I matter

I’ve realized that I spend a lot of time convincing myself I’m not good enough…and I need to stop that.

It’s odd, because I always thought that I lacked confidence or self-esteem, but I’m realizing that may not be the case. My gut reaction is always to stand up for myself or fight to the death for my stance. But as time goes on, I talk myself down. I make myself believe that maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m not thinking clearly, maybe I don’t understand. Similar thoughts include things like “of course they know better than I do” or “who I am to be able to _______”. I talk myself down a lot with the mistaken notion that I don’t matter as much as other people do. This can be a form of humility, or this can be a crippling form of self-doubt…mine is definitely the latter.

I’ve been doing this a lot at work lately. Second guessing and backing down, not letting myself count. It’s not working and I’m miserable. And I think that’s mainly because I don’t truly believe the lie I convince myself of. I matter…and I’m going to start acting that way.

I ache, too

I just got pulled into one of many of the articles that pop up on my newsfeed. This one started with the phrase “I long for normal…” and I was hooked. That’s the exact wording I have been feeling this week but couldn’t put into words. Well, that’s not true, I didn’t want to put it into words. Saying that out loud, and even thinking it, feels selfish and petty and wrong. But that doesn’t mean the feeling goes away.

Now, the woman writing the article was talking about her daughter who has a disorder that makes the family of four’s life more and more difficult. The more I read, the guiltier I felt. No one in my life is suffering this way and in no way is my life affected to the extent that her’s is…but I still ache. And every time I think about it, the guilt grows.

I should explain. I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for a month now and nothing in the world has made me happier. He is truly one of the biggest blessings in my life. But we haven’t had the newlywed experience that most do. Sure, our week spent in Jamaica after the wedding was fantastic and a honeymoon I will never forget. But, after that week we returned to our beautiful home…and our girls. Matt and I have no children of our own yet, but our house is filled with movement, excitement and noise because we have, as of Sunday, five young women living with us who I adore but who also make our life anything but normal.

Before we were married, my husband (who is truly a saint in many ways…but that is a reflection in and of itself for a later time) had founded and led an intentional Catholic living community which, in it’s two years of existence, provided the world with graces that continue to be discovered. Unfortunately, that time came to a close and left some of the younger members without a place to go because of bad family lives or other unsafe conditions. So, when we purchased our house, we were looking for more than enough bedrooms. And when we closed on our house last summer, we moved in with 3 housemates. Over the year, we have hosted a number of others for short or longer periods of time for a variety of reasons and, in the past month, have added bunk beds to our future nursery for our newest two additions. Our house now holds the seven of us pretty comfortably.

As you can see, though, we are far from normal and sometimes I get exhausted just explaining that to people who never really understand our situation…sometimes I wonder if I do! And not all days are happy Brady Bunch-inspired scenes. I get tired and frustrated a lot more than I should. I need time outs to compose myself. I need to remember the good. But my husband shines through in these instances. His heart is much bigger than mine a lot of the time and he carries the joys and burdens of others with such grace that I am in awe of him every day (ugh…I said I wasn’t going to gush. But he’s just so great!)

Yesterday, was one of those days where I came home from work and errands and just wanted to collapse in the clean and quiet house that I had left in the morning…but that wasn’t going to happen easily. I wanted to throw up my hands and run far, far away from everything not 5 minutes after walking into the chaos. Not an option. So instead, I poured a glass of wine and cooked dinner. And that’s where the miracles start. Dinner brought people to our table and the meal I was planning for Matt and I turned into a dinner for 5 (thankfully with just enough food). And though it still wasn’t a traditional family dinner, I could feel the love surrounding me, even in my tired and broken state. I saw the face of Christ through the haze of my frustration and my ache for normal. “Normal” life, though, would have never given me that grace. I am blessed with the gift of an abnormal life and when I forget that, I have scripture to remind me to love and be joyful in my abnormality:

“Above all, let your love for another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:8-10

I have many gifts. And 5 of them happen to be living under our roof with us. So much for normal…and good riddance.

It’s a down day

I want the weather to be nicer for August. I want the sun to shine. I want it to be oppressively hot.

I want to love my job. I want to find passion in my work. I want my work to mean something. I want to work with people I respect and can’t wait to see in the morning. I want to feel confident in what I present to the world. I want to believe in the mission of my office. I want to interact in meaningful ways. I want my old job. I want my degree.

I want to communicate better. I want to be thinner. I want to be prettier. I want to be liked. I want to be loved. I want to sleep more. I want to have everything in a neat orderly setting. I want enough money to be comfortable.

I want a lot of things and today it doesn’t seem like I’m going to get any of them today. So far that means I’m having a bad day.

But I woke up this morning in a beautiful house with the man I love. I used clean water and ate my fill of breakfast and used a car to get to a job that gives me a salary and benefits. And no matter how bad I feel, I have a God who never leaves me. I may want a lot of things but I have everything that I need. And my prayer for today is that I focus on that instead.

(Originally posted 8/27/2015)

Here we go again

Almost three years away from blogging seems like a pretty good break, don’t you think?

I’m not even going to pretend that I can recap my last three years and I’m not going to try. But my level of life reflection has been at an all time high lately and I need to write again. So, I will.

Our wedding is 9 days away and counting…and I feel like I’ve been counting all my life to this day. With this saint of a man. We’ve been prepping songs and seating charts and ceremony programs but there is something that is really hitting me at the moment: our vows. We haven chosen to memorize the standard Catholic vows for August 1st and, while I go over and over them in my head, I’m trying to see if I actually mean every. single. word. I’m in this forever, I need to make sure I’m holding up my end of the bargain.

And I’m having a hard time with the word “honor”. I love my fiance with every ounce of my being. I love him to the moon and back. I love him with all of my heart. I love him in every cliched way imaginable, and then, some but I’ve never thought about honoring him. Is that a default word that just goes with love or is it something more?

When I think of honor, I think of the Army or the commandment about being nice to my parents, but never really living out honor in any practical way. Maybe that’s a missing piece. Maybe honor is the forgotten vow that requires the effort of not only putting him before me always but respecting him, even when I disagree, or holding him in the highest esteem, even when he breaks me down. I’m going to work on my honoring, I think it needs a tune-up.

(Originally posted 7/22/2015)