I’m not. For me during the school year these three days weekends are really what holds me together. Two day weekends never feel long enough. If only we could get schools to go to a four day week…wouldn’t that be splendid!
I have no deep thoughts. But I felt this urge to write and tell you…girls, on many days you’re going to feel like I do right now. Nothing is wrong. I’m just plain out tired. My body is sore. My mind is fried and my soul just needs some r and r (rest and relaxation:). It’s part of the human condition. I don’t think there is anybody who at some point doesn’t feel this way.
But I’ve crossed the finish line for another week and that is worth celebrating. I had enough to get me through. I kept my wits about me and taught a couple of songs this week and had kids singing and loving music. I also had a few who don’t like music…but we made peace with each other for the most part:).
I know I’ll have to step up to the starting line again on Tuesday but for right now I’m so relieved to be done with the race. And I’m so glad that next week the race is shorter:)!
It’s ok to be worn out, tired, and in need of rest. In the past I’ve often gotten to this point and decided to push myself just a bit further. Like I was in a contest or something. That’s the point where some real insanity can start to happen. With age, I’m recognizing the signs better and realizing that when I feel like I’m done…I really am and I have less need to push myself as hard. Hopefully a bit of wisdom has been learned.
I say enjoy the sunny days but when rainy ones come along enjoy those too. I think they’re God’s way of telling me to notch it down a bit:).
I love you girls. You’re sitting in the room as I type this letter. Lydia you’re in your rocking chair listening to your ipod of course and Lauren you’re reading on your phone and have a highly focused look about you while laying on the couch. The house is still and quiet except for the sound of fans and it’s a really nice comforting feeling I have. We’re together and although we’re not deep in conversation or sharing an experience…we are all in the same room and it’s quiet. Somedays…that is all I need.
As I type tonight in my tiredness, I feel a little emotional. I wonder how far reaching these letters will be in your life. I try to picture in my mind you girls someday as adults…maybe at my age reading back through them. Maybe I’ll be gone by that point, who knows…I wonder what you’ll feel or think about. I wonder if you’ll pick up the phone and call each other and talk about memories. I wonder what you’re kids will think of all of this. Between my two blogs you guys have tons of memories and experiences and feelings documented. You’ve done much and since I’ve written much it’s remembered and locked in for all time. I don’t have this kind of thing from my mom or my grandma.
So tonight I’m just going to close with a little message for those grandkids that might read this someday. I’m 41 years old, a long way from being a grandma I hope/probably:)…but I love you kids already. I think being a grandma someday is going to be the best thing ever!
And Lauren and Lydia…you are my world. I have many interactions with many people daily. I give myself freely to many people. But you two…you are my world. Sometimes the depth of emotion I feel…well I just can’t really put it into words. I could not be prouder of you two. I am amazed when I step back for a moment and see the ladies you are becoming overnight. I love you deeply. I believe in you. You are God’s gift to me.
Love your momma who is going to enjoy a few rainy days at home.
Dear Lauren and Lydia,
I’ve written about this before, talked about it with you in depth, anguished over it from time to time but I must just quickly say it again.
Don’t give up on the church. The church is a thing of beauty.
I know people get hurt at church and stuff happens that isn’t right. I know the church is imperfect. I’m there…enough said.
But girls filter through all of that crap and find the beauty of gathering with the people of God who are trying however imperfectly to worship and learn about and trust in God together.
Be part of the solution.
You can’t fix anybody else…only yourself and that’s a life long job.
Don’t focus on the faults. Don’t talk over the yucks. Unless it serves some purpose just love.
You will have people in the church who in moments of weirdness and sometimes moments of rudeness will say things to you that are awkward, inappropriate and not kind hearted…nosy, etc. Shake it off!
Step back…take a real good look at your church, wherever you find yourself, and you will always find a remnant of God’s people. Find the people who are not up front, the people who love people without being acknowledged or noticed. The people who simply live out their faith in ordinary ways with consistency. Find people who pray. Find people who share their lives openly and do it without trying to make themselves look better than they are. Find people who are just plain out real and yet you can see God in them. And when you find these people give glory and honor to God because it is He that is in them shining through. People like this will readily want all praise and honor to go to God.
Don’t make sweeping judgements about the church based on a few loud voices that are rude or unkind or demand things to be their own way. Wherever you have people, you have sin and ugliness. It’s reality. That never means that we should abandon ship. You get what you look for.
A lot of people seem to have been hurt in the church. I think I’ve experienced incredible forgiveness in my own life in regards to the church honestly because if anybody could tell their ‘woe is me’ church stories I have a full arsenal. And yet…if I told you the stories today I don’t feel pain, I don’t get worked up about it. Because I’m honest with myself and realize I’ve been far more blessed by the church than hurt.
The church is a place of healing. A place of hope. A place of forgiveness. A place to experience love in deeper ways than you often do even in your own flesh and blood family.
The church is a place of drawing near to God. A place that holds you when you feel like you’re falling apart. A place that keeps you accountable and helps you to sense conviction in your life.
The church is a place of teaching and learning but hopefully also a place that gets you out doing and giving.
Yes we are to love our neighbors and love our communities and love people who don’t know Jesus. But we also need to love one another inside the walls of the church.
The church is a hospital, a refuge from the battle for just a moment in time each week.
The church is not four walls and a building, it is people who take on each other’s struggles and carry one another’s burdens willingly.
I have no idea how much of life is lived out for people who are not part of a local church.
Girls…you need the church and girls…the church needs you.
You will hear and read of people who are disillusioned with church and have been hurt, etc. I know that stuff happens…I’ve experienced it myself, but girls…when that talk comes up don’t let it overcome the good. Some people would rather discuss hurts and problems and anger and gossip than pray and love and forgive and move on. Choose well.
Jesus loved the church, just like He loved children, just like he loved the poor, just like he loved the outcast…therefore just as I feel drawn to help the poor, to encourage the downcast, to love children I also feel compelled to love the church. Love covers a multitude of sins.
Today I pray that you will always be part of a church body. You need it, your family needs it and they need you.
Love your momma who will always love the church and accept her for who she is…imperfect but still the Family of God.
Girls I just read this quote off of pinterest. Normally I would just pin it and let you stumble upon it for yourself if you were interested…but this is too good, too life changing not to officially pass it on in a letter.
It’s from Mother Teresa. I automatically stop and read whenever I see something from her. She was a remarkable woman. A simple, focused, unspectacular, person who God used in amazing, profound ways to make a difference in this world. I think her words are worth considering…
Mother Teresa’s Humility List
1. Speak as little as possible about yourself. (I love how simple her words are and yet how quickly they cut to the heart of the matter!)
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity. (I read this one and thought…”oh boy” because I tend to be a fairly curious person…I’m not totally sure what she was getting at except that it might reference back to number 2. When we stick to our own affairs there is little time to get curious about others and to meddle where we don’t belong.)
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others. (By this point in the list part of me felt like…ok I think we’ve covered this point already in number two and number three…but I think this one does take it a step further, not only stay busy with your own stuff, you have enough to work on…not only stay out of other people’s business by getting curious, but also don’t interfere. How many times have I interfered thinking I was actually helping? I have to wonder. I know I’ve had times afterwards when I wondered if my “help” was really a “help” if you know what I mean.)
5. Accept small irritations with good humor. (Oh, if only I could do this better. Far to easy to get worked up over small, trite, insignificant stuff…God help me.)
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others. (If we dwell on our own faults there will be no time to concern ourselves with the faults of others. That old take care of yourself first thing. The only person you can change is you!)
7. Accept censures even if unmerited. (Not a very american way of looking at life! We’re used to our rights and we have a high sense of what Justice is…but even if we are wronged we are to accept it.)
8. Give in to the will of others. (Wow…this seems so weak and we tend to praise the strong…but it takes a strong person to not have to have their own way!)
9. Accept insults and injuries. (again this sounds like number 7 but maybe we need to hear it again…)
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded. (If I was never noticed by anybody for the good I do would it matter…who am I trying to please anyway…)
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone. (Kindness turns away wrath)
Girls, this list really stood out to me. Some of it I think I’m ok at…much of it I need to work on. The word that stands out to me the most is the word “acceptance”. “Accept small irritations, accept censures, accept insults and injuries, accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.” Wow! I often struggle to simply accept my daily life how it is let alone have anybody criticize me or put me down.
What happens when we don’t accept these things. I think we live in a state of stress, anger, chaos, frustration. We become poison, spewing unkindness and gossip. We stop taking any kind of correction. We become irritable. We demand our own way. I don’t want to live this way.
Girls, as much as it hurts me to say. You will have times in your life that are painful. Times when you are judged, put down, criticized, fair or unfair. I as your mom will be awfully tempted to march in and make it all right and play my part as the momma bear. I’m good at it:). But if I do, I won’t be letting you be all you can be. I look at a woman like Mother Teresa and if this was the list she lived by and I see how her life turned out, I want it to be the list we live by too.
Love wants to defend. But we are all ready loved by God. He knows us. If we are misunderstood here it’s ok. We don’t have to prove any points with our life. We don’t have to have our own way. We don’t have to force the issue. We don’t ever need to get ugly. We don’t have to shift the focus off of us onto others. Let’s accept life the way it is. Let’s accept ourselves the way we are. Let’s accept others the way they are. Let’s trust that God is the only change agent needed for us and for those around us.
More and more I’m constantly being challenged to simply love. I’ve been afraid. I really have because I’m a strong advocate for truth. I’m a strong woman who lives a purpose filled life. I believe that I can make a difference. So I can get a bit worked up. But…what if I relax my shoulders, take a deep breath and simply love others, love myself and love God. Can I trust that He will do what only He can do in others lives? I believe I can. And I believe that is what God wants me to do.
There is sin in the world. It’s there. It’s ugly. It’s in me too. All I can ask is that God would change me, that He would do what only He can do inside of me. I can’t change anybody else. I can’t persuade with powerful argument or presentation. I’ve tried. All I can do is speak about what God has done in my life. About what He is doing even today. All I can do is trust that if He is not leaving me where I am, He is surely working on people around me too.
We have no idea what God is doing under the surface of people’s lives. We have no idea how He is wooing them to Him. We have no idea what needs people have and how God is proving Himself faithful to them. So we must trust. I don’t start the wave. I don’t create the wave. I simply ride it when it comes to me.
This list made me realize once again my role.
From your momma who will never be a Mother Teresa but maybe I can be a Mother Ruth:).