Mama, You’re Doing it Right.

Mama, you’re doing it right.

As I fed my 1.5 year old a bite of chocolate cake off of my plate recently, a good friend and mentor said to me, “Just so you know, you’re doing it right.”It wasn’t organic, sugar-free or anything like that. It was gluten full, refined sugar laden and it was right.

But how often have you felt that you’re doing it wrong? Somehow along the way we painted this picture of mothering, wife-ing (I’m fully aware that’s not a word), and relationship that dare I say….isn’t even Biblical. Somehow we have reached the place where the picture of our gatherings has become more important than the connection at our gatherings.

We used to have an annual Women’s Tea. I loved that tea. I loved seeing all the pretty table decor, the perfectly cut sandwiches, I loved being apart of it and dressing up and feeling fancy! And it’s so fun to do that occasionally. But when we live our lives in a women’s tea, we don’t foster relationship. We foster pretty dresses, and beautiful plates, and all lovely things- which sounds amazing, but it’s not real. Because often enough, we aren’t pretty, our lives aren’t beautiful and our struggles are most definitely not lovely.

Sister, I want to say to you- the one who is feeding your kid the chocolate cake because it’s a freaking celebration, the one who’s house is an absolute disaster because you have spent all day playing with your kids outside, the one who was tired and so you watched the movie instead of reading the book, to the one who doesn’t have their young child on a “schedule”….I want to say to you, “Just so you know, you’re doing it right.”

I made a post on social media recently that read,

“I love our [neighbor]hood! All we need is a roundabout and some hot dogs in the air fryer!”

Allow me to explain. We live in the BEST neighborhood. I dare you to prove me wrong. It’s always been a great neighborhood, but recently God orchestrated a year to help us realize it’s the BEST neighborhood. You see, this interesting thing happened in early 2020. Many of us found ourselves with nothing to do; forced to slow down. Businesses and restaurants shut down leaving us without somewhere to go. And so we were at home. And alone. And tired. And longing for community.

I don’t know if we had ever realized how much we need each other, as human being to human being. I don’t know if we ever truly understand the way in which God fastened our hearts for community until last year.

But I realize now.

You see, we live in the BEST neighborhood. And by default, in our weariness we began to ditch the pretty dresses. Day after day, in 2020 we spent outside, sitting on the sidewalk, watching our kids play in the roundabout by our house and connect. Day after day we sat, there on the side walk, just being. Just doing life. And friend, at times life in 2020 was ugly. Like real down and dirty, drop some cuss words (and possibly punch someone in the face) ugly. But that’s what we were created for. To do battle together. To pick each other up.

But when we are wearing the pretty dress, and using words like organic and fair trade (like what does that even mean?) and keeping our kids on their very specific nap schedule it becomes easy to elevate the importance of those things above actual relationship.

So let’s strip it all away! Let’s get back to the basics and just BE. Let’s put such an importance on being together that we forget the details . Let’s make one another a priority. This past 4th of July our neighborhood came to be together. And it finally wasn’t about the red, white and blue food. I didn’t even get decorations like I normally do. In fact, it was Sunday and I was tired and so we put hot dogs in the air fryer. And it was okay. Because it’s not about the food, or the decorations. It’s about the people. And we sat outside in our roundabout until darkness fell just doing life.

Earlier this week, I was summarizing a post I had read to the same friend who had said, “Just so you know, you’re doing it right.”

At one point in the article the author says,

“As a whole, we’re really not craving over-the-top celebrations. We’re craving connection, but we’ve gotta make it easier and lower the expectations. Lower. Nope. Ever lower.”

To which my friend said,

“The secret is having no expectations [other than expecting to meet with people].”

I’ve watched other mothers just do life in this season. And they didn’t come wearing pretty dresses, or eating their organic food off of their BPA free plate. They came make-up less, they came broken, they came with crying kids, and they sat down on the sidewalk and it was beautiful because they came expecting to meet with people. I’m so honored to watch these women do life. Acacia Knutzen, Karissa Wellman Bilderback, Renee Phillips-Richardson, Danee Molan, Marin Allen, amongst so many others, you’re doing it right.

So mama, let go of all the things. Make it just about people. And if you do that, just so you know, you’re doing it right.

Sunday is Coming.

Sunday is coming.
Resurrection is coming.

In the first days of this virus we stood in fear as the death toll began to climb and “stay at home” orders came out across our nation. Some mourned the death of loved ones while others worried about their elderly neighbors down the street. Our lives came to a screeching halt and it felt like being hit by a ton of bricks. Some people looked out in disbelief. They didn’t believe in the severity of this illness. They didn’t believe something like this could happen. But it did. The stock market plummeted, and we suffered job losses. If you didn’t suffer from loss, you were scared that you would.

The first days of this virus were our Friday. Friday was ugly. Friday was nails being hammered into the hands and feet of Jesus. It was a man walking to His death after being beaten. Flesh hanging off of His bones as He carried His own cross to the top of that hill. Friday, the people mourned the death of their Savior, and worried for the lives of His followers. Their lives came to a screeching halt. A ton of bricks fell down on them as they witnessed Jesus take His last breath up on that cross. And the fear. So much fear. So much grief.

But Sunday is coming.

I think we are sitting in Saturday. The horror and debilitating fear of Friday has begun to subside and sadness takes its place. It’s silent here. We walk out into our streets and even the birds seem to be singing a softer tune. An occasional car engine can be heard, but mostly you hear the whistle of the wind amongst the silence of the unknown. What do we do now? We have gone through loss, through heartache. But what now? Here we sit, often alone. It’s lonely. So lonely. Many of us are wondering if this life, which has changed so drastically, so quickly will be our new normal. Will new life come again? Will we be met by the warm embrace of a dear friend? And if yes, then how long? Or is this how the story ends?

Saturday was silent. Jesus was gone. You could still smell death wafting in the air, but it was silent. It was still. The sadness was unbearable as people pondered what they would do now. They had placed their lives in a Savior who was no more. He died up on that cross next to criminals. The people’s hearts ached, but what could they do? What should they do? Hope could not be found. Where did they go from here? They thought, “This is how the story ends.”

But it didn’t.
Sunday was coming.

And oh, Sunday came. It blew in like a fresh wind. Sunday breathed bright light across a dark cold tomb. Sunday brought death to life. Sunday came, and people were made whole again. And as our Savior stood and rose again, Sunday stomped on fear’s head. And it didn’t stop there. Sunday turned their mourning into dancing. Sunday resurrected their hearts and gardens sprung up where dirt laid. Sunday turned their tears into a fresh spring rain. With Sunday, came a never ending hope.

We may be sitting in Saturday, but we know that Sunday is coming. The streets will not remain empty. The day is coming soon where this country will be resurrected. Joy will flow out into our towns and cities and people will dance in the streets.

Sunday IS coming.
Salvation is here.
Healing is beginning.
Deliverance is starting.
Resurrection IS coming.

You Are Loved.

Most of us didn’t grow up with the thought of enjoying God. To obey his commandments? To serve Him faithfully? To read His word each day? Sure. I’m willing to bet that most of you who grew up in the church (and even those who did not) didn’t experience this first and foremost. But, THIS. ENJOYMENT, LOVE is what you were created for. God is looking down on you today, and adoration fills His eyes. When He looks at you, He doesn’t see the dirt of the day; the sin in your life. Those things are nothing. He sees you. And He says, “That’s the one. The one I love. My most precious child. The royal heir to my throne. My child, who has been washed clean. I see you as strong, vibrant, able to do the impossible. A world changer.”

We have this so backwards most of the time. We should be pressing in, so filled by the love of God, so paralyzed and overwhelmed by love, overjoyed by His wonders, so wrapped up in the bliss, enjoying His presence so much, so deeply that the only possible outcome- the overflow of that place is that we want and desire nothing but to serve Him, obey His commands.

Maybe this is why we have gotten “it” wrong in society for so long. Not only do we prioritize serving and obeying in our relationship with God, but also in our relationships with people. We look at them; we look at their sin and offer them a list of rules to follow, of ways to serve, instead of first pouring out into their lives, showing them that there is love and enjoyment to be had in this world, in relationships with one another. We should be creating a culture where we believe in people before they deserve to be believed in, where love in unconditional. Because that friends, is how the God of the universe loves you. So, how are you enjoying God today? Or as Breck Boyd often reminds our staff… How are your receiving God’s love for your life today?